Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Fantasy, Middle-Grade
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.
As a bookworm myself and someone who likes to have a children's book focus on something other than the girl gets the boy because she's beautiful and they love each, I enjoyed this direction.
The fantasy element that is added in to the story is also very well done. It flows naturally into the story and is not forced at all.
The only thing that did bother me in the story was Miri's age, and that was mostly because I kept imagining her younger than fourteen, I do think a portion of this is because of the cover on the paperback which features a younger looking girl (possibly eight) and I do know the new version of the cover being released features an older girl and I'm interested to see if that would have changed my perception of Miri's age. (The newer version is the cover I feature above)
Quarry Speech is an incredibly inspired idea. Linder seems to be a combination of the idea of quartz and marble, marble for its appearance and quartz for its "recording" ability. The idea that rocks can record memory is something that is debated upon and proven (It is how Phonographs worked if I remember correctly). I feel like Hale took this idea and expounded upon it, giving it a fantastical element that proved to be very original and work with the plot.
This is one my all time favourite books. It is an MG book I recommend to anyone who loves MG fantasy and those who want to share stories with younger friends, siblings or children with nice messages in there, yet a fun sense of adventure.