I have read some of Shannon Hale’s graphic novels (Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack) and enjoyed them. I also really want to read a Posse of Princesses. When I ran across Princess Academy used I was excited to get it to read. It was a very good book.
Miri lives on Mount Eskel and is too small to work in the mines there. She is smart and feels extremely left out because of not being able to do mine work. Then one day a messenger arrives; it has been divined that the Prince will marry a girl from Mount Eskel. In preparation all of the girls are sent to a specially built Princess Academy where they learn reading, writing, history, proper poise, diplomacy and etiquette. Miri excels at the lessons but wonders if she would really want to leave her mountain home to marry a lowlander.
This book was a fun read. Miri is a spirited character that thinks with her head first but always tries to follow her heart. There is light humor throughout the story which livens up the story. This book is a wonderful read on girls finding their own place in life. It is also nice that after an initial spat of catty behavior, the girls learn to work together and work for what is best for them as a group. They find that winning the Prince is the least of what they will gain from attending the Academy.
I enjoyed the camaraderie between the girls and loved the lessons they learned. Miri is an especially endearing character who, despite her small stature, packs quite a powerful personality. The story is very complete and the end throws a couple fun twists at the reader that are unexpected.
This novel wasn’t as magical as I was hoping and some of the scenes in the Princess Academy run a bit long. Overall though it was a very good book. It is appropriate for all ages. It is probably best suited to younger girls or young adult girls. Nothing ever gets all that dangerous or dire, and even the evil characters aren’t really all that evil. So, if you are hoping for an adventurous read look elsewhere. This book is more about girls finding their place in life and learning to work together.
Overall I enjoyed it and it was a fun and heartfelt read. I will definitely read more of Hale’s books. Definitely not an edgy book, but sweet and fun all the same.