Shannon Hale is a true master in the art of story-telling. I loved Princess Academy because of the unique mountain culture, the young innocence of the characters, and the love of simple pleasures. Honestly, I picked up Palace of Stone expecting the same thing. Instead, I got caught up in the feelings of a maturing young woman learning the excitement (and danger) of huge, new ideas, being forced to decide on her own where her loyalties lie, and being brave enough to question the future she's always seen for herself.
If I ever have a daughter, I hope that she is like Miri. Her ability to think for herself, and trust her heart, drew me to her in Princess Academy, and she's the same (if a bit wiser) in this installment. Without saying too much about the plot, I love how deeply she feels about all the issues she's faced with, is unafraid to say she was wrong, and finds her own solutions.
*minor spoiler alert*The only possible complaint I have about the story is cleanness of the final revolution. I wish we could see more of the aftermath, but it did make a good place to end, with so much possibility, and yet all the loose ends tied up. This is a DON'T MISS READ for all Shannon Hale fans.
Rating: 5/5 stars
YA notes: none