Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Princess Academy

Book:  Princess Academy
Author:  Shannon Hale
Like/Don't Like:  Like

Hey, who's taking the day off of work to watch the royal wedding?  Who will be throwing a party complete with tiaras and crumpets in honor of it?  Yeah, it's me.  Because I love royalty.  The pomp, the jewels, the scepters, the delusional sense of entitlement - it's all just so grand!  And you just know the Queen is going to be wearing a marvelous hat. In my heart I know that the Queen and I would be best friends if she would ever accept my invitation to join my book club.

So, the Queen - yes.  But princesses?  No.  I blame the marketing department of Disney for their ubiquity, and therefore my distaste for them.  Why does every girl want to be the princess when the queen is where all the real fun is?   It was this distaste which led me to putting off reading this book, even though several friends and the Newberry people have all recommended it.  The title gave me a false impression that it would be all about tulle and etiquette.  But it actually had a lot more depth to it.

It's set in a mining village deep within the mountains.  Miri is 14 and not allowed to work in the mines with everyone else and because of this feels like she is not accepted by her community.  A royal proclamation arrives saying that all the teenage girls must attend a princess academy because it has been prophesied that the prince would marry a girl from their village.  This is where the tulle and etiquette come in, but only as minor scenes and mainly as jumping off points to touch on classic YA themes of acceptance and relationships.  It was not what I expected at all and I was quite pleased with it. 

Side note:  This was fantasy-lite - which is just my type.  I have no problem suspending reality but one of the reasons why I don't read too much fantasy is because the worlds that are created are more often than not over-created and lose any sense of familiarity.  This actually felt like a place that could exist, even though they could talk to each other over great distances by singing to rocks.


Laura said...

I hope I get invited to the Royal Wedding party! I've already made arrangements to borrow some fancy hats from an actual British co-worker of mine who bought them in London from Princess Diana's actual milliner!

Rach said...

Dang it! Why can't we be neighbors! I believe in wearing tiaras as often as possible, and a party for a royal wedding is just what I need. I really liked Princess Academy, too, which kind of surprised me, too. It was a sweet book.

Maija said...

This was written by my friend! She's even more delightful than her books.