Review: The Princess Academy series / Shannon Hale

Princess Academy: Forgotten Sisters / by Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, 3)
Bloomsbury     ISBN     9781619634855

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone / by Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, 2)
Bloomsbury     ISBN     9781599908731

Princess Academy / by Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, 1)
Bloomsbury      ISBN     9781619632578
INT     Grades 4-8     Rating:     4

Prolific author Shannon Hale pens a series about a teen girl who prepares for life in a palace, but this is not an ordinary fairy tale.

In The Princess Academy, Miri was selected from her mountain village to attend an academy that prepares girls for a life as the prince’s prospective bride. Girls from all over the country are sent to the academy, where they compete to be chosen as the next princess at the end of the year-long process. A harsh headmistress, combined with rigid rules and practices at the academy push Mira into a leadership role among the girls. Will she be chosen as the next princess? Does she want to be if it means leaving her village behind?

In The Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, Miri returns to the capital for the prince’s wedding. While she is there, Miri attends the school at the Queen’s Castle where she meets new friends who are planning a revolution. She is torn between a new attraction and an old love, as well as her loyalty to the new princess and her belief in the ideas being promoted by her new friends. Miri is offered the choice to study at the university or return to the mountain, to be a lady to the princess or betrothed to a stone carver. What will she decide?

In The Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters, Miri is ordered by the king to start a princess academy for three royal cousins in a faraway place. When she gets there, she finds her students aren’t interested in learning about etiquette, and they know almost nothing about their ancestry. The more time she spends with them, the more she realizes they are a well-guarded secret no one knows about and those who do, will go to great lengths to keep it that way.

Hale is an excellent storyteller – her characters are well-developed and the plot moves along nicely. This isn’t your typical fairy tale; the happily-ever-after is not guaranteed. Mira grows and matures through the books. Recommended for school and public libraries, for readers in 5th grade and up. Princess Academy (book 1) was a Newbery Honor nominee, and the sequels are noteworthy

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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