This is a spoiler free review of “Frogkisser!” by Garth Nix.
Synopsis in a Sentence
Princess and the Frog meets Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Prydian, and The Phantom Tollbooth in this high fantasy retelling featuring a strong princess and her “animal” companions as they face a group of evil sorcerers.
minor transphobia, heteronormative narrative, death, violence, death of parent(s), war, poverty, and more.
The last thing she needs is a prince. The first thing she needs is some magic.
Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.
Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land—and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.
-Synopsis from Goodreads
My Rating: 4.5/5 or 8.14/10
The characters in this story are fun and easy to follow. Anya grows significantly on her journey, although she is not perfect. The wide cast of characters provides every reader with one to relate to or enjoy, even if Anya is the star of the show.
Unfortunately, there is not any obvious LGBTQIA+ nor disability representation.
I really enjoyed this story, the good wizard and the dwarves are probably my favorite characters. I came to this book for frogs. Additionally, I got what I felt like I was missing from Tolkien’s work in this story.
I will definitely save this book for my child, because it has some good character development for a child to read about. I just wish there were queer and/or disabled characters.
This book reads like a high fantasy fairytale with atmospheric descriptions of the setting. The characters are on a journey, so naturally, a lot of the book takes place outside or in various locations.
Nix does a good job of immersing the reader in the story using atmosphere, so if you are looking for a fantasy book with some nice scenery (but not too much), then give this one a go.
This book reminded me of the scenery in “Lord of the Rings” (LotR). I actually disliked LotR a lot. This book is what I wanted from LotR, which is such a delight for me.
With skill and ease, Nix has written a very good book. It is adventurous, emotional, dark yet hopeful, whimsical, magical, and great for any age. There is little to complain about in terms of the writing of this book; it’s solid.
This is my first Garth Nix book, and it’s so well written that I will be seeking out his other books in the near future.
Any recommendations for other Garth Nix books?
Similar to LotR, this book is about a long journey. There is a lot of traveling with stops along the way and a big action packed ending that flies by all too quickly. But, it’s excellently executed. Its fun and adventurous with the right pacing for the genre.
The slow spots and action scenes are well timed with easy transitions between them. The moments that deserved more time got them, and the moments we didn’t need to see were glossed over or skipped entirely.
At no point while listening to this audiobook did I feel like the plot was dragging or going too fast. Everything happened when it needed to, and it happened at the pace it needed to.
The synopsis of this book is a tad misleading, but nothing to ruin the whole experience. Despite the promise of humor, this book is not very funny. This book is more whimsical and quirky than funny, depending on how the reader takes it.
The pacing and characters keep the reader intrigued with all of the quirky elements and unexpected twists. Additionally, all of the references to fairytales and legends are very interesting. The reader is constantly left wondering what reference will be integrated into the story next.
For a children’s fantasy that reads similarly to “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lord of the Rings”, this book is as logical as it can be.
There are not many points that the reader is drawn out of the story. If a reader absolutely cannot suspend disbelief for the story due to preference or expectations, then this book may not be logical enough for said individual. But, with the right expectations, readers can sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s a children’s book for crying out loud!
If you like whimsical and even slightly absurd stories, definitely give this book a try. It’s fun, quirky, lighthearted, and easy to read. Any age can enjoy this story. This book would be especially good as a family audiobook for the car.
I really enjoyed this book, even though I’m an adult. It is fun and just the right balance of light and dark themes. I will definitely be getting the audiobook to listen to with my daughter when she’s older. I just wish the story were more inclusive.