Palace of Stone review

Short rant: it is the beginning of November, and I can no long find “fall” themed things in stores.  Decorations, candles, etc.  They are gone, replaced by Christmas items.  REALLY?  I did not realize it was too late to shop for Thanksgiving things 3 weeks beforehand! I hate commercialism!  ANYWAY…

Just finished reading the latest from my fav Shannon Hale: Palace of Stone, which is a sequel to Princess Academy and follows the same main character, Miri.  It was a nice follow up to the first book, although it didn’t quite catch my fancy as much.  I felt it drag a little around the first third of the book, but as I kept reading I got more and more into it.  I especially liked the parts towards the end about Miri and Peder’s relationship–it was sweet but solid and really resonated with me.

The only hesitation I have plot-wise is the simplicity of its politics.  As we can see right now from our current election process (don’t forget to vote tomorrow!), running a country is extremely complicated, and nothing in politics is black-and-white.  I think the political problems of the book are wrapped up a little too tidily at the end (and I think Hale was brave to take on this topic at all).  If only governments could really change so easily, with just some polite, persuasive words.  (Depressing thought–Miri has become her country’s first political lobbyist.)

Hale’s writing is still engaging.  She  uses such clever phrases in her similies: “Miri could feel his gaze on her as if it were a wind that blew.” “Miri caught them [leaflets] like butterflies and read parts.” “History was as hard to hold as a wet fish.” “The thought made her stomach feel like a beehive shaken.”  Very fun to read.

I also finished Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher (book 8 of the Dresden Files).  It’s another strong installment in the series, especially in terms of developments in Harry’s relationships with other characters: Murphy, Thomas, Michael and his family, his mentor Ebenezar. And for the record, I caught the Star Wars references right away 🙂  However, all the loose ends of the plot are getting a little hard to remember!  I look forward to the next book, and future sidekicks!

Also, I’ve been noticing on the last few covers of the Dresden Files that Harry’s staff has katakana characters on it.  I believe the books say that his staff has “runes” on it, so I wonder why the artist chose Japanese characters, and why they spell out “Matrix.”  Is this going to come up in the book at some point?

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