Frogkisser! by Garth Nix is a charming and unexpected adventure story which takes a traditional fairytale and turns it into a fantastic adventure. Nix uses and subverts many elements of fairytales and fantasy stories to create
this unique and magical story. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.
Princess Anya might be a princess but she's not the 'getting rescued' sort. Though she'd rather hide out in the palace library learning about magic, she is always having to solve problems for those who live in the palace, especially her older sister - and future queen - Morven.
In Anya's world magic has a price, whether it is small or big. A simple spell will cause the caster to sneeze, but if a person works a lot of magic - such as their stepstepfather (husband to their stepmother), they will lose all human feeling and become cold and heartless. While intrigued by magic, Anya is wary of losing the love of those she cares about, especially that of the royal dogs.
When their wicked stepstepfather turns Morven's beloved prince into a frog it is Anya who must embark on a quest to return him to his human state, and hopefully, figure out how to stop their stepstepfather from taking the throne. Though she sets off with only a list of ingredients to gather, and Ardent the royal dog as her companion, as Anya goes along, her quest becomes more and more complex.
Frogkisser! is full of amazing characters. I'd particularly like to note the number of varying and complex female characters. It was really refreshing. Some of my favourites include The Good Wizard, Tanitha the matriarch of the royal dogs and Anya.
Anya is a perfectly flawed character, she gets hungry and tired and cranky and she doesn't want to have to save the world. She's a young girl with a large amount of responsibility but also rather a lot of privileges. Her growth throughout the story was really well developed. I thought this was great because sometimes in stories with so many different elements of action the character development can get a little lost but Nix really managed to pull all these elements together.
Overall, Froggkisser! is funny, unexpected and endearing. It's an utterly delightful story I would recommend to anyone.