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Frogkisser!

Review

Frogkisser!

FROGKISSER!, Garth Nix’s latest children’s fantasy, takes elements of your typical cliché fantasy story and twists them into something completely new. Remember the evil stepmother? Well here’s an evil stepstepfather instead. And who needs the power of true love’s kiss when you have magical transformation reversal lip balm?
 
Prince Denholm, Princess Morven’s man candy of the month, has just been turned into a frog by her evil stepstepfather, a sorcerer named Duke Rikard. She enlists the help of her sister, Princess Anya, in finding the frog and turning him back. One thing leads to another, and Princess Anya gets involved in a quest to save her kingdom. Along the way she gets help from a royal dog, a talking orange newt, a half-human otter, some wizards, dwarves and a band of responsible robbers.
 
"This book is a sweet fantasy for all ages. No romance, just fantasy and questing. If you’re looking for a book that defies stereotypes and are willing to look past the writer’s tangents, then this is the book for you."
 
Throughout this book, Garth Nix takes very common elements of fairy tales and changes them to fit his story. He adds background to things everyone thought they already knew. He makes the fantasy fit his logic of how the universe should work.
 
Unfortunately, it was hard for me to really get into the book. It felt like Garth Nix was trying to get to a certain word count. Throughout the book he would occasionally go off on tangents and explain things that most people would already know, could understand with context or was overall too much information. It breaks up the flow of the story, and isn’t necessary for reader comprehension.
 
Another note about the book --- it is recommended for grades 9 and up. As a 9th grader, I believe the writing style should be directed towards younger audiences. I agree more with Garth Nix’s website’s classification of FROGKISSER! as a children’s book. There’s no foul language or sensitive topics covered in this book, so I believe it is suitable for a wider variety of ages.
 
Garth Nix also does a fascinating job of showing character development. It’s obvious that he wanted the characters to grow as people as the book went on. This book and the quest showed key coming-of-age experiences for each character, even minor characters. There’s important decisions being made, decisions that need serious contemplation. Most of the characters in the book are young, and even though the book takes place over the span of a few days, each character ages and wisens significantly. I feel like I almost learned some of those life lessons along with the characters.
 
Nix also writes about the hardships of questing well. In most fantasy books it’s very unrealistic on how easy questing is. There’s lots of walking and you have to carry everything you could possibly need with you or find it along the way. But Nix shows the characters struggling with the sudden change from a peaceful castle life to the rough one of a quest.
 
Overall, this book is a sweet fantasy book for all ages. No romance, just fantasy and questing. If you’re looking for a fantasy book that defies stereotypes and you’re willing to look past the writer’s tangents, then this is the book for you.

Reviewed by Rebecca N., Teen Board Member on March 31, 2017

Frogkisser!
by Garth Nix

  • Publication Date: February 26, 2019
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 1338052098
  • ISBN-13: 9781338052091