Palace of Lies by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Book Three of The Palace Chronicles
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
Desmia discovers the reality of royalty is far from a fairy tale in this third adventure set in the Cinderella-esque world of Just Ella and Palace of Mirrors, from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Desmia and her twelve sister-princesses are ruling Suala together at last, a united front. The kingdom seems to have finally gotten its happily ever after, but Desmia, trained by a lifetime of palace intrigue, is not so sure. She desperately wants to believe all is well, but she can’t help seeing danger around every corner.
And then the unthinkable happens, and Desmia’s worst fears are confirmed. Now, without the support of the sister-princesses she’s grown to rely on or the trappings of royalty that have always convinced people to listen to her, Desmia must find the courage to seek out the truth on her own terms—and to determine the course of two kingdoms.
What I Liked:
SKIP. Sorry not sorry. This book was all kinds of awful. I'm not even going to sit here and write a full review on this one. Not wasting my time.
What I Did Not Like:
First and foremost: Simon & Schuster did an AWFUL job of marketing this book. Let me explain. When I downloaded this book from Edelweiss in June (JUNE. 2014), there wasn't much about this book. No information about a synopsis, no cover, no series information. LOOK at my Stacking the Shelves post - you'll see that I had a placeholder cover up, and I stated, "Not much has been said about this one, but I'm wiling to give it a try!" I had NO idea that this book was a third book in the series. There was NO indication of this on Edelweiss at the time. And on Goodreads, there was barely even a publication year (at the time). You want to know when I realized that this book was a third book? JUST NOW, when I went to input my 1-star rating on Goodreads. I was like, ohh...
I mean, I was giving it 1 star anyway. Regardless of the number in the series, this one wasn't getting more than 1 star. I think this series reads as a companion series - you can read the books in any order, or none at all. The thing is, had I known that this book was part of a series (even if it was a companion series), I wouldn't have picked it up.
Second thing: this is MIDDLE GRADE. Not Young Adult. I've not been able to read Middle Grade in quite some time, and this book is the epitome of why. I couldn't stand the immaturity of the characters in this book. I couldn't wrap my head around the absurdity of the situations of this book. I just could not believe the story, let alone like the story. And I get it - it's fantasy. But something about fourteen- and ten-year-old children taking down grown men doesn't sit well with me. When I say "take down", I mean "outwit". But also, the ten-year-old children are pretty well-versed in killing people. Okay.
I didn't like the protagonist, Desmia. She's fourteen, and gosh does she act her age (or less, really). She's so conceited and selfish, and honestly, her character and personality don't really develop throughout the story. The author likes to TELL us readers that she does, by physically forcing Desmia's thoughts in a certain way, but it's not natural and doesn't flow right at all. I want to be SHOWN that Desmia is maturing. Don't TELL me she is. Don't have HER tell me.
I didn't like the supporting characters, either. They're all so YOUNG, and so immature, and their roles don't seem right at all, for their age. It's like the author was trying to tell a Young Adult story in a Middle Grade type of book... I could not wrap my head around the characters and their age and the things they were doing. Like, they seemed too stupid to be doing some things, and entirely too smart to be able to do other things. If that makes sense.
The whole plot is absurd. Go find the twelve princesses that were probably killed in the fire - oh, but you're seriously injured, so you have to depend on others to take you. Not to mention that these other people will drop their entire lives and money and home and EVERYTHING for you and your problems. Somehow, I just did not believe this plot arc. I wasn't buying it. I was rolling my eyes the entire time, or had an eyebrow cocked, or was staring incredulously at the pages.
Seriously, if you're going to write a Middle Grade book, age your characters as such, and mature (or immature) them as such. Don't make them super-smart, super-strong, super-witty children sent from heaven or something. Literally the entire time I was thinking to myself, these are CHILDREN?!
But again, the story seemed ridiculous. I'm not even doing it justice by saying it was "ridiculous". It was so trivial and superfluous - this book was one of those books where I was like, what's the point? This story seemed recycled and retold and booooooring, to be honest. Thank goodness the book was semi-short.
I really wanted almost everyone to end up dead... of course that was not the case. Take that as you may. This book ends so cartoon-like and cookie-cutter perfect. And the villains - literally so cartoon-like! It's like these GROWN men and women are idiots, at the hands of fourteen-year-old children! Really! These children can run a castle better than men and women who have been around a palace for years?! Yes, I believe that, totally...
Overall, I'm not pleased, not amused, and 100% would not recommend. It's Middle Grade, but it's superfluous Middle Grade. It's MIDDLE GRADE - not Young Adult (like it seemed to have been marketed to be). I would never have picked up this one, had I known that it was a book three, as well as Middle Grade. Please, publishers, market your books correctly. I know you like to upload your books super early to Edelweiss, but really, it would help immensely if you had the book's information (like, at the very least, the number in the series).
Would I Recommend It:
NOOOOOO. Maybe if you've read the other two books in the series. But nooooo. Don't do it. It's not worth it.
1 star (really, it would be lower than that if possible. Again, sorry not sorry). This was definitely NOT for me. And now I know better than to be interested in an unknown, supposedly YA, non-series fantasy novel. Sad life.
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!