Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publish Date: April 17th, 2007
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates. – Goodreads
Review: What a great book! I really wish I had been able to read this as a young teenager. The story is great, the message is great. Have I used the word great enough yet? On to the review then shall we?
Princess Academy is about a group of girls who are chosen to learn how to be a proper princess in hopes of being selected to marry the prince. Does this remind me of The Selection? Yes. Are they anything alike? Not really. A common message in this book is about knowledge as power which is something I can absolutely get behind. The best part is that Shannon Hale actually manages to show the benefits of an education rather than just preaching about it. Also, this isn’t just about the education required to become a princess (it’s barely about that at all) but instead how knowledge can improve every aspect of your life.
The characters themselves are wonderfully small town and carry the bond of a shared home and lifestyle. These girls are from Mount Eskel and are quite proud of it, even in the face of being told that they are less than those who come from the ‘lowlands’. The main character Miri is a bit of an outsider and wants more than anything to be part of the group.
This and several other elements will keep you flipping pages. There is always something going on that you want to see the characters through from lessons, to village life, to an unexpected adventure that I wont give away here. I didn’t really expect to like Princess Academy this much and only picked it up because I have the sequel on my shelves now but this story will hook you, no question. It may have been written for children but there’s no question it can be enjoyed by all.
Love! I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series but I’m going to save it for my special ‘cottage reading’ pile that I will be tackling next week.