Then word comes from the lowlands: the king's priests have divined that the prince's bride-to-be--the next princess--will come from Mount Eskel. The prince himself will travel to the village to choose his bride, but first all eligible girls must attend a makeshift academy to prepare for royal lowlander life.
At the school, Miri finds herself confronting both bitter competition among the girls and her own conflicted desires to be chosen. Yet when danger comes to the academy, it is Miri, named for a tiny mountain flower, who must find a way to save her classmates-- and the chance for the future that each of them is eager to secure as her own.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was really good. At first, looking at the title, I thought that it would be about all these girls just being shaped up and that the book would be all girly :-/ My first thought was proven wrong, and I couldn't be more happy about that ^.^ This was the first book of Shannon Hale's that I read.
About the characters
The characters were well shaped- especially Miri. They had their own personalities, and weren't copies of each other (which sometimes happens). The more minor characters, such as Peder, Miri's father, and Marda, all had personalities as well.
The names were a bit odd, and I tripped over them at the beginning, but I got used to them.
About the Plot
The plot progressed well, and smoothly which was really nice. The details that were given weren't given in a harsh or rough manner. Basically the prince of their land was told that he had to choose a bride from Mount Eskel. All the girls from the ages of fourteen to seventeen were sent to an academy (still on the mountain) to learn royal manners. They learned a lot, and they also found ways to use what they learned in everyday life (such as they had been trading linder blocks for much less than they should have, even through Mount Eskel is the only place with linder and linder blocks are highly prized). Eventually though, bandits come in order to kidnap whichever girl was supposed to be the prince's bride. The snows block them in, and give the girls time to plan something. Everything snowballs from there.
The Writing Style
The book was written really well, and it didn't seem rough of harsh or anything. I especially liked how they transitioned everything to make the plot link together. I suppose I should have expected this from the fact that this is a Newbery Honor book, though. The poems at the beginning of each chapter were nice as well.
Although this is slightly out of context, I also really liked the font type in this book. It was really pleasant :P
The ending made a lot of sense and was a happily ever after ending, so I really liked it. It would work well as a stand-alone novel, but it was left so that a sequel could be written if people wanted (and obviously a sequel did come out (Palace of Stone)
I can't wait to read it ^.^
It has a different cover type from the first one, so a new cover was made for the first one...