Publisher’s Summary: Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
Review: The best part of this book is the message – how education can change not only your life, but your family’s lives, your community, and your country. It’s a beautiful message because it focuses on uplifting girls from illiteracy and poverty.
Coolest idea – quarry singing, where the people of the mountain can connect with the bedrock and share their thoughts through common experiences. It gives this historical world a bit of magic.
The major flaw in this story is who is ultimately chosen to be the princess. The way it’s played out makes the whole thing a bit of a throwaway. The author has this great idea – a school designed to make commoners into princesses – and then the prince choose his childhood crush. A girl, mind you who should not have been there, was not a daughter of the province, and was posing under false pretenses. Just weird.