Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Princess Academy Series

Last week, I posted a picture of The Forgotten Sisters, the final book in the Princess Academy series on Facebook which spurred some discussion about why I love these books.  Now that I've finished the third book, I would like to elaborate on why I love this series.  I will do my best to avoid spoilers.

For books with princess in the title, they aren't that princess-y.  Seriously, The Hunger Games has more of an emphasis on fashion than these books.  Miri, the main character, is a frail girl who sleeps with the goats in her small home on Mount Eskel, an impoverished village.  She and the other girls in the village are forced from their home to train for the possibility of becoming a princess.  What they are really given is the chance to educate themselves and improve the lives of their families.

Strong female characters.  These books are full of young women, who seize the opportunities they are given, make their lives happen, and don't wait around to be acted upon.

Linder - The mystical qualities of this light fantasy come from the stone Miri's village quarries.  By the second book, I had such an affection for linder.  Weird, right!  It's almost like the stone is character in the story.  I absolutely love it.  

The writing style is stunning.  Many successful books have compelling story lines and I get sucked in.  But when I finish, I think to myself, "Wow, that was some clunky writing!"  Not so with these books.  Shannon Hale took great care to craft each sentence and each word.  It feels like I'm in a bubble bath of beautiful language.

They are cliffhanger free.  I'm growing weary of series with no resolution at the end of each installment.  Authors use the last sentences of the book to leave you hanging.  I hate that!  Each book in this series could stand alone and has a separate setting and plot.  It's a personal preference, but I like it. 

It may or may not strengthen my argument, but I don't love all of Shannon Hale's books.  Some are fun one time reads, others I couldn't get into, and some I'm not interested in at all.  This is how I am with most authors.  This series does the job of entertaining, enriching, and making you feel great at the end.

Here are links to descriptions of each book.

Princess Academy - the first in the series and my favorite.

Palace of Stone - This is probably my least favorite in the series, but it is still very good.

The Forgotten Sisters -  This book was a wonderful surprise.  

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