Review: Palace of Mirrors (Haddix)

AUTHOR: Margaret Peterson Haddix
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: September 30, 2008
ISBN: 9781416939153
PAGES: 297
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: fantasy
GIVE IT TO: MS, upper-elementary fans of fantasy quests with romance

SUMMARY: Cecelia has always known she was a princess, not just the common peasant girl she pretends to be. Rescued from the palace as a baby, Cecelia is being protected and taught by those trying to protect her from her parents’ murderers. When it seems the murderers have found Cecelia’s hiding place, Cecelia travels to the palace with her best friend Harper. But when they arrive and meet the decoy princess, they discover the decoy, Princess Desmia, has heard an entirely different version of the story.

REVIEW: One of my most dear students recommended this book to me years ago. She is a big reader, and she says it is one of her favorite books ever. It is one of those books I’ve planned to read for a long while, but I have just never gotten around to it.

I may not remember it in a few weeks, but I enjoyed Cecelia and Harper’s quest to the palace. I really don’t have a lot to say about Palace of Mirrors. It’s cute, and I love how the conflicts are resolved. All loose-ends are tied up at the end, so a sequel is unlikely. I recommend it for upper-elementary and middle school girls. It is perfect for parents and teachers looking for “clean” reads for their tween girls.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A cute princess-quest with a hint of romance. Tween girls will love it.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it, but since it is a few years old, it isn’t hugely popular. I am going to relocate my library copy from action/adventure to the fairy tales section in the hopes it will get more checkout there. Fairy tales is where I house any fairy-tale spin-off (Flinn, Hale, Levine, Dokey, etc.). Even though Palace is not technically based on a fairy tale, the audience is the same.

READALIKES: The Seer and the Sword (Hanley), Ella Enchanted (Levine), Fortune’s Folly (Fagan)


  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: very mild; one chaste kiss
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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