The Escape of Princess Madeline

The Escape of Princess Madeline  (Princess Madeline #1)The Escape of Princess Madeline by Kirstin Pulioff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Escape of Princess Madeline was a charming and pleasing read, not just for middle schoolers but for adults as well. A coming-of-age story set in a fairytale land of Soron complete with a king, kingdom and knights, The Escape of Princess Madeline takes us on an unexpected series of events as Princess Madeline, a young girl who dreams of adventure while being constrained by her gender and role in her father’s kingdom, balks at an arranged future and takes her freedom into her own hands.
Ms. Pulioff weaves an enchanting tale with engaging characters that interact in entirely believable ways. Her visual imagery is vivid yet leaves enough to the imagination so as to maintain an integral mystique, a technique she also applies with adept skill to the descriptions of the wizards and magic. She creates enough intrigue in the mystery of the wizards and their exile to support an entire series based solely on these people yet this intrigue only adds a delicious element to the main story.
Madeline is precocious and stubborn, every bit a sixteen year old girl. Her journey is one of profound realizations expertly crafted through a fairytale motif, the message easily discernable to the specified target reader. Daniel’s journey provides a distinct counter to Madeline’s; his quiet, humble and unflagging determination to serve his king and the princess despite the odds transitions smoothly into the gentle budding of romance. These two characters are different but provide a beautiful balance in their personalities and interactions.

A few points to note (but none that truly detracted from the enjoyment of the reading):
• This may just be reader preference but I would have appreciated the presence of page breaks between the prologue and chapters. A nice gap between the end of the chapter and the start of the next provides an opportunity to take a mental pause – a brain-breather. When the next chapter starts on the next line of text the reading can feel rushed.
• There were a couple words misused: “Centered in the chaos, the trio of her favorite knights worked together, defeating the blue marked mean.” (men, not mean); “He had about giving up hope as he approached the last house in the village.”(given, not giving); at the end of Chapter Ten: “Wizard’s surrounded him, enclosing him in a circle of green.” (wizards, plural not the possessive form); Chapter Eleven: “A green light surrounded him, until everything shone with a twinge of green.” (tinge or tint, not twinge)
• There were a few instances of misplaced or unnecessary commas. IE: “One of his knights, proved above reproach, his right to the position.”
• “He double-checked his spot, noting the streambed lined with hoofs, the periodic rocks he had jumped, and the full forest in front of him.” Is the streambed lined with hoofprints? This was a little confusing.
• There appeared to be a formatting error at the end of chapter five: “Braden’s
• There also appeared to be a pretty big gap in text formatting in Chapter 8 between “He pointed to the door behind Daniel and motioned for him to leave.” and “Daniel refused.” – almost an entire blank page between the lines.

On a final note, I would and will recommend this book (and series) to my son’s middle school teachers for the important messages contained in the story and for the delivery of those messages. Well done Mrs. Pulioff. Well done.

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