Review: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon HaleThe Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on March 3, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

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.

Fans of Shannon Hale won't want to miss this gorgeously woven return to this best-selling, award-winning series.

Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy remains one of my favorite books. There’s nothing like classic Shannon Hale novels, if I can call novels from the early 2000s classics. Well, they are to me, so I will. In more recent years, though, I haven’t been quite as entranced by Hale’s fiction. Despite that, I couldn’t just walk away from this series. Hopes spring eternal for me, as it does for the unassailable goodwill of Miri Larendaughter. My hope was excellently rewarded with The Forgotten Sisters, which hearkens more closely to Princess Academy.

The Forgotten Sisters isn’t The Princess Academy for me, but it was much closer to what I’d been expecting from a sequel than Palace of Stone was. For one thing, in a very different fashion, the princess academy is back. More accurately, there’s a new princess academy. Just as Miri was finally going to head home to Mount Eskel after celebrating Britta’s wedding to Prince Steffan, the King called her to him with a new request: that she tutor three royal cousins as potential brides in an alliance with the nation of Stora.

Every part of me wishes that I could get all the people reading The Selection to read this series instead. For one thing, this series came almost ten years prior. For another, it’s better written. Finally, it’s full of feminism. The premises really aren’t that different, in that, at least in books one and three, they center around the selection of a future queen from a group being properly trained and auditioned.

The reason that the royal cousins need training is that they’d been, as the title indicates, largely forgotten. The royal cousins actually don’t even remember they’re royal, since they’ve spent their childhoods hunting caimans, fishing, and surviving by their own devices. They live in a swampy region that’s difficult to get to, as Miri discovers, fainting upon arriving at their door.

Miri’s the heroine of the series, not because she’s the most politically important figure, but because she’s the motivating force. Miri’s kind, optimistic, clever, and focused on justice. Just because she’s nice does not mean that she ever lets anyone take advantage of her. She’ll resort to whatever means she must in order to take on underhanded foes.

Even better, though, The Forgotten Sisters isn’t the Miri show. Though she’s the uniting figure and central to the plot, it’s not all about Miri. She very much could not have done this alone. Astrid, Felissa, and Susanna, the girls she’s been sent to tutor, may be rough about the edges, but they’re all very strong, both because of the life they’ve lived and their natures. Indeed, they’re strong in different ways. Felissa, for example, has strong emotions and compassion, which benefit her and the others.

Perhaps most touching for me was the story of Queen Sabet. She hasn’t played a huge role up until now, and The Forgotten Sisters doesn’t always show her in the best light. Ultimately, though, she gets a strong character arc. In fact, look at any female character in this book and you’ll see that she gets an empowering character arc. It’s really wonderful.

Romance isn’t so strongly an aspect in The Forgotten Sisters. I do like Peder and Miri’s slowly deepening relationship throughout the books. Their love is a steady undercurrent to the novel. I do also like the ship that develops at the end View Spoiler », at least with the proviso of taking it slowly. It all plays out really well.

From the epilogue, I’m not sure if there will be another book in the series, one where View Spoiler », but I rather hope so. If not, this has been a delightful conclusion to the series.

Favorite Quote:

“Are you so afraid of a baby girl?” Miri said, leaning toward him across the table. “How about me? Do I terrify you too? Watch out, I wear a dress and don’t grow a beard and if you don’t keep me in check I’ll steal all your power!”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif katy perry roar

3 responses to “Review: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale”

  1. Hannah says:

    I keep hearing about Shannon Hale’s The Princess Academy but have yet to read it – time to rectify that, methinks!
    Hannah recently posted…Review: The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) – Lori M LeeMy Profile

  2. Brigid says:

    That cover is so adorable! I’ve read Hale’s The Goose Girl. Have you read that? It’s so good. I love how Hale rewrites fairy tales while all the same being respectful to the original. A lot of author’s don’t do that, but Hale does.

    The selection. I’ve seen enough reviews to know it’s not for me. But, this actually looks great and now I want to read it.
    Brigid recently posted…Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda SalisburyMy Profile

  3. I hadn’t even thought of a sequel or follow-up series based on the events from the ending of the book, but I would totally read that!

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