Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. 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.
Picking up where Princess Academy left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for. (summary from amazon)
I still love these characters that I met in the Princess Academy and one of the best things I love about them is that they have such a strong sense of identity and community because of how Mount Eskel has shaped them. This is another interesting tale about Miri a smart, brave, and intelligent girl who has new experiences in a whole new setting. At first I didn’t really enjoy the revolution storyline because it felt like Miri fell into it too easily. I felt like she should have thought of her friend Stephen and Britta more, as she went to all those meetings, but Hale give Miri real consequences for betraying her friends. I like how Miri had to feel those consequences and scramble to make things right, as that made the characters and plot feel way more realistic. I also really did love how the ending was resolved mostly peacefully, but there were definitive reasons for why it ended that way. I especially liked seeing the King grow and reevaluate his decision and judgments. Hale did an excellent job with that and with the Queen too. I loved how she recognized that she could have a say in things and she followed the example of a previous Queen to find her courage. An excellent and worthwhile read.