Title: Frog Music
Author: Emma Donoghue
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Voice Actor: Kristine Hvam
Finished Reading: June 2, 2014
About: “Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.
The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice–if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.”
I picked up this book for a couple reasons. The first being that it was relatively new. The second being that it was staring at me from across the library. The third being that the voice actor is the same as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy. Hvam did an excellent job, per usual. Huge round of applause for her.
I had a hard time getting into this book. I’m not sure if it was the content, the random songs, or the … I’m not sure. It’s hard to explain. Honestly, as I’m sitting and writing this review it has been 5 months since I’ve read this book. I didn’t take very good notes and clearly don’t remember all that much, so this review is going to be pretty short. I’ll just jot down the random things I do remember. I apologize in advance.
Jenny was the most interesting character and we didn’t even really get to meet her alive for all that long. She was definitely the most complex and multi-dimensional character.
Blanche mostly annoyed me. Her whole character. I think Donoghue was trying to make Blanche a broken character that comes into her own, but she mostly just pissed me off. The secondary characters were far more interesting.
I definitely kept guessing at who shot Jenny, so that was good that it wasn’t so obvious and predictable.
The singing was a nice touch, but kind of a gimmick. I think if I read a physical copy, I would have skipped those parts.
There was a point where I just didn’t care anymore and wanted to stop reading, but I had reached the point where I should just keep going. (I needed to hit my 50-book goal.)
Told you it was going to be short…
My rating and why: I gave this book three stars. I had a hard time with what star I should rate this. I enjoy that Donoghue is not afraid to shy away from tough topics: child abuse, prostitution, sexual assault, murder, etc. I love the voice actor for the audio. Defitely recommend you read as an audio book. She actually sings the songs and her variety of accents is insane! While I’m sure Blanche is supposed to be the main, strong heroine, I found Jenny (a girl who is murdered in the first chapter) to be way stronger and more empowering.
What do you think about Donoghue as a writer? Have you read/listened to any of her other books? Do you feel songs and poems inserted into books come off as gimmicky or that they all have a special purpose? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come Monday!
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!