Hi everyone! I am excited to be back today with a review of a book I only heard about recently. It surprised me that it even exists (but I’m so so glad it does!) Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors. You’ve heard me gush about her great books here before. And I was so excited to discover a new one recently!
Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters is the third book in the Princess Academy series. I absolutely love the Princess Academy books (check out my review of the first one here). This book lived up to the first installments and gives us a new story with the same beloved characters from the first books.
A few initial thoughts:
- How does Shannon Hale create great stories time and time again? I wasn’t sure this story could live up to the original. But I loved it!
- I thought the letters included were a great way to bridge the gap between locations even though the characters couldn’t communicate.
- I’m amazed at how Hale can create stories with depth and tackle some complex societal questions. She’s built a darling story but also includes a war between nations, the problem of royal lineage and power, and survival, corruption and hierarchy in a small community.
- Miri and Peder. Sigh. I love their sweet and tender romance.
Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters returns to the story of Miri. When Miri is about to return to her beloved home on Mount Eskel with her almost betrothed (Peder), she unexpected get the assignment to go to the far off province of Lesser Alva to teach three sisters–the king’s cousins–in a new princess academy. But when she arrives, Miri finds the sisters wild, uninterested in learning, and forgotten by the palace. They have no servants, no furniture, and no money. As Miri works to uncover the secrets of the sisters and their lives, she will learn more about the sisters, the king, and the kingdom than she bargained for.
One of my favorite elements of Shannon Hale’s novels, including this one, is her incredible storytelling. We are again transported into the world of Danland but with a new story completely. I enjoyed getting to spend more time with the characters I’ve come to love and to meet new ones along the way. Initially, I expected the entire story to occur in Lesser Alva but was surprised to return to Asland (the capital city) and experience more excitement there. Hale does not rush this story but she also doesn’t drag it out. Plus she gives us several exciting and unexpected twists along the way.
I love that the quarry speech continues to become more complex and more intriguing in this story. Quarry speech is the ability Mount Eskel people have to communicate through memories through the linder stone they mine in the mountain. It saves Miri on several occasions in the previous books and gives her a connection to home. In this novel, Miri learns about quarry listening and learning about past memories stored within the linder stone. This incredible ability allows Miri to learn more about the forgotten sisters and about herself. Additionally, the sisters are able to understand others’ emotions through the linder stone. I love the added dimension the quarry speech gives to this story. It teaches us the importance of memory and emotion in relationships.
I just adore Miri and Peder and their sweet romance. I was so excited to get more about their love story this time as they finally admit their serious feelings for each other at the end of book two. I love how Peder takes care of Miri, how he leaves Mount Eskel to find her, hires pirates to take him to where she is, and how he kisses her without caring who is watching. My absolute favorite part of their relationship is their ability to quarry speech across long distances which brings them closer and saves their lives numerous times. They are a great example of true love–they sacrifice anything for each other and make each other stronger. They are just so sweet.
The ending of this novel really surprised me. Throughout the trilogy, the country of Danland has been changing as the people are more educated. When we discover the big secret surrounding the forgotten sisters, the entire monarchy is affected. I was surprised (and pleased) to see how everyone in the palace embraced the changes and that we get to see a glimpse of Tutor Olana (the strict and imposing tutor of the first novel) in the epilogue. This ending shows a progressive and positive outcome to almost rebellion. Perhaps it is a little idealized, but I enjoy a happy ending regardless.
While this first novel in the series is still my favorite, I really enjoyed and recommend Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters.
Check out the Princess Academy books!