“After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!
Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.
As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.” (from Goodreads)
I had such mixed feelings about this last book, I’m not quite sure how to review it. 😉 So this will end up on a positive note, I’ll start by listing the things I disliked.
Things I Disliked
1. It’s generally a darker book than the rest of the series between some of the disgusting things the Lesser Alvans do, pirates/bandits/raiders galore, and the horribly sad mystery.
2. Mount Eskel was in danger…again. I unfortunately started this book off a little bored with the whole idea because I really love the Mount Eskel setting and was ready for Miri to go home. The threat of war, something weird about the royal family, and more bandits just felt repetitive.
3. The feminism was taken to a whole new level. In the first book when it’s the educated academy girls helping their village learn better trading practices (Proverbs 31!) and even in the second one when they speak out in government, I didn’t mind it as much as in this one. Some of the plot devices (the mystery even) seemed contrived just to make sure it was the girls doing everything. By the end of the book, three of our girls are in government, and the men are…? Shown as cruel, foolish, weak, or stepped down because it was a good idea. (And why is Tutor Olana teaching prince academy?) There were even a few bits with Peder that I didn’t like–him telling Miri that she’s a fighter and he’s not or him trying to dress up as a girl so he can protect them in a certain circumstance (since this is a bit of a “No Boys Allowed” book). Do not do this to my brave Mount Eskel boy.
Things I Liked
1. The bond between the sisters! They were so loyal to each other and worked together as a great team. 😀
2. “Playing” bandits. That was great! Resourceful, Miri.
3. Frid’s story. XD
4. The mystery (*sobs*) and the way it was slowly revealed. SPOILER ALERT! A linder house that holds memories? Coolness.
5. Astrid’s princess impersonation.
6. Felissa was so sweet to everyone all the way through! I just love the role she plays later.
7. Sus. *giggles*
8. Peder and Miri. ❤ (Even if it was a bit much kissing for two people who aren’t even betrothed yet.) They are so sweet and loyal, and I love the lengths he went to to rescue her. SPOILER ALERT! And it was so sweet that her hawk came up again.
9. Mount Eskel! Oh, that last chapter was so darling!!! Everything as it should be. 😀
Altogether, while I did enjoy this book and it did a good job of tying up loose ends, it wasn’t as good as the first two. I probably won’t be re-reading it any time soon.