Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone
Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first thought in my head is that I LOVE Shannon Hale. Ever since I first picked up a book written by her on a whim, I had decided that she was one of my favorite authors. Her attention to detail, her character creation, her ability to build such an intricate world and culture in each of her books is enough to make me a fan for life.

And of course, Palace of Stone does not fall short from her usual splendor. My only regret is that I hadn't read the darn thing all those months ago when it was first released. I got into it, but my mind ended up being elsewhere. Then, last night before heading off to work, I made the resolved to finally pick it back up and read it. I started from the beginning and in less than twenty-four hours, I'm completely finished.

I base my love of certain books on mostly on how reluctant I am to quit reading -- of course, a fast-paced read doesn't always indicate that I "couldn't put the book down" due to interest. In the case of Palace of Stone, I was hooked almost immediately and still can't fathom why I had set it down in the first place when I last started reading it.

Anyway, as I'm not exactly the best at writing proper reviews, I will simply mention a few things on my mind.

The rich culture and world of the Princess Academy story line itself was what kept me so keen on following Miri's journey. Because as I had mentioned in a blog post sometime last year, despite the story following Miri's narrative, there is so much more going on in the background, and all of it stands out individually as if you could just pick a random detail, a random side character and STILL be able to coax an entire back story out. This is one of the reasons why I love reading Shannon Hale stories.

Palace of Stone itself was no exception, and I enjoyed every little moment of it. There was a point towards the middle of the story where I DID become exceedingly frustrated with Miri. From my recollection, Miri was a strong, witty, and decisive girl who became the top student at the princess academy and saved all of her Mount Eskel friends from bandits. But there were some moments where she seemed to have lost a lot of that spunk in the middle of her wonderment of being in Asland and feeling insignificant all over again. For some reasons, it works since Miri has always had that belittlement complex and still needed to discover herself. A little bit of conflict stirs up a good story and for all it's worth, the story progressed wonderfully. Of course, that doesn't mean that I wasn't frustrated with Miri during that time and was thoroughly relieved when she came back to herself with her climactic resolution. I think I like the spunky and brave Miri more than the indecisive, uncertain Miri.

Anyway, overall, this was an incredible read and I'm glad that I finally got around to it.

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