Book three of the Princess Academy trilogy
By Shannon Hale
Available now from Bloomsbury
Read my review of Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
Shannon Hale returns to Miri and the world of the Princess Academy novels for a final time. War is on the horizon, and the only way to stop it is a royal marriage. Therefore, Miri is sent to the swamps to teach three of the king's cousins how to be princesses. The catch? Miri can't tell them she's grooming them to be offered to marriage to a neighboring, elderly king. But if the king does marry one of them, ownership of Mount Eskel will be given to the girls of the princess academy. And Miri would do anything to keep her home from being sold off to greedy merchants.
In many ways, THE FORGOTTEN SISTERS is a lighter read than PALACE OF STONE. There's quite a bit of fish-out-of-water comedy at first, and the rural cousins resisting the efforts of their citified tutor. However, that doesn't mean darkness isn't lurking. There are a large number of lives at stake, especially as the war begins to break out before Miri, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus can leave the swamp.
For those who are eager to see the other characters, such as Britta and Peder, again, they have pretty minor roles in this adventure. Most of the story is Miri and the three princesses, which does make THE FORGOTTEN SISTERS welcoming to new readers. However, the reoccuring characters do appear enough to tie off lingering story lines, including the question of whether Miri and Peder will get there own happily ever after.
The Princess Academy trilogy is a real treat. I particularly love the subtle feminism Hale weaves throughout. We see women from all walks of life, and women who are fighters and women who are political and women who work hard at whatever their job is. We see Miri, who is clever and determined, but whose greatest wish is to complete her duty so that she can go home and get married. And that's fine because it is what she wants. THE FORGOTTEN SISTERS is a funny and thrilling conclusion to an excellent middle-grade series.