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Palace of Mirrors [NOOK Book]

Overview

Cecelia lives like a peasant girl, but she knows she is truly a princess, hidden away as an infant for safety and replaced by a decoy commoner. When danger finds her in her small village, Cecelia decides it is time to act, setting out to claim her rightful place on the throne. But when she and her best friend Harper venture to the capital city and into the famed Palace of Mirrors, they discover that all is not as it seems, and that they have placed themselves in more danger than...
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Palace of Mirrors

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Overview

Cecelia lives like a peasant girl, but she knows she is truly a princess, hidden away as an infant for safety and replaced by a decoy commoner. When danger finds her in her small village, Cecelia decides it is time to act, setting out to claim her rightful place on the throne. But when she and her best friend Harper venture to the capital city and into the famed Palace of Mirrors, they discover that all is not as it seems, and that they have placed themselves in more danger than they could have imagined….
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

A lively companion to Just Ella (S & S, 1999). Cecilia, 14, has a secret. Despite her peasant appearance, she is the true princess of Suala, hidden from birth to protect her from the conspirators who murdered her parents. To evade capture, she leaves her village with her friend Harper and heads for the capital city to claim her throne. Imagine her surprise when Desmia, the figure-head princess, reveals 11 other "true princesses" locked in the palace dungeons. Visiting from Fridesia, Ella turns up to help Desmia, Cecilia, and Harper unravel this political intrigue. Palace of Mirrors sits nicely alongside Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 2007) and Shannon Hale's Princess Academy (Bloomsbury, 2005). Much of the humor stems from Cecilia's misconceptions, and from the wit of her friend-turned-beau, Harper. The plot will be a familiar one to genre readers, but they will happily travel it again to see Cecilia's identity unfold. The suspense builds to a well-paced climax and conclusion with few pauses in an action-packed story. While the setting is less defined than the characters and plot, readers will be too focused on the protagonist's many concerns to notice.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
In this semi-sequel to 1999's Just Ella, which imagined what happens after Cinderella moves to the Prince's palace, readers meet another Cinderella-like character, this one raised to believe that she is the true princess of the realm at war with Ella's kingdom. Fourteen-year-old Cecelia lives as a commoner, hidden in a remote village and tutored by kind Sir Stephen until she can claim her throne. When danger arises, naive Cecelia decides to pursue her promised fate. The narrative slowly builds suspense mixed with comedy as Cecelia and her best friend, a boy named Harper, slog over the wet countryside to the capital city, arriving looking even more ragged than usual. Haddix isn't content with a simple solution to Cecelia's problem; she concocts several further dilemmas, gets poor Cecelia ever filthier and introduces savvy Ella on a state visit to help untangle the plot woven by the late queen. Completely unexpected results emerge. Plenty of fun here from a superior author. (Fantasy. 10-14)
From the Publisher
"Palace of Mirrors sits nicely alongside Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted and Shannon Hale's Princess Academy...The suspense builds to a well-paced climax and conclusion with few pauses in an action-packed story."—School Library Journal

"Aficionados of Gail Carson Levine and Shanno Hale will find much to like in this welcome addition to the ver-growing canon of smart-princess stories."—Booklist

"Haddix's skill with vivid descriptions and believable characters make this tale a standout in the retold fairy tale genre....a story that feels both familiar and fresh. It is a sure hit for those who want to cultivate their rough-and-tumble inner princess."—VOYA

"Plenty of fun here from a superior author."—Kirkus Reviews

Booklist
"Aficionados of Gail Carson Levine and Shanno Hale will find much to like in this welcome addition to the ver-growing canon of smart-princess stories."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442402508
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Series: Palace Chronicles , #2
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 140,113
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: NC820L (what's this?)
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including The Missing series and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.
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Read an Excerpt


1

Somewhere in the world I have a tiara in a little box. It is not safe for me to wear it. It is not safe for me to know where it is. It is not safe for me even to tell anyone who I really am.

But I know—I have always known. Perhaps Nanny Gratine sang my secret to me in hushed lullabies when I was a tiny, squalling creature. Perhaps Sir Stephen began his weekly visits even in my first months, and whispered into my ear when it was no bigger than an acorn, “You are the true princess. We will protect you. We will keep you safe until the evil ones are vanquished and the truth can be revealed. . . .”

I can almost picture him kneeling before my cradle, his white beard gleaming in the candlelight, his noble face almost completely hidden by the folds of a peasant’s rough, hooded cloak. This is how he always comes to visit us—in disguise.

I am in disguise too. I think if I had not known the truth about myself from the beginning, it would be hard to believe. To everyone else in the village I am just another barefoot girl who carries buckets of water from the village well, hangs her laundry on the bushes, hunts berries and mushrooms and greens in the woods. Nobody knows how I study at night, turning over the thin pages of Latin and Greek, examining the gilded pictures of kings and queens—my ancestors—as if staring could carry me into the pictures too. Sometimes, looking at the pictures, I can almost feel the silk gowns rustling around my ankles, the velvet cloaks wrapped around my shoulders, the gleaming crown perched upon my head. It is good that Nanny Gratine has no mirror in her cottage, because then I would be forced to see that none of that is real. I have patches on my dress, a holey shawl clutched over the dress, a threadbare kerchief tying back my hair. This is strange. This is wrong. What kind of princess wears rags? What kind of kingdom has to keep its own royalty hidden?

I don’t know why, but ever since I turned fourteen, questions like that have been multiplying in my mind, teeming like water bugs in the pond after a strong rain. Last night, as Sir Stephen was giving me my next reading assignment in Duties and Obligations of Royal Personages, a thought occurred to me that was so stunning and bizarre I nearly fell off my stool.

I gasped, and the words were out of my mouth before I had time to remember Rule Three of the Royal Code. (“One must consider one’s utterances carefully, as great importance is attached to every syllable that rolls from a royal’s tongue.”) Even though I know that the Great Zedronian War was started by a king who said, “Dost thou take me for a fool? Art thou a fool thyself?” when he should have hemmed and hawed and waited to speak until he could find a wiser way of expressing himself, I still blurted out without thinking, “Great galleons and grindelsporks! Are you her teacher, too?”

Sir Stephen scratched thoughtfully at his chin, setting off tremors in the lustrous curls of his beard.

“Eh? What’s that?” he said, blinking his wise old eyes at me several times before finally adding, “Whose teacher?”

Sir Stephen is entirely too good at following Rule Three of the Royal Code, even though he’s only a knight, not royalty.

But then I hesitated myself, because I’m always loath to speak the name. I stared down at my hands folded in my lap and whispered, “Desmia’s.”

Desmia is the fake princess, the one who wears my royal gowns, the one who sits on my royal throne—the one who’s saving my royal life.

Sir Stephen did not reply until I gathered the nerve to raise my head and peer back up at him again.

“And why would I be Desmia’s teacher?” he asked, raising one grizzled eyebrow. He wasn’t going to make this any easier for me than conjugating Latin verbs, solving geometry proofs, or memorizing the principle exports of Xeneton.

“Because you know how to train royalty, and—”

“She’s not royalty,” Sir Stephen said patiently.

“But she’s pretending to be, and if she has to keep up appearances, to throw off and confuse the enemy—then doesn’t she have a tutor too?”

I cannot remember when I found out about Desmia, any more than I can remember when I found out about myself. Perhaps, by my cradleside, Sir Stephen also crooned, “And don’t worry that your enemies will ever find you. They won’t even look because we’ve placed a decoy on the throne, a fake, a fraud, an impostor. If the evil ones ever try to harm Desmia, we will find them out; we will roust them. And then we can reveal your existence, and the kingdom will ring with gladness, to have its true princess back, safe and unscathed. . . .”

When I was younger I used to playact the ceremony I planned to have for the girl Desmia when the enemy was gone and the truth came to light. I’d play both roles, out in the cow pasture: kneeling and humble as Desmia, standing on the wooden fence to attain proper royal stature when I switched to playing myself.

“I, Princess Cecilia Aurora Serindia Marie, do hereby proclaim my gratitude to the commoner Desmia, for all the kingdom to see,” I’d intone solemnly, balanced on the fence rails.

Then I’d scramble down and bow low (though keeping a watch out so that neither my knees nor my forehead landed in a cowpat).

“Oh, Princess,” I’d squeak out, as Desmia. “It is I who ought to be thanking you, for allowing me the chance to serve my kingdom, to ensure your safety. I have wanted nothing more than your safe return to the throne.”

Back to the fence rail. Back to my royal proclamation voice.

“It is a fortunate ruler who has such loyal subjects. In honor of your service, I grant you a tenth of the royal treasury,” I’d say. Sometimes the reward was “land on the Calbrenian coast” or “my best knight’s hand in marriage” or “the services of your favorite dressmaker for a year.” But somehow it never sounded right. What was the proper reward for someone who had risked her life to save mine? What was the proper reward for someone who’d already gotten to wear silks and satins while I wore rags, who’d gotten to feast on every delicacy in the kingdom while I ate porridge and gruel, who’d slept in a castle while I slept on a mat on the floor? Wasn’t it reward enough that she’d gotten to live the life that was rightfully mine?

Last night, when I asked Sir Stephen if he was Desmia’s tutor too, he finally shook his head and said, “Of course I’m not Desmia’s tutor. She doesn’t need to learn the same lessons as you.”

It was a perfectly clear answer—straightforward and to the point. But it left me wanting more. Long after Sir Stephen had shifted into a lecture on the Eight Principles of Royal Governance, I was still thinking of more questions. Then who is her tutor? What lessons does she learn? And, most of all, When? When will we trade lives? When will I ever get to use all this nonsense I’m learning?

When will my real life begin?

© 2008 Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 150 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(108)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 152 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!

    This book is wonderful when I began reading it I could NOT put it down! I love the way that it goes back in to ware there are Kings, Queens, and peasents. I have never read I book like this before! I just LOVE it!!!!!

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent!

    Palace of Mirrors is a great book. I read Just Ella a few years back, and I didn't like it so I was skeptical about trying this book. As soon as I was two chapters into the story I was hooked. My absolute favorite book is Ella Enchanted, and this book reminded me strongly of Ella Enchanted. While it usually takes awhile to capture the reader's interest, Margaret Haddix captures the interest of readers in the beginning of her story because the action begins immediately rather than towards the end. The plot is fast paced and complex. I wasn't expecting to be surprised by the ending of this story at all - I thought that I had everything figured out, but boy was I wrong!

    The story begins with the fact that Cecilia has been told from infant-hood that she is a true princess and that a pretender sits in her thrown to keep her safe from harm...so even though Cecilia wears rags, doesn't own a pair of shoes, and looks like a farm girl she just knows that the girl sitting in HER castle sucking on a silver spoon, wearing beautiful gowns, and a crown on her head isn't the true princess. Under dire circumstances Cecilia leaves her tiny village, along with her friend Harper, to go to the palace and live the life that she was destined for...little does she know that things at the palace aren't as they seem to be. Who is the REAL princess after all?

    Ms.Haddix has a well-devolved story that teen girls who love a good fairytale will enjoy. This story is a unique one because it is not a retelling of a well-known fairytale that we have all read - it is a completely new idea that I think is pure genius. I hope others will enjoy this story as much as I did.

    As for questionable content: Cecelia begins to think about boys in a way she has never thought of them before. She talks about wanting to sleep with a certain boy side-by-side (for comfort purposes), and blushing, realizes that that is how a man and wife sleep. Other than that I can't think of anything that would bother younger readers, or parent's of younger readers : )

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    AWESOME read

    This book is fanttastic its easy to read.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    haddix rules!!!

    Though i have not yet read the book, i know that Margaret Peterson Haddix shall not fail to deliver. She is a brilliant writer if i have ever seen one with her unique literary skills and outstanding suspense.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    AWSOME

    This book is my favorite book of all time . All of the exitement I recomend it !

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    It is an amazing book

    The book Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a very interesting book. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read thrillers, or being surprised. Margaret Peterson Haddix creates suspense and excitement for any reader who likes to read these types of books.
    Palace of Mirrors is about a girl named Cecilia who lives in a cottage with her nanny. Cecilia believes she is the true princess of Suala, but there is already a princess ruling. Cecilia will do anything to claim her throne, so she travels on an adventure to the city with her best friend, Harper.
    In my opinion, Margaret Peterson Haddix made the book very interesting. One of the things I liked was the way she used her words to create some surprising and exciting events. I liked the way she created suspense, because that kept me reading the book.
    Overall, I think the book was very good. Margaret Peterson Haddix did a wonderful job writing this book. Once I went through the first part of the book, she kept my attention with the events that happened in the novel.
    I gave this book four stars, because I thought Margaret Peterson Haddix did make the story about something that everyone likes.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    I thought this was a cute book for the target age group. My two

    I thought this was a cute book for the target age group. My two young daughters liked it. Although it is an interesting story, it is in my opinion a good story that could have been much better. The plot is unique yet uninspiring most of the time. While the heroine Cecelia does seem to mature at the end of the book, the hero Harper doesn't leave adolecence to move into manhood even though he wants to get married. I didn't like the whole scenerio at the end with the queen, it was too contrived and not realisticlly accomplished.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Haddix does it again!

    I loved this book! You can always turn to haddix for an interesting twist on a somewhat common plot!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    This Book is BEAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I loved this book and Every girl would Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Palace Of Mirrors

    this was a great book. good writing, great story, well put. Once i read this book the author became my favorite one. have i mentioned it was great?

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Great book

    Couldn't put it down!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is awsome!!!!!!!!!! It has sooooo mutch detail!!!!!!!! : )

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Luv it!!!!

    This book so.amazing! I suggest reading Just Ella first though. I really love this book its so good! I reccamend it for girls ages 9-13

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Its was so real

    It felt like it could be true! I couldnt put the book down!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    I luv this book 2 death!!!!!! My friend is reading it right now and she to luvs it! Very suspensful!

    Luv luv luv this very suspensful book!!!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    A review of Palaces of Mirrors

    This is a really good book. You should read it because it is about a girl who has to hide from evil peole that murred her mom and dad and Cillice is the only one left in her family because they did not kill her, so now they put a fake princess in her place untill it was safe to tell the village people who the real princess is and then she could live her normal life as a princess in her parents castle so that she could be in charge of the kingdom.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Palace of Mirrors

    It was a thrilling, exiting, and, adventurous, book.Inever put the book down until I was done reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    Nela

    I am a big Haddix fan and when I didnt have a nook I would raed her books all the time at my library and she has some talent!all her books are great but she has outdone herself this time!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    Great book

    Had me glued to it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Great books!!!

    Margret Peterson Haddix is my all time favorite author because she makes you feel like you are living in ger awesome books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 152 Customer Reviews

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