If I had to describe this book in one word I would have to choose ‘Charming’, and it really is. A lot of detail has gone into describing the pixie way of life, they drink honey from acorns, wear tiny tunics and waistcoats and the whole adventure includes a host of talkative birds and bunnies. This is a book that really remembered that reading is all about having fun, which I liked.
I liked most of the characters too (a few fell flat), Aluna, our protagonist’s sister, gets a special mention from me, because her snobbery was a fun trait, but when her sister does go missing she makes a very ill fated-attempt to find her, it was very funny and, frankly, my favourite scene in the whole book. Then we have Buttercup, our main pixie, she had a good balance of good and bad traits, brave and adventurous, but too brash and naïve. Interestingly the big bad thing happens in the book because she ignored things she shouldn’t have, which I appreciate, the books that have the stone’s to point head long at the protagonist and go ‘that was your fault, 100% no question,’ are in a minority.
Escaping the Prince also side stepped a trap most middle grade fiction falls into, all the bit players were not either halo-wearing good, or disgustingly evil. I’ll give an example, on leaving her town Buttercup is captured by a bird and is taken back to their nest, however when they find out she can speak they lose their appetite for her, they discuss keeping her to tidy up the nest, but in the end decide to fly her to the ground in exchange for some berries. It keeps you on your toes with each new encounter, and made the world we were plunged into feel really fleshed out and real.
So why am I not jumping up and down insisting that you read it, force all your children to read it and hand out copies on street corners till the whole world has read it? Well, while the book does some things really well it does some other things really badly.
The quality of editing for a start, I saw a comma and full stop next to each other on more than one occasion, a few sentences were worded badly so I had to go back and read them twice just to double check I was following properly and there’s a strange habit of sometimes titling a chapter by whose perspective we’re viewing and sometimes not, which was rather distracting.
Jumping off from that the perspective trips up quite a lot as well. Another example here; we might start a chapter from Buttercups perspective, go and have a scene with the prince and his parents, Buttercup will leave and we’ll switch, rather jarringly and with no indication that we’re doing so, to the prince’s perspective as he watches Buttercup leave. I found it rather strange.
The ending let the rest of the book down rather badly too, without wishing to spoil, the morals and ideas it’s been pushing up to that point get forgotten, which was a disappointment, taking the ideas from ‘exceptional’ to ‘standard operating procedure’ – if you catch my drift?
You see on the one hand I really liked reading this book, it’s fun, short and snappy and good at what it does (editing issues aside), but I don’t know whether to recommend it, as this is the first book in a series and the ending didn’t make the whole thing seem like it was going anywhere fun. I guess my best advice would be to read the book and stop when they bring life back to their town – and pretend that is the ending.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.