Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting… until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she “should “help them. Soon Miri finds herself 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. Picking up where “Princess Academy “left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.
I really enjoyed the first Princess Academy and was super excited to find out that there was another one. Although it's been over two years since I read the first, Hale does a great job of bringing us up to speed.
I love Hale's writing style: “Hunger ran through her childhood like a string through a bead necklace,” such beautiful imagery. Her characters are intelligent, insightful, and funny. Miri is a great, strong character who hasn't regressed in her attributes just so she has room to grow in this second book, like I've read in many other Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. And even though she's stronger from her experiences in book one, she still grows, develops, and learns a whole lot about herself in book two.
There was a sense of doom just waiting to descend, which made this a bit darker than I would have liked, but everything is thankfully resolved well and makes the world of the lowlands feel brighter once the doom is lifted.
I’m happy to say there was more romance in this one, but clean enough that a MD reader wouldn't be uncomfortable reading it. And I'm SO glad Miri chooses the best guy in the end. Yay for happy endings!