Author of mostly young adult fantasy novels, notable for her consistent inclusion of strong female protagonists and unique, subtle magic systems. Her books straddle the line between High Fantasy
, being small-scale, low magic, and sometimes gritty or violent, but also featuring unambiguously good and evil characters and traditional happy endings. They can be a little slow in the beginning
, but they are always worth the effort
: The Books of Bayern now has it's own separate page
. Tropes from the series on this page has been moved there.
Some of her works include:
- The Goose Girl. Princess Anidori is traveling from her home kingdom to the kingdom of Bayern to marry the prince and hopefully bring peace to their two nations. Halfway there, she is betrayed by her company as they attempt to murder her and replace her with her lady in waiting, Selia. Ani escapes, but then must make her way to Bayern alone. Fearful of Selia and her guads, who still want her dead, Ani disguises herself as a city worker who tends to the geese as she plots a way to convince the king of her true identity. Three sequels feature the friends Ani meets among the city workers; the series is called Books of Bayern.
- Enna Burning
- River Secrets
- Forest Born
- Princess Academy (2005). Miri lives in a village of miners on Mt. Eskel, far removed from the rest of the Kingdom of Danland. One day all the girls from the village are rounded up by an emissary from the king and sent to a finishing school — the titular princess academy — thanks to a prophecy that the prince's future wife will come from their region. Miri quickly rises to the top of her class and realizes she has a chance at becoming the princess, but struggles to choose between a better life, and leaving behind her home and the boy she's falling in love with. A sincere and realistic take on I Just Want to Be Normal, and a Newbery Honor winner.
- Palace of Stone (2012)
- Dragonfly Sisters (2015)
- Book of a Thousand Days. Dashti, a maid, is locked up in a windowless tower with her Lady Saren as punishment for Saren's refusal to go through with the marriage her father arranged for her. Saren is betrothed to Lord Khasar, who terrifies her senseless for an unknown reason, but instead wishes to marry the benevolent Khan Tegus. The book is presented as Dashti's diary, documenting her encounters with Khasar and Tegus, her attempts to keep her and Saren alive and sane in the tower, and their adventure thereafter. Relatively short, but absolutely packed with story.
- Two books (so far) in the Ever After High franchise - The Storybook of Legends and The Unfairest of Them All.
- Austenland and its sequel, Midnight in Austenland. Now a film starring Keri Russell.
- The Actor and the Housewife
- Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack, written with her husband Dean Hale and illustrated by artist Nathan Hale (no relation).
- Alpha Bitch: Katar, who at least averts being Book Dumb by being Miri's rival for the top grade.
- Bride and Switch: Saren convinces Dashti to take her place in Book of a Thousand Days.
- Damsel in Distress: Lady Saren will drift into Damsel Scrappy and Too Dumb to Live territory for some readers. Unlike all the other female characters in this series, she is the only one that can't get herself out of trouble.
- Damsel out of Distress: Nearly all of the girls that Shannon writes get captured or in trouble, and all of them keep their heads and end up rescuing themselves. Except for Saren, as seen above.
- Disney Villain Death: Dan in Princess Academy
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Some of the books' endings are made of heartwarming, but only after the protagonists are made to suffer the worst lives ever.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: What Dashti finds upon returning to Titor's Garden.
- Fairy Tale:Book of a Thousand Days is based on "Maid Maleen."
- Family-Unfriendly Death: (Thousand) have their grisly ends depicted in the books.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Bayern for Germany, Danland for Scandinavia, and the Eight Realms for Mongolia.
- I Am Spartacus: Used in Princess Academy where all of them claim to be the princess.
- Magic Music: In Book of a Thousand Days.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
- Meaningful Name: Khasar, from a Mongolian root meaning terrible dog. Also used in-universe, as in Thousand there's a whole naming language. Saren, means 'moon light' and she's a much softer character than the rest.
- Nice to the Waiter: Miri befriends Knut, the academy cook.
- Parental Abandonment: Miri, and Dashti.
- Plucky Girl: Hale's heroines in general tend to be, but especially Dashti. She has enough determination to keep herself and The Load going.
- The Power of Friendship: Not really of the magical variety, but friendship and teamwork are always important themes.
- Prince and Pauper: Dashti and Saren
- Princess for a Day: Dashti
- Rags to Royalty: Both played straight and inverted.
- Sadist Teacher turned Stern Teacher: Olana
- Savage Wolves: In Book of a Thousand Days there are some definitely bad wolves.
- Survivor Guilt: Ani struggles with this after the murders of the men who were loyal to her. Also Talone to some extent, when he thinks Ani is dead.
- Take a Third Option: In Palace of Stone, Miri's eventual solution both to the ethics problem posed on her first day of class, and to the larger situation concerning the revolution. She close to says these exact words at the end of the book, after working it out.
- And Then What?: Batu to Dashti, on her plan to Defeat Khasar
- World Building: All of Hale's countries are very lovingly crafted. This results in the above slow-to-start-ness, but makes it worth your while by being fascinating.