Book Review: Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix(***)


“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 even to tell anyone who I really am. But I know—I have always known.”

Cecilia knows that she is not just another peasant girl; she is actually the true princess, in hiding until the evil forces that killed her parents are vanquished. A commoner named Desmia is on the throne as a decoy.

As she gets older, Cecilia finds it harder to study statesmanship and palace protocol secretly at night and then pretend that she has nothing on her mind other than scrubbing the gruel stains out of her best apron by day.

Cecilia knows that it is time to take charge. Along with her best friend, Harper, she flees to the capital city, determined to reclaim her throne and face the danger head on.

When Harper and Cecilia reach the famed Palace of Mirrors, they discover complications: Princess Desmia believes an entirely different version of the story.

Acclaimed author Margaret Peterson Haddix returns to the charmed world of Just Ella, where a princess-in-hiding and a pretender to the throne discover that nothing is as it



*sigh* Okay, this book.

It has so much sentimental value. It was one of the first “big books” that I ever read.


I used to hate reading. It wasn’t until about 3rd grade that I would even touch a book for this thing people called “enjoyment”.

I bought my very own hardback copy of Palace of Mirrors at a Book Fair they had in public school (before we started homeschooling).

And I absolutely fell in love. I loved, loved, loved Palace of Mirrors.


It took  me six years before I realized that this books wasn’t called “Haddix”. *hides face* The author’s name was so big I just assumed it was the title XD

Anyway, long story kinda-sorta short, in the days of my youth I read Palace of Mirrors seven times. It was the only (first?) book I actually fangirled hard about.

Fast forward to 2016 and, needless to say, I could barely remember that much about the book I so fondly adored.

So I picked it up. And I read it. For the eighth time in my life.

I was so excited, mainly for the nostalgia of it all, but I also knew I would just love the story all over again.

But, YOU GUYS I DIDN’T!! I did not like it. In all horrifying honesty, I would give Palace of Mirrors one star.


The main character, Cecilia, was an absolute brat. She was fourteen but acted twelve. She was so incredibly self-absorbed, entitled to everything, and pitched an occasional tantrum.

“No, I AM the true princess” Was a phrase she used…often. Sound like a five-year-old? Yes, yes it does. And she acts the way this sentence sounds throughout the whole book. She’s the “true princess” she “deserves better” she’ll “deliver an eloquent speech to the commoner Desmia for keeping her safe”.

Humility is not her middle name. Neither is “kind” or “meek” (and, to add in a satirical remark, neither is “likeable”). In one word, as said before, she’s an utter brat. There were times when strangling her crossed my mind.

The plot was actually very good, Cecilia just ruined it. I remember the first time reading it (and even now) the plot twists astounded me. They were amazing.

AND HARPER. *SQUEEEE* he was a wonderful little duck. He’s the reason I didn’t stop sludging through Cecilia’s whining. He was absolutely wonderful.

He was always there for Cecilia, he protected her in the sweetest ways, and would undoubtedly go to great lengths to make her happy. He was funny, a little sarcastic, and always found the simplest words to warm the heart.

So, if you want to read Palace of Mirrors, Harper will not disappoint. Neither will the plot. If you can get past a few cheesy parts and wanting to murder the main character, Palace of Mirrors is a fun read!










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