A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Forgotten Sisters is the exciting conclusion to Shannon Hale's popular Princess Academy series. We find Miri tutoring a group of potential future princesses in the swamp, far away from friends and family in Mount Eskel. She puts her training to the test and questions everything she has learned up to now about the role of education, real-world ethics, the importance of honor and loyalty, and, most important, how to negotiate and problem-solve in ways that consider everyone's point of view. There's some intense but not graphic violence when a few men are killed, and a sense of loss and emotional intensity pervades the series, with many of the girls having lost mothers in childbirth or separating from parents who were killed or who abandoned them.
What's the story?
Miri has finished her year of training at the palace, but, just as she expects to return to Mount Eskel with Peder to ask permission to wed, she learns that she will, at the king's behest, travel instead to the swamp to train three sisters for potential futures as princesses. There, she meets Astrid, Sus, and Felissa, who at first don't see what books can teach them, since they know everything they need to about surviving the swamp. Soon Miri learns that there are skills outside of books she still hasn't acquired and that to return home she'll have to put everything she's learned so far to the test.
Is it any good?
All the dynamics in the first two books come together for an exciting conclusion in THE FORGOTTEN SISTERS. Miri uses her past knowledge and some new skills she picks up along the way to participate in the world as a fully actualized person who learns from her mistakes. Readers can see her everyday application of the more abstract ideas about ethics, philosophy, and strategy introduced in previous installments and watch her learn to negotiate and advocate for her fellow citizens as well as her friends and loved ones, while also considering the viewpoint of rulers and nobility.
Miri is smart, resilient, and compassionate and has a lot of heart. She's a character both boys and girls can relate to as she discovers the excitement of the city and the adult world, while still longing for a sense of home and the simplicity of the past. It's a story about growing up that inspires the best impulses in people, even as it entertains as a fun, fast-paced adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Princess Academy series. Did you find the conclusion satisfying? Does it make you want to read other books by Shannon Hale?
How does education change the three sisters' lives? How does it enhance the skills they already had in the swamp? What difference has education made in your life?
How does Miri navigate the tension between participating in the world versus returning home? Which seems more important?
- Author: Shannon Hale
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
- Publication date: February 24, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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