Miri, the main character, is only fourteen years old. So, naturally, she thinks like a fourteen-year-old! This is totally a good thing because the book is a geared toward that audience and once I adjusted my mindset to this I found myself captivated by her character. To top that off, Miri is a pretty mature fourteen-year-old. Sure, she makes mistakes, but that also makes her relatable, she is human after all. I found myself wishing that I had been half as strong-willed, brave and witty as her when I was her age.
Miri also has some beautiful quotes throughout the book, as do many of the characters, and I love how Hale brings history into each character with some of her prose. These sorts of snippets add so much dimension to the story, making each character that much more well-imagined and three-dimensional. In one section of the book, Miri talks about feeling like she may be tied down to Mount Eskel, her village, and this is why being chosen as the future princess has some appeal to her.
“I keep thinking about a tale my nurse used to read to me about a bird whose wings are pinned to the ground. In the end, when he finally frees himself, he flies so high he becomes a star. My nurse said the story was about how we all have something that keeps us down.”
Such beauty, imagery and wisdom wrapped up into one nice little bundle.
I truly admire the beautiful world that Shannon Hale has crafted in this book. Her characters are so diverse, even though they come from the same village, each girl has her own unique personality that defines her. I love how Hale is able to vividly paint a picture of each character without having to rely on identifiers such as hair and eye color. Each girl’s voice rings so clearly through the pages, I felt like I knew them myself.
Wrapping it Up
I couldn’t help but fall in love with this story and was altogether pleased with the way book #1 ended. While it is a series, I can see how this could have been a stand-alone. Though I’m glad that it’s not and I am so happy that there are two more books in this series to look forward to. I have grown attached to these characters because of how real they are and I can’t wait to see what is in store for them next.
“Princess Academy” was simply wonderful. I would highly recommend to the young reader and the young-at-heart who loves a good princess story.
Title: Princess Academy
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre(s): Fantasy, Children’s Books, Young Adult