* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Release Date: February 28th 2017
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
I loved Garth Nix books when I was a teen so when I saw this on NetGalley I had to request it. I think it’s the first of his I’ve read as an adult, possibly the first I’ve read that isn’t part of a series too.
Princess Anya wants to be a sorcerer, not to go on a quest to defeat her evil stepstepfather and restore law to the land. But when circumstances force her to do just that, she learns a lot more about herself and her land than she ever imagined. Her Quest keeps growing out of her control. At first she only wants to transform the Frog Prince Denholm and find a way to defeat the evil Duke. Along the way she picks up more creatures to transform back and a task to bring justice back to the land.
This was a fun fairytale read with some amazing characters. I liked seeing how Anya grew over the book, from someone who just wanted to stay in her library and read books, to someone who is interested in the larger issues of the land: justice and laws and her obligations as a Princess to her people. She starts off pretty self-centred but learns a lot over her journey.
On her Quest Anya meets a whole host of colourful characters: the Royal Dogs, a thief boy turned into a newt, an otter turned into human-otter and a Good Wizard. The Good Wizard was one of my favourite characters and the best take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves I’ve read. I loved that normal gender roles weren’t really adhered to like you might expect to find in a fairytale. Wizards can be women, knights can be women, thieves can be women. Okay, so I’m just pleased there were lots of female characters, but it makes such a change from those roles being confined to men. The book plays with some traditional fairytale tropes
The book plays with some traditional fairytale tropes. While we have one princess who is your typical fairytale princess – Anya’s sister Morven is happy waiting for a prince to come to her – Anya herself is more interested in studying and doesn’t have time for princes. I loved that there was no romance storyline for her.
This is really different from anything I’ve read from Garth Nix before but still a fun, fantastical read that I really enjoyed.