Review Blog

Apr 03 2017

Frogkisser by Garth Nix

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293512
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Humour. What a delight to pick up another fantasy by Garth Nix. He is one of my favourite authors and I was not disappointed in this hilarious, thought provoking and stirring fantasy adventure. Princess Anya is on a quest to rescue a frog, who is not a frog but a prince who has been turned into one by Anya's evil stepstepfather because he was in love with Anya's sister, Morven. She is rather reluctant to move from the library where she is comfortably ensconced, learning some magic tricks, but she has made a 'sister promise' and knows that she will have to do something about Prince Denholm. Accompanied by Ardent, one of the Royal Dogs, she travels through the Kingdom of Trallonia, trying to get the ingredients she needs to make a lip balm to use when kissing the frog.
The humour is so infectious. I laughed out loud every time Gerald the Herald (one of many) appeared and the news that he gave about Anya was hilarious. Even the nickname Frogkisser will make the reader chuckle as Anya valiantly goes on her quest. She meets many strange creatures on the way, like the thief turned into a newt and an otter turned into a strange being, as well as a princess turned wizard, and many many frogs. I loved the Royal Dogs as will any person who is a dog lover.
Underlying the fun of Anya's quest, is her gradual understanding of responsibility. She is a princess, with many privileges, but she begins to realise that with privilege comes an obligation to do the right thing for her people. Although I waited for a prince to come along for Anya, Nix didn't fall into the trap of having her kiss a frog and find her true love – instead he concentrates on her personal growth and quest. This is very refreshing.
There are some unexpected twists and turns all making for a very enjoyable tale. In his acknowledgements at the end Nix mentions Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander among others as influences on his work, and readers who have enjoyed works by these authors are sure to enjoy Frogkisser as well. And if they are not familiar with those authors then readers will be in for a treat if they try books written by them.
Pat Pledger

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