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.One Line Review: Heart-warming tale of family ties and personal triumph.
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.
"I keep thinking about a tale my nurse used to read to me about a bird whose wings are pinned to the ground. In the end, when he finally frees himself, he flies so high he becomes a star. My nurse said the story was about how we all have something that keeps us down."
"There you go...let it all slide out. Unhappiness can't stick in a person's soul when it's slick with tears [p. 173]."
I had heard that Shannon Hale's youth fiction was pretty good so I decided to try out this one. I'd read her Austenland book about a year ago and thought it was OK so I was a bit hesitant to try out her other books. Overall, I thought this was a fun book. It took a bit for me to get into it, but towards the end it really came alive. I thought Hale's book did a fantastic job of painting the tiny village of Mount Eskel for me to see. Her book focuses on the importance of family, community ties, and being true to yourself. A great story of triumph for those of all ages!