Frogkisser! – Garth Nix
22nd February 2017, Allen&Unwin
336 pages, 5/5 stars
I want to scream from the rooftops about this book. I need EVERYONE to buy a copy and devour it as many times as possible so that I can discuss it with everyone I meet. It is absolutely adorable, funny, and probably MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2017. (Yes, I’m calling it this early.)
Princess Anya is in a pickle. Her sister’s prince has been turned into a frog by their step-stepfather. But Morven doesn’t want to fix her own messes. So Anya steps up, and takes on a quest to find the ingredients for a magic lip-balm which will restore the prince to his human form. Together with Ardent, one of the talking palace dogs, Anya’s hijinks begin.
Frogkisser is a truly marvellous, rollicking, twisted fairytale with giggles galore. Princess Anya is plucky and funny, and treats her adventures with a perfect level of scepticism – this princess isn’t a damsel in distress. Plus, there is no romance plot which is incredibly refreshing.
There are some fantastically funny cameos from traditional fairytale characters, though they’re not always quite what you expect! See the Association of Responsible Robbers (think Robin Hood) who challenge Anya to examine her privilege; the Good Wizard and her mentor (who is an amazing mix of multiple characters in fantastic trop-inverting humour; which I’m obviously not mentioning here because it was a marvellous surprise!); and the Seven Dwarves also make an appearance.
I especially loved Garth’s portrayal of the media through the characterisation of Gerald the Herald – you’ll have to read it, because I don’t want to give too much away! But it truly showed how the media can become a game of Telephone, with a message becoming distorted beyond belief. It also depicted the way in which media can invade the privacy of public figures to an almost indecent extent.
Another wonderful moment for me was when the characters travelled by magic carpet. It isn’t at all what you expect – have you ever wondered why no one ever falls off a carpet if it is travelling at speed? Garth Nix fixes that problem in a very unique way!
I truly cannot express my love for this book enough! It is so clever, and there were some absolutely incredible moments. I dearly hope that Garth Nix continues the stories of these characters, but it is also very complete as it is.
It has also been optioned as an animated musical film by the same people who did Ice Age, which is ridiculously exciting! 😀
A perfect modern-day fairytale, which, while YA, would also be appropriate for mature middle-grade readers. Buy your copy (signed!) from Booktopia here. Or listen to Garth talk about the book in the Booktopia podcast here – it is highly entertaining and will convince you that this book is for everyone, if I haven’t already.
What is your favourite retelling? Do you prefer mash-ups or singular retellings?
AN EVIL STEPSTEPFATHER
AN ABUNDANCE OF AMPHIBIANS
SUCH IS THE LIFE OF A FROGKISSER!
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.