This one snuck onto my list when I was about to begin reading something entirely different. It popped up in my GoodReads list as an “also read”, and the cover and title intrigued me enough I had to check it out. It looked fun, and I enjoyed the sample so grabbed myself a copy and got stuck into reading it.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix is a fun tale full of re-imagined versions of your typical fairy-tale happenings such as princesses stuck with evil step-parents (or in this case, step-step-parents), princes turned to frogs, talking dogs, and even an appearance by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves… though not in the way you might expect.
As always, the blurb before we get too much further:
Talking dogs. Mischievous wizards. An evil step-stepfather. Loads and loads of toads. 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 step-stepfather. 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.
The action in this humorous tale kicks off quite early, and the pace ticks along nicely for the rest of the story. I thought the plot was well realized with plenty of depth to make the world feel immersive. It sucked me right in and I could see Mr Nix’s world unfolding clearly in my mind.
Princess Anya’s (no, not that one) life is in immediate danger thanks to evil machinations of her step-step-father who wants to rule the kingdom through wicked sorcery. Her sister and heir to the throne is easily distracted by the songs of a handsome prince, but Anya is made of stronger stuff.
The evil sorcerer, her step-step-father plans to kill her, so Anya is forced to flee the home she knows and loves with only a stalwart talking dog, Ardent, and a frog (transformed prince) for company. This begins her quest where she’ll stumble upon a giant, a good wizard, and various other fairy-tale creatures along with an ever increasing number of quests all in order to save the her sister and the citizens of the land.
Plenty of good character growth along the way, and full of twists and turns that kept me engrossed to the end. As I read I found myself picturing this as a book that could be easily adapted as a movie and was rather pleased to find out it’s going to be. Picked up by Fox to be a live action + CG animated movie, one I’ll be happy to see once it hits the cinemas. It has the hallmarks of being an instant classic.
A frogging good fairy-tale, sure to be a classic. Check out the sample on Amazon.