Author: Garth Nix
Format: E-ARC via Netgalley
Description from Goodreads:
Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.
Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.
With Frogkisser!, acclaimed bestselling author Garth Nix has conjured a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs. It’s 50% fairy tale, 50% fantasy, and 100% pure enjoyment from start to finish.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley for the purpose of review. This has not influenced my views as expressed in this review.
I’ve been a fan of Garth Nix’s work for years, so I jumped at the chance to request Frogkisser when I saw it was on Netgalley, and I was over the moon when my request was accepted. Needless to say, my expectations for this book were quite high, and I was not disappointed. This was such a fun read! Frogkisser blends fantasy adventure with fairytale elements. Retellings are very fashionable at the moment, but Frogkisser distinguishes itself with its unique story and style.
Throughout the book well-known fairytale elements are borrowed with their own twists, giving the story a nostalgic feel. The result is an engaging story, which is full of surprises. Frogkisser also happens to be very clever, especially the writing, which will feel very familiar to those who have read Garth Nix’s other works.
The world is full of interesting characters and magical elements. The main character is Anya, the younger of two princesses. The story kicks off when the prince that Anya’s elder sister is in love with is turned into a frog, and Anya promises to find him and turn him back. Obviously things get complicated and Anya ends up on a Quest for magical ingredients, accompanied with Ardent, one of the (talking) royal dogs. On the way Anya. learns a lot, grows as a person and meets many other fun and interesting characters, including a thief turned into a newt, a good wizard and some dwarfs.
This book is written for younger readers, and refreshingly, there is no romance plot for the main character. Something I’m always happy to see, as forced romance plots can get annoying. Additionally, this book avoids the problematic, everyone is white in this fantasy world trope, which is unfortunately common in the genre. In particular there are a couple of awesome, female characters, who are described as having dark/brown skin. That’s another thing, there are plenty of different strong, capable female characters in this book, the whole thing is just delightful.
Clearly I really enjoyed this book, it was a fun, engaging story, with a young main character who learns many things over the course of her quest. Those lessons and morals only further the fairytale feeling of this book. While this book is more middle grade/younger YA, in its style, it’s something that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. To be quite honest, I’m hoping that Garth Nix will write other books set in this world, as I had such a good time with this book and I feel like there are many stories which could be told. This was, of course a 5 star read for me and I highly recommend it. This definitely won’t be my only time reading it, that’s for sure!
If your interested in picking up a copy, I’ve left some links below (not affiliate links, I just enjoyed this book so much).