Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thoughts on Princess Academy, by the chapter

I don't really fancy myself a book blogger. In fact, even with my other blog (which is on a bit of hiatus, sadly) I still don't think of myself as a professional review blogger. Everything that comes out just ends up being my own personal opinions, packaged in as nicely a format as I can manage.

And that's that.

For some back story...

I first picked up Princess Academy about three, maybe four years ago at a local Target. My best friend and I love to roam around the store at random moments and look at things that we won't be buying. We peruse DVDs, CDs, books, magazines, and different household items with our own color commentary about who uses this stuff, what use it would become if we bought it, and whether or not it would rate high in our own consumer ratings. With DVDs we would tell each other what kind of movies are good and which ones we have seen and which ones we want to see.

It happens like this a often and repetitively, but it was a nice, lazy way of wasting away the rest of the evening after dinner.

And then sometimes we end up in the book aisle and silently walk around.

I'm a book nerd (as everyone probably has guessed). Whenever you lead me into a book section of a store, it could be at least thirty minutes to the hour before I'm willing to walk away. If you take me to an actual book store, be prepared to spend four to five hours just looking at books with me while I decide what I want to buy and what I know I should spend money on. (Of course, some things have changed now that e-books are the big trend and I can very easily look up a book I want and buy it with a simple push of a button. SO DANGEROUS for my book addiction.)

Anyway, I came across Princess Academy at Target and couldn't help but be drawn to it in every way that makes you know you want to buy that book, on the spot. First off, the cover was pretty attractive, even if quite simple. Its perfect as a young adult, fairy-tale-esque type of story book. Next, the title was just interesting the moment I read it: "Princess Academy. Now that just screams all sorts of adventurous fun with a large group of characters and a learning experience." If you know me well, you know that I'm particularly keen on story lines that boast a sort of "youth group get together" feel. Multiple characters of the same young age living together in a boarding school-like plot device makes for some of the most colorful, entertaining, fun character interactions. (Case in point: Harry Potter was one of my more favorite fictional world settings.)

If it's one thing about a story that draws me in, it's the character interactions. I'm a firm believer that in order to bring characters to life, you must allow the characters to propel the story in their own way, not let the story itself dictate how the character's life will end up. It's sort of a foil to the "Writer is God" idea.

But then again, I' man amateur writer at best, so what do I know?

Coming back to Princess Academy, the final factor that had me excited about the story, was, of course, the overall summary. And this is where the excitement of this adventure begins a new chapter for me.


A few months ago, I came across the announcement of Shannon Hale's newest book, Palace of Stone, hailed as the sequel to Princess Academy. Immediately, I was drawn to it. While Princess Academy might not be my favorite Shannon Hale book (Book of a Thousand Days is my favorite), it is still a beloved Shannon Hale read that I really enjoyed. In fact, Princess Academy is the first Shannon Hale book that I laid my hands on, so it's got its own memorable value.

So I'm excited for the new sequel to be release in August (among many other things) and with the upcoming release, I came across a proposed Princess Academy book club activity from Shannon Hale's blog. Each day in July, she will read one chapter of Princess Academy and do an "author's commentary" for all of her reader fans to follow along with.

And I thought to myself, "I had planned on rereading Princess Academy to prepare myself for Palace of Stone's release anyway." And since I wasn't sure how I'd incorporate Princess Academy into my slightly hectic book and drama series itinerary, this was actually a really good proposal. I could follow along, read a chapter at a time (maybe two or three), and slowly have the entire book re-read by the time its sequel is released. At the same time, it doesn't cut into any other books I'm reading, AND I can take a little time out of my day to give a quick summary slash opinion of what I'm thinking.

I've already read the first chapter, but since Ms. Shannon Hale won't be starting her part until tomorrow, July 2, I might give it until tomorrow to post my first set of thoughts on Chapter 1, just so I have time to collect my own thoughts and do a comparison.


In other news, my work days are getting quite chaotic (with overtime and my trying to figure out when to sleep since I'm trying to include a routine work-out schedule as well). There are also some family issues happening, involving my grandmother, a total knee replacement, and lots of family visitation.

Finally, one of my best friends will be arriving in town this week for a few days and so there are more things I'm looking forward to as well as some things I'm not too keen on.

I'm keeping myself excited and preoccupied with the two leisurely activities I love the most: reading books and watching Asian drama series. I'm keeping myself updated on what new books will be released when and what new Asian drama series and/or movies will be accessible soon.

Other than that, life has been pretty monotonous, but at the same time, peaceful and fulfilling.

No comments: