Goodreads Summary: "Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.I love this book, I really, truly love this book. The first time I read it I found myself only giving it four stars and not bothering to review it because reviewing it proved to be far too difficult for me, that should have clued me in immediately that it was deserving of far more than four measly stars. With the release of the sequel, and having procured a galley of said sequel, I returned to Princess Academy for a reread and this time was determined to try reviewing it.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates."
Princess Academy fooled me the first go around. I thought it was a lovely story, a true fairy tale, and beyond pleasing to read. Its what I would call a quiet read. Its not one of those action-packed fantasy novels that come at you with a bang but yet you love it just the same. There was just something about it that enveloped you in its loving embrace like a childhood fairy tale might. It was a sweet story, there was a touch of romance, a heroine struggling to find herself and just a touch of magic. Did I mention the adventure? No? Well, you'll just have to give it a read to discover Miri's adventure for yourself.
Having reread it I can truly say I've fallen in love. Shannon Hale has a beautiful writing style and I do believe that her works come across as fairy tales worthy of canonizing. In that I mean that while they [her works] are not all retellings of fairy tales, those that are not come across as brand new ones beautiful as the originals.
Miri, our narrator, is a young girl struggling to find a place for herself in her mountain home. She's a heroine you'd struggle not to love. She is the youngest daughter in her family, curious, quick to learn and quicker to make a plan. She's strong. She's charming. She loves her friends and family and would do anything for them. And she's not perfect. She struggles with herself and those around her. She doesn't always make the right choice. She's exactly the kind of heroine you want to read about.
I genuinely believe that Princess Academy is a novel that can be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages, any walk of life, truly everyone. Its beautiful and without a doubt one of the first books I will be sharing with my own children, should I have them. The perfect bedtime tale.