Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Middle Grade, High Fantasy
Source: Allen & Unwin
Talking dogs. Mischievous wizards. An evil stepstepfather. Loads and loads of toads. Such is the life of a Frogkisser.Review by Nara
Princess Anya needs to see a wizard about a frog. It's not her frog, it's her sister's. And it's not a frog, it's actually a prince. A prince who was once in love with Anya's sister, but has now been turned into a frog by their evil stepstepfather. And Anya has made a 'sister promise' that she will find a way to return Prince Denholm to human form...
So begins an exciting, hilarious, irreverent quest through the Kingdom of Trallonia and out the other side, in a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs.
Frogkisser was an adorable read that is likely better suited to younger readers. It had quite a fun plot, but at the same time it was relatively simplistic and didn't feel like there was a deeper message to be understood. It turned a lot of tropes around with a humorously dismissive spin, and as stated in the blurb "irreverent" is quite a nice adjective to describe the novel.
I haven't read Garth Nix's other Middle Grade novel, but Frogkisser is quite different from his other novels that I've read (Sabriel, Clariel). The tone is much more casual and funny, and the book focuses on Anya's quest to defeat her evil stepfather. Along for the journey are several great characters including Ardent, a talking Royal Dog (probably my favourite character), a human turned into a newt, an otter turned into some weird human/otter fusion, wizards, witches etc etc. There are a lot of characters who appear, but it doesn't necessarily get confusing because you don't really need remember them as they appear quite briefly and then Anya goes on in her quest.
I must admit, overall, the book was a bit too simplistic for my liking. I think this is a reflection of who the target audience is rather than that the book is poorly written. There are some MG novels that are for everyone and there are others that are for MG level readers, and I'd say that Frogkisser falls in the latter category. Not to say that it was a bad read, but I personally didn't enjoy it to the level that I might have had I read it when I was younger.
I would recommend it if you're looking for a quick and fun read.
World Building: 3/5