I first read these books when I was maybe nine years old, and Shannon Hale was one of the first YA authors I EVER read (Goose Girl remains one of the closest books to my heart to this day) so getting to have her on Fiction Freak was a chance I just COULDN’T pass up. I’ve got a (mini) review of the first book and a GUEST POST from Shannon Hale with her Top Ten Tips for Being a Princess! EEPS indeed!
As a fan, I can say with absolute certainty that you have to read any of Hale’s books, but if you read MG, Princess Academy is kind of a must-read. And, really, it’s The Selection before The Selection was a thing–and in my opinion, much more well written (and far less romance-centric!)
Worldbuilding: LOVE LOVE LOVE the worldbuilding. From quarry singing to the miri flowers to the choosing of brides, there was so much perfection in the world of Dunland. While it wasn’t rich in its culture, per se, the way that everything was woven in created a beautiful world whose simplicity made me fall in love with it. There weren’t many magical battles or really any magic at all, and after many (wonderful!) books with powerful mages and sorceresses and the like, it was honestly kind of refreshing to come back to a world I knew, and a world that wasn’t so busy fleshing out the world of magic rather than the world’s traditions
Romance: ADORABLE and honestly quite unexpected–to nine year old me at least. I remember being absolutely floored and staring at the book with a gaping mouth. Yes, I did then promptly reread the entire second half of the book to see all those hints. (But also? SO ADORABLEEEE.)
Characters: MIRI WAS BADASS. And not in the kick the bad guys’ butts, but in a more subtle kind of way. She was a spunky and pretty resourceful character who I absolutely adored reading about. AT the same time, she goes through some pretty impressive and amazing character development from a mountain girl left only with doubt and a helpless feeling to a mountain girl…who kind of saved everyone’s butt in one way or another.
Plot: Speaking of saving everyone’s butt, there were quite a few butts to save. The plot of Princess Academy is intense. Along with learning social etiquette and dealing with the other girls’ shunning, Miri still stays true to her mountain roots, and what’s really cool about this book is the way that education is incorporated. I won’t give away spoilers, but Miri’s superpower seems to be the knowledge she and the other girls learn from the Princess Academy. (Also, go diplomacy skills!)
Top Ten Tips for Being a Princess
- Read about princesses. All different kinds.
- Daydream about being a princess. What kind would you be?
- Daydream some more. On a long car ride, sitting on the sofa gazing out the window, on a walk around the neighborhood, lying on your bed and staring at the ceiling–there’s no right or wrong place for daydreaming. It’s the perfect activity for any “I’m so bored” moment.
- While you’re daydreaming, imagine yourself at your best. What do you say? What do you do? How do you feel? That’s your princess self.
- Now daydream some of your worst bits. Turn them over, examine them, and when you’re ready, exhale and let them go. Princesses are far too busy doing interesting things to get bogged down hanging onto that stuff.
- Listen to some music. Princesses love music and dancing. What kind? That depends on the princess. It feels good to let the music in, to sway and twirl and be comfortable in your body.
- Make something cool. What will it be? I have no idea. I haven’t peeked into your daydreams.
- Do something cool. There are so many possibilities for this. I can’t wait to see what you will do.
- Share what you’ve made and what you’ve done with people you trust. A princess has family, subjects, members of the court to look after. People look to you for an example.
- Now write stuff down. Keep a journal, put your thoughts and experiences in there. Princesses make history. Your journal is a record of history. Someday when you’re queen, you’ll be glad you kept the history of your princess self.
About Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters
After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!
Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.
As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.
About Shannon Hale
Shannon Hale is the Newbery Honor–winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Academy series; Book of a Thousand Days; The Books of Bayern; Dangerous; and the graphic novels Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack. She also wrote three novels for adults, including Austenland, now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell. She and her husband, the author Dean Hale, have four children and live near Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit Shannon online at www.shannonhale.com and on Twitter at @HaleShannon.
Find her: Website | | | |
This is a US only giveaway for a Princess Academy trilogy set with the newest covers.
February 23rd: I Am A Reader
February 24th: Fiction Freak
February 25th: Mundie Moms
February 26th: Lili’s Reflections
February 27th: Icey Books
March 2nd: Mary Had A Little Book Blog
March 3rd: Alexa Loves Books
March 4th: Pages Unbound
March 5th: Ageless Pages Reviews
March 6th: Good Books and Good Wine