Transformed: The Perils of the Frog Prince by Megan Morrison
Series: Tyme #3
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pub Date: March 29, 2019
Format: hardcover | Source: publisher; purchased
Genres: young adult, fantasy, retelling
Syrah Huanui is a frog. He wasn’t always one–once he was a Prince of the Olive Isles, a champion launchball player, a beloved favorite of all.
Or so he thought! After accidentally (OK, intentionally) letting a love letter from the cloying Deli Gourd get published for everyone to read, his fed-up family kicks him out. And an unfortunate encounter with a Wishing Well leaves him trapped in the body of a frog, with no hope of transforming back.
A year later, Syrah finds himself in Yellow alongside who else: Deli. A sudden, deadly plague has started to run through the country, right before a crucial election for Governor. Syrah isn’t sure he’ll ever become himself again, or if anyone will ever realize that it’s HIM in there, but he is sure he might be able to help stop whatever evil is going on…
The Tyme series gets better and better- Transformed was incredible and y’all need to start reading so I can discuss it with someone!!! To quote myself HAH, they’re “smart, descriptive, and full of fairy-tale magic.” Since Tyme is a companion series, they can be read individually but the experience is richer when read in order (and that way there won’t be spoilers.)
The short version: Megan Morrison’s feel for pace, storytelling, twisty reveals, character arcs, and world-building is second to none. She excels at taking complex, real life themes and weaving them into a fantasy context appropriate for MG/YA readers. It never feels heavy-handed or obvious, and I appreciate that. This book was especially interesting because it centered on forms of government and elections, and Yellow Country is unique in Tyme because it’s a democracy and not a monarchy, and not everyone is happy about that.
I also loved Syrah- like Rapunzel, he takes some getting used to. He’s vain and petty, and not a terribly nice person. When he’s forced to finally grapple with his life choices and self-reflect, he becomes a hero to root for, someone you want to get to know. And oh is his journey frustrating!! He’s transformed into a frog (the same frog from Grounded, which really makes you look at that book in a whole new light!) and can’t talk or communicate with anyone he meets (part animal problems, part curse problems). There were so many close calls where I thought he would finally be noticed!
I won’t go into spoilers of course but his journey goes through many twists and turns over the course of the book and it’s honestly fantastic. His relationship with Deli and with his family, as well as the friends he makes along the way, are in the most story-appropriate spot by the end. He learns that actions have consequences and that you can’t always fix everything. Deli was fascinating, I loved that she was so sporty when most love interests tend toward bookish. And Syrah’s grandmother, the head of their matriarchal country, was a force to be reckoned with. I also loved how much we got to see Rapunzel and Jack!! I want more of their adventures (and their romance!).
I can’t stress enough how much this series reminds me of Harry Potter in its makeup- the easter eggs sprinkled throughout, the air of mystery, the character development, the truly charming world with all its particulars and peculiars- I love how unique each country is and the diversity of characters is noticeable. I love all the magical creatures- different sorts of fairies, and mermaids, and magic wells, just about anything you can imagine. And I also love that there’s always a strong mystery component to Megan’s stories.
Transformed focused a lot on family in various forms and was heavy at times but grief and tragedy are just as much a part of family as love. I just really enjoyed where the story ended up and I’m very sorry we won’t be getting any more books from Scholastic. There are so many more characters to meet and stories to tell ❤ If you love adventure, emotional complexity, and retellings you must read Transformed!
Have I convinced you to give Transformed a try? Have you read any of the Tyme series? What are some of your favorite retellings? Let me know!