Monday, January 31, 2011

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

(Tiger Saga book #1)
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 448 (hardcover or Kindle)
Published: re-published January 11th, 2011 by Splinter
Recommended for: anyone looking for an incredibly fun YA read

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.
Would you risk it all to change your destiny?
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.
But that's exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger's Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

My Take:

I was thrilled to see Tiger's Curse on a bookshelf display at the front of a store (Walmart, no less), traditionally published and with a beautiful cover rendition.  I read the Kindle edition of this book a few months ago, and was taken by surprise by how much I enjoyed it.  I'm so glad that the Tiger Saga will be getting the hype and readers it deserves.  It has great market appeal to YA readers especially and is one of the most fun books I've read in a long time. 

Our protagonist Kelsey Hayes is a recent high-school graduate on the hunt for a job, any job.  She signs on to take care of Dhiren, a white tiger who lives a decent but dull life performing in the circus.  The two form a slow bond which seems closer than anything shared by tiger and handler.  As they grow closer, Kelsey is approached by the mysterious Mr. Kadam, an Indian man who is Ren's personal manager and reveals to her that the tiger is being flown back to his homeland of India.  Kelsey is offered the chance to accompany Ren back to India, in order to ensure that he is comfortable.  Kelsey accepts, and soon she is flying to India far from the suburban US world she knows, on what will become a fantastic, fast-paced adventure.  For Ren is a young Indian prince cursed to spend all but a few minutes of every day as a tiger.  The concept is fairy-tale-like in its simplicity, but the execution, and the adventures which Kelsey and Ren (both as tiger and man) have in India are almost like levels of a video game in the way they unfold and progress.  Which doesn't make for excellent, jaw-droppingly beautiful prose, but it definitely does make for a really fun story.

The characters in Tiger's Curse are all very lovable-- Kelsey immediately comes across as this very ordinary girl, without seeming too Bella Swan- like (though the similarities are definitely there).  She somehow manages to be a unique character, anyway.  Mr. Kadam is awesome-- he reminded me so much of the benevolent Indian man from The Little Princess who helps Sarah and Becky when they're living in the attic.  I also really enjoyed reading about the Indian culture and myth (like the involvement of the goddess Durga in helping Kelsey and Ren search for a way to end his curse).  My biggest problem with the writing is the prologue.  The writing is weird and it's very disconnected from the rest of the story.  I would almost( not quite) recommend skipping it.  The only other negative thing about this book: the painfully sudden ending.  But I've said this before-- all series books have to do that, because they have to be able to grip you into the story.  I don't think I can wait for Tiger's Quest, the second book, to come out in hardcover-- I'm going to have to read it on my Kindle. (Which I'd sworn off.)  I really recommend this book for anyone looking for a light, extremely entertaining and involving fantasy adventure with just a little romance thrown in for good measure. (I detect a love triangle for future books.)

Cover: 5/5 
Premise: 5/5 
Characters: 5/5 
Plot: 4/5
Overall Rating: 5/5


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

wow, sounds like a great story! thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Great review. I'll have to add this to my tbr list.

Emi said...

This is one of those books that I saw in the store and was like, "*drools* MUST. HAVE." I still haven't bought it, but I'm looking forward to the day I do. You don't see too many YA books out there that deal with Indian fantasy. Thanks for the excellent review, Kat!

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

I like the idea of 'light, extremely entertaining and involving fantasy adventure with just a little romance' as I hate heavy fantasy stories. Great review :)

Jenny said...

This one does sound really fun, I've never heard of it before. Though the painfully sudden ending makes me a bit wary, the characterization and fast pace make me want to pick it up:) Thanks for this recommendation Kat!

rhonda said...

I went to Barnes and Noble to get one book and ended up getting this book as well. The cover just jumped out at me, it was beautiful and different. I had to read this story to see what it was about! I am so excited to read this book. I will be starting it today.

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