“Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have come to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding. There, Miri also has a chance to attend school – at the prestigious Queen’s Castle.
But as Miri befriends sophisticated and exciting students, she also learns that they have some frightening plans for a revolution. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends’ ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place.” (from Goodreads)
What is there to say about this book by Shannon Hale except “Wow!” and *heart squeeze*?!! Frankly, it surprised me. Second books are usually the boring filler one–not so this time around. Although this is set far from the charming Mount Eskel, the strong value of friendship and the rules of diplomacy were taken to a whole new level. I loved reading about all of the academy girls again, and it’s exciting to see the possible future laid out for each of them. Frid is so funny! I especially loved Britta in this book. She was such a noble and brave dear! SPOILER ALERT! And the explanation of Steffan’s stiffness was actually really logical and kinda cute. He’s a good egg, that one. END OF SPOILER! The more I read this series, the more I love how real the author made Miri. Her fears of forgetting home…her weakness to be SPOILER ALERT! drawn into the revolution END OF SPOILER!…and even her hilarious letters home were some of the reasons I connected with her. I loved how she went to Peder’s house when she needed help. Even though there was the small detour of Timon, I knew that all along MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! she loved her old friend. All the conversations (and goat jokes) between them were just darling, and I even liked a dead-tired Peder. END OF SPOILER! I’m really happy with how that turned out. 😀 The political problems were so complicated, that I was wondering for awhile how it could possibly be solved and eager to see how Miri would conduct herself. It was a good ending. 😉 Just a note that I would recommend this book for a slightly older audience than the first one because of discussion of revolution with a few gruesome details and intense danger (one character is wounded), Timon’s SPOILER ALERT! advances towards Miri including a kiss END OF SPOILER, and some MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! pretty cute romance including generally sweet moments and three kisses END OF SPOILER.
Best quotes: “How do girls do that…” He twirled a finger beside his head. “The curly thing with the hair.” “We heat an iron rod in the hearth and then wrap a lock of hair around it. It takes forever, but some of us aren’t as lucky as you.” She ran her fingertips through his curly hair.
Altogether, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the third! It promises to be fun. 😀