Gobblefunked favourite Garth Nix is back, this time with a story that’s classed as 50% fairytale, 50% fantasy, and 100% pure enjoyment from start to finish. Let’s see what Ruth McInerney makes of it.
The cover of Frogkisser describes it as ‘A Magical Romp of a Fairytale’ and romp is definitely the right word to choose! There seems no rest for our heroine Princess Anya and the ragtag bunch of companions as she struggles to complete her Quest.
Anya and her older sister Morven are princesses in serious danger of being transformed into toads, or worse – weasels, by their evil sorcerer step-stepfather Duke Ricard. Ricard wants their kingdom all to himself and day-by-day his powers of evil transformation are growing. This becomes obvious when he transforms Morven’s latest suitor, Prince Denholm, into a toad and sends him into the castle moat!
Morven might be the heir to the throne but her head is more full of air than anything useful, so it is her clever and resourceful sister Anya who must go in search of the royal toad. Before she can complete this mission however Anya becomes aware of Duke Ricard’s newest nefarious plan to get rid of her – he plans to send her to a boarding school hundreds and hundreds of miles away, that is if she survives the journey at all! With the help of her loyal and magical royal dogs Anya realises that the time has come to deal with Duke Ricard once and for all. So the Quest to change a toad back into a prince becomes a Quest to change a toad back into a prince, a newt back into a thief, a weasel back into an otter and save a kingdom from an evil cackling sorcerer.
Anya meets a whole array of characters on her journey including a semi-retired Druid, the chairperson of the Association of Responsible Robbers, a Good Wizard, seven dwarves and lots of frogs. Really, an alarming amount of frogs. The more dangerous her Quest becomes the more Anya realises that getting rid of Duke Ricard might be harder than she thought and that saving just her kingdom might not be the most important part of her Quest.
Frogkisser is a madcap, chaotic and entertaining adventure that manages to combine common-sense with nonsense in a magical way! Suitable for readers aged 8+ who enjoy quests, ragtag gangs who manage to mess up in lots of ways and slightly reluctant heroes!
Kids Book Crew verdict
If you like this book you might also like: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Will appeal to readers who enjoy: Talking animals, daring quests and making careful plans to throw out the window when the time comes!