Princess Academy, book three
Published Feb 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format Read: Print book from Personal Library
Description from Goodreads:
After a year at the king's palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!
Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.
As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen's interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.
It had been so long since I'd read book two in this series, The Palace of Stone, that I was worried I wouldn't be able to fall into this world easily again. On the contrary, I almost think the extra time between books enhanced my experience. It reintroduced me to Miri, Peder, and some of the other characters, while also drawing me into a new part of the world as Miri travels to Lesser Alva to meet three "cousins" of the royal family.
Readers get to see smart, resilient Miri turn from student to teacher, and yet still learn some lessons along her way to the final ending. I loved that these books demonstrate how much we can learn from one another and how we interact with and treat other people. Friends, family, strangers, each are important and each touch and color our life experience. I especially loved how Miri passes on things she knows to the sisters, but internalizes the things she can learn from them, as well. And the fact that she, again, finds the solution to a MAJOR problem in the kingdom... we need to keep recognizing and valuing girls like Miri in real life.
This book was definitely a shade darker than the first two, but as the characters had matured, it seemed only fitting. I think these books tackle more than readers expect by looking at the covers and I cannot wait to pass them on to my niece when she's old enough.
Recommended to readers ten and above looking for a smart, kind heroine in a neat fantasy setting. But, start with Princess Academy so you can take Miri's journey along with her!