Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Palace of Stone

Title: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5

I will begin this review by saying that one truly must read its predecessor, Princess Academy—not for the mere reason that this novel would make no sense to the reader otherwise, but simply for the merits of the first tale of Miri and her mountain. Princess Academy is one of my all-time favorites, a book I hope to soon have sitting upon my own library shelves. And Palace of Stone is not far behind.

I had prepared myself for disappointment when I found this sequel to a beloved tale, due to the fact that a good number of sequels are so far set apart from the grand beginning. I had recently experienced one of those emotional rollercoasters of anticipation followed by dissatisfaction and did not like to take the ride all over again. But here was a sequel to one of my favorite stories, so I would have to be an idiot not to at least pick it up. I was rewarded both for my reluctance and hope by this delightful read.

This second adventure in the life of Miri, the girl from Mount Eskel—the place where the linder stone sings and the goats bleat and the mountain remembers—unfolded cautiously, like the first flower after the frost, but what a beautiful bloom it made. I cannot, I think, say with any justice that Palace of Stone was quite as good as Princess Academy, but it was certainly a splendid read and a worthy heir. (Aside: Mrs. Hale has me speaking rather metaphorically at the moment. My pardons.) Whereas PA was more a tale of adventure and friendship, PoS was one of intrigue and finding home.

Hale’s works never fail to inspire her reader with the scents of the country, the openness of the skies, the closeness of a forest, or the magic of a language unknown.

Truly, I wish I had more to say, but on the account of this being a sequel—and a beautiful tale—I hate to give anything of the story away. So, I suppose, let it be known that Shannon Hale’s latest novel is a work of art with the tapping rhythm of her verse and the lyrical sweetness of her prose. It carries with it that simple beauty and homely grace and expectant hope which gives a tale warmth and heart and life.

In short, I highly recommend this book—that is, to those who have read Princess Academy. And if you have not then…what are you waiting for?


  1. I have this book and have been meaning to read it for so long! And now it has your approval too. :) It must be good! Have you ever read her book "The Goose Girl"? One of my favourites!

    1. Taisia, you really should read it, it's a wonderful story. And yes, I love "The Goose Girl", it's one of my favorite fairy-tale retellings of all time, and the only version of that particular story which makes any sense at all. :) The books following "The Goose Girl" are also brilliant--The Books of Bayern series.

    2. Yes! I've read those too :) I also really like Beauty by Robin McKinley! Another one of my favourites :)

    3. Another wonderful book. I've been meaning to write up some posts on fairy-tales and the best retellings I've read. maybe I'll do this sooner rather than later. :D

  2. I keep seeing reviews or mentions of the 'Princess Academy' book around the internet world and it is on my 'to read' list. :D It's neat to know that there is a sequel! B-) Thanks for the review!

    1. "Princess Academy" is one of my all-time favorite books--one which I originally read because I got it for free via a special library program. I had no idea what it was at the time, but it looked more interesting than the other choices and I don't regret picking it up. :)