Author: Garth Nix
Date Read: 03/09/2017 – 19/09/2017
This book started off rather well. There were a few moments where I honestly laughed out loud. However, by the end of it, the style had worn a bit thin and I ended up having to force myself thruogh to the end. I think I would have loved this a lot more if I had read it as a child, and it’s just a shame that it’s not one of those children’s books that transcends its target age group.
When Princess Anya makes a ‘sister promise’ to her sister Morven to ensure that Morven’s boyfriend, Prince Denholm, is turned back from a frog to a human, she has no idea that it will be the start of Quest to bring peace back to her kingdom and defeat her disloyal stepstepfather. Along the road, she meets other people who have been transformed by Duke Rikard, along with a Good Wizard, Snow White (not the Snow White you think, though), a band of “good” robbers and a host of other vivid characters that help her to recognise the sheltered upbringing she has had.
The writing style in this book emulates older fairytale-type stories and writers. It had a very quaint aspect to it. This was clearly what Nix was going for and I am sure some people will love it, but it didn’t really work for me, especially as I felt it clashed with some of the more modern aspects of the story, like the fact that Anya needed to find the ingredients for a lip balm. I suspect that the writing style also contributed a lot to me not feeling much of a connection with any of the characters.
The quest nature of the story didn’t really do much for me either; it felt a bit “they went here, got this and then went on to the next thing.”
Still, there were some things I liked. There were several occasions where Nix took a common fantasy trope and then turned it on its head. The story was often quite self-aware about that, and I enjoyed the way he played with those. The story did pick up in the last quarter, and the climax was quite entertaining, and the resolution was satisfactory. It was just that the journey there wasn’t quite my cup of tea.