We picked this one up because we knew it featured music as a main element of the plot. It's a rich read for girls sparking rebellion, and for anyone who knows about making music with your voice.
On the island of Blightsend, little girls who turnaway in infancy are sent to a suffocating cloister to learn with Mother Nine how to turn the notes of the stone flutes and their silent "shimmer" into actual gold. When they turn 12, they're presented to the various masters and chosen by one to work for him.
Delphernia Undersea cannot create shimmer. She prefers to sing -- and one night she sings not just shimmer, but the soul of a golden bird into existence. She sets it free, and only after realizes someone -- a boy -- has seen her do it. It's forbidden to sing, as Mother Nine believes the sea will swallow Delphernia up if she does.
Mother Nine is a horrific character, beating and lashing and verbally pulling down Delphernia every chance she gets.
On the day Delphernia's presented to the Masters, a Master like no other appears. A girl, pretending to be a Master. The girl is hauled away, exposed, and Delphernia appears to have been chosen by no Master. But then a boy -- the boy -- the one who saw her sing the gold bird soul into existence, appears and chooses her.
And her life changes forever. Suddenly, she's Outside the cloister with a Master who doesn't care about "convention." He doesn't have to. He's the Prince of Blightsend, and he wants Delphernia for her secret singing ability only he knows she possesses.
But what are his intentions? How does he plan on using it -- and Delphernia?
This was a great rebellious read.