Get ready for an epic adventure reminicent of The Princess Bride and Catherine Murdock's Wisdom's Kiss (a book I especially loved). Frogkisser, by Garth Nix, was fun and unique and impossible to put down.
The Kingdom of Trallonia has been under the stewartship of Duke Rikard for the past 10 years, and things have been getting progressively worse. Not only does the Duke, who just happens to be an evil wizard, have the bad habit of transforming all who irritate him into animals (take the poor assistant cook who accidently burned breakfast), but he also has his eye on the crown. I don't have to tell you that the evil duke becoming king would be a very bad thing. A very bad thing indeed!
Fortunately, Princess Morven will come of age in only a few weeks and be crowned queen. Unfortunately the princess is a complete airhead, more concerned to flirt with her latest princely crush (which changes by the hour) than learning what it takes to properly run a kingdom. Also unfortunately, the Duke is cooking up something truly sinister to make sure Morven never makes it to her next birthday. Or, at least, makes sure she is not around when it comes time to claim the throne.
Good thing for Morven's younger sister, Princess Anya, who is smart, resourceful, and has the rare ability to keep her head when things get crazy.
And they're about to get crazy.
When it is revealed that the Evil Duke plans to marry Morven off to a transformed magpie (that is, the bird has been temporarily changed into a human) and, afterward, do who knows what to the newlyweds, Anya knows it is up to her to do something.
Fleeing the kingdom before she, herself, is about to be shipped to a boarding school halfway around the world (if she survives the perilous journey), Anya begins a quest that she's sure will save her kingdom. Her mission: To find a way to transform Morven's real true, Prince Denholm, love back into a human. That way, her sister can marry the true prince, rather than the false one cooked up by their stepfather, and take her rightful place as Queen of Trallonia.
But as with all epic quests, nothing turns out as planned.
Frogkisser is awesome! There are talking animals (transformed and actual), magic (good and bad), and a kick-butt heroine. Wrap that all up in an adventure, and you've got a winner!
Definitely recommended! --AJB