I did not expect to like this book. I mean, I'm MISTER K, and this is all about princesses, right? I should have known better! A friend of mine (Queen of the Q's), says this is her middle-school daughter's favorite book, and I can see why. Although there are some parts of the book that will definitely appeal more to girls than boys, it's a book that anyone can enjoy.
Miri, the main character, is small for her 14 years, and is the only person not allowed to help in the village quarry high up on Mt. Eskel. Set long ago in the fictional land of Danland, the story follows young Miri as she struggles to prove to herself and others that she's just as good as anyone else, even in the contest to become her country's new princess. That's right, the main plot of the book centers around 20 girls from Mt. Eskel who are chosen to spend a year training to become princess. At the end of that year, the prince will choose one of them, and take her away to his palace. The only catch is that their tutor, Olana, is mean and harsh, and the training will not be easy. Add to that the dangerous winter mountain weather, nasty bandits, and dark closets with rats, and this is not your typical princess tale. It's no Cinderella!
This is an ultimate Girl Power book. Miri's adventure reminds us that we are each already a princess (at least the girls, not me.) Through her intelligence and courage, Miri proves her worth to herself and the rest of the village, and the ending is spectacular, a real feel-good story without being too cute or sweet. Girls, read this book. Guys, don't be afraid of a little princess.