Book Tour Review: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Title: The Forgotten Sisters
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #3
Pages: 323 pages
Published: March 3 2015
Source: publishers for review
Rating: 3.75/5

After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!

Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.

As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.

This is a series that, had I started when I was young, I would have full-on loved it. That said, I also came to easily love it while reading it for the first time from an older perspective. Shannon Hale's light fantasy series starts small but with heart and charm and has only grown in scope and scale in the two books that followed the eponymous Princess Academy series - Palace of Stone and the third and last, The Forgotten Sisters. It may be a bit childlike at times, but it's never childish. It's fun and fluff and full of heart. All three novels can also be read independently; each create little worlds and plotlines unto themselves but also lend well to a create an overall story. 

Miri is the main character for all three novels and she carries them each pretty darn well on her strong strongers. She definitely grows up a lot over the course of the three books, but it's a natural and easy transition. Miri ages with her audience, I suspect, and her expanding interests show her rounded character. She's many things and wants to do a lot with her life, but at the same time, still struggles with issues a lot of middle-grade readers will understand. She's well drawn and her life is well-rounded, with a moderately healthy homelife and two loving family members. Her intelligence is her best characteristic -- understanding quarry-speech and trade has made her ever more valuable -- which comes into play in the last novel.

The world that Shannon Hale creates is pretty varied and different from place to place. There's not much spent on worldbuilding or expanding more on old locales; like the other books, it's set in in a wholly new place. Miri, with the new characters of Sus and Felissa and Astrid, have new territory to explore and new surprises to bring to the world of Princess Academy. Hale is a clever writer and shows so often through the course of the series. Even when a few reveals are guessed, she can still manage to pull the rug out from under your feet about once a book. It makes reading her novels even more enjoyable; the unpredictability and creativity are often the best parts.

Now, if I had a chance to be a princess for a day...

Well, I would make everyone sing. Not all day, every day but often in just MY day. Like in... Galavant.

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I mean... it would probably goes as well as.... well, this:

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But if I were Princess like Britta, I honestly would try to make everyone have fun after a day of negotiating. Cracking terrible puns and jokes...

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 while my trusty aide was like:

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I would also begin a voluntary free read period for any point of the day (which all my citizens partake because if I am a princess it's in a world where reading is always preferred).

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There's a lot of this.
Our Queen JK, of Rowling, would be taught as early as possible in the day until the last stroke of midnight so kids might grow up with the Potterness.

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For Potterheads, forever!

And while our national motto will be:

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There will also be spontaneous dance parties and Air Guitar Championships for when life or feels get to be too much.

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Turk is here to help.

I mean, yeah, we'll be a little weird at first..

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We'll eventually figure it out. That's what my day as a Princess would be life.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the chance to read and review this!

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