Princess Academy - Shannon Hale After an unsuccessful attempt at reading Goose Girl, I decided to give Shannon Hale another try. Since joining GR I’ve heard nothing but great things about her books. However, I think the hype led me to have bigger expectations and as a result her writing just seems to fall flat for me. I find that Hale is not very descriptive. We’re told the mountain is beautiful, but we’re never shown the beauty of the mountain and when it’s described it seems downright dingy. The same with her characters. There isn’t a full description of any of the characters. The reader is given bits and pieces throughout the story and we’re just supposed to piece it together. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the descriptions seemed to come off as an afterthought rather than part of the story.

The plot was good, although it was on the predictable side. The first half with the set up was slow and it annoyed me that Hale was repetitive to some degree. Once the consequences of the academy became clear and the action started the book rolled along nicely though.

The character development was well done. Miri is a loveable little heroine. She’s a petite girl with a lot of self doubt due to being one of the few in her village not allowed to work in the quarry. She doesn’t feel useful to her family or the village, so when the academy comes along she finds a chance to prove her usefulness. I just love an underdog and a petite one at that!

I also loved how through the development of the academy Hale shows the importance of education and its affects not only on the girls, but on the village itself. Although I found the parts where Miri’s self doubted herself a bit heavy handed, the moral of the story wasn’t heavy handed. I was glad to find out that this book is part of a series, because the end was left with loose ends and I can see how it disappointed other readers, who probably didn’t know this tidbit.