Review: Box of Frogs by Helen Harper

Reviewed by Elise

I stumbled across Helen Harper’s novels entirely by accident one day, and from the first page I was hooked. The stories are quirky, upbeat and riveting. She quickly became a ‘one click’ author for me and I get a little bit fan girly when I write about her books. When Box of Frogs came up on my TBR it was a no brainer.

In Box of Frogs we meet No Name. I say this because our quippy and random heroine wakes up on a golf course next to a headless corpse and with no memory of who she is. When she saves her own life using magic powers, she is convinced she is a super hero and wanders around downtown Manchester in a leotard and mask, looking out for people to save. Her actions bring her to seemingly innocuous places and troubles. As the story progresses, we find that the events of the novel are not as random as they appear and we slowly learn more about Madrone.

It took me a while to get into the story. I found it initially difficult to engage with Madrone and her struggle, and I found myself feeling very confused. It felt like I walked in at half time. I was so lost. In a sense this is exactly what happened.  My disconnection and confusion mirrored that of Madrone. It was a clever trick of the author and once I recognized my discomfort for what it was, I was able to carry on and finish the book. Carry on through the confusion and you will not regret it.

As Madrone meets more people from her world a picture of her previous life begins to form. Much to Madrone’s disappointment she is no superhero. In fact, she is a well know dealer of ‘pixie dust’ and feared by most. Madrone meets Morgan, a good looking bartender who hates her on sight. Madrone and Morgan have history and despite his loathing he does help her. He is in fact one of the good guys.

The world of the Fractured Faery series is revealed incrementally. World building is slow and thorough and at times this does slow the pace of the text. As with all Helen Harper books this is well balanced through hilarious and pithy encounters with bad guys and romantic tension. Whoo the tension. Madrone and Morgan have some fireworks but there is a rather large obstacle in the way of realizing that tension. Really large.

Helen Harper’s works are quintessentially British. They just have that indefinable feeling to them that marks them as coming from the motherland. I listened to the Audiobook version so listening to a Manchester accent tell the story helped with this impression. I do like hearing ‘Maaahhhhhdrrronnaaaahhhh’ over and over again as various characters express their exasperation with our lead.

Put this on your TBR and while you are at it, put every other Helen Harper book on it too. This was a great first in the series and does have a cliffhanger ending. There’s no cliffhanger in this review – I immediately purchased the second book.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Bog of Frogs
by Helen Harper
Release Date: July 5, 2018

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