Book Review - Frogkisser by Garth Nix
Today, I am reviewing something a little different. This past year, I had the pleasure of shadowing for the UKLA book awards. This award is for children’s books, and I focused on the age 12-16 book since that is the age I am teaching. I received the books from the shortlist from my university tutor to help with the voting. I didn’t have a chance to read all of the books, but Frogkisser by Garth Nix is the one I did manage to get through. Princess Anya is a bookworm who is all of sudden given the massive task of saving the kingdom. As she sets off with her (talking) dog companion, she carries the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders while dealing with humorous events. This novel is a quest with a stress on the fact that it won’t be easy – an important lesson for young adults. Every aspect of the novel is laced with excitement and adventure. The novel touches on family issues in an amusing way. The ending is a lovely wrap-up (which is not the case for so many books I’ve read lately). I think it is fantastic for young readers and a good break from regular fiction and fantasy.
The description on the cover of the novel is “a magical romp of a fairytale,” which is quite accurate. Nix has a clever way of subverting fairytale tropes (the witches are in costumes and the frogs are funny) in ways to make readers laugh. Even Princess Anya will have nothing to do with what a typical princess should be. The novel manages to set some groundwork for interesting political discussion about those who lead us and those who oppose. Although it is not particularly thoughtful, the themes of identity, destiny, and accepting fate carry readers through.
The one word I kept thinking when I was reading was “whimsical.” Nix writes with a whimsical tone throughout. It is nuanced, positive, light, and easy to read. There is a constant reminder about the character’s flaws without dwelling on them which served to make them more familiar to the readers. Although some moments were anti-climactic, I really enjoyed reading this book. There wasn’t much about it that I didn’t like. I would definitely suggest it for anyone who wants to laugh and pass it to any young adults in your life. I rate this book a 4/5 for its humour, readability, and clever subversion.