Thursday, September 27, 2012

Princess Academy

Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)

Miri lives in a small village perched on a mountain where everyone mines for linder, a stone used for flooring and decoration all over the kingdom, but since Miri is so small, her father forbids her to work in the mines.  Miri does have one important job though and that is haggling with the traders, so she is in the village when the message that the next queen will come from her village and that a princess academy will be set up to teach all eligible young ladies.  Dozens of girls are sent to the academy, but Miri is soon singled out by the tutor as a trouble maker, since she believes their treatment is not fair, and the top of the class.  But she is able to regain the groups trust by learning quarry talk, a means of communication that is only possible around linder, and she is about to communicate warnings to the girls.  Miri not only becomes the hero of the academy, but of the whole town, and she starts to believe that living as a princess may not be enough for her.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I read this book in short spurts on my phone and Kindle.  I'm wondering if that caused my detachment to the book now.  I felt that the story was over long.  Miri learned quarry talk, regained the trust of her friends, made the town prosper with her new knowledge of economics, and re-evaluated her priories regarding the prince.  That should be enough.  I felt that the whole episode with the bandits and Britta's betrayal was too much.  Miri was already the hero of this story, why does she need to be the saint too.  

But, like I said, maybe my choice of reading device hindered my reading.  That's one of the biggest problems of reading on the Kindle, or phone, you have no concept of length.  When reading a physical book it is easy to see how much farther you have to go, but on a Kindle, or phone, you only get a percentage marker, and your "pages" are not truly pages.  Especially with a phone because the screen is so small, you are flipping "pages" every couple of seconds.  

I found Miri to be a likeable character, even if she was an obvious hero.  It would have made for a more interesting story if Britta, being the outsider, had learned quarry talk and earned the begrudging respect of her peers, then re-evaluated her love for the prince and decided that her father's goals for her were not enough.  That might be too much of a political rant for children though, so let's keep this book the way it is.

I'm going to blame my slight dislike of this book on two things:  the device I choose to read it on, and the simplistic, rather predictable message.  But since this is a book for 4th graders and not feminists, the message is fitting.  

Happy Reading!

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