Book: Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
Synopsis: Kelsey’s temporary job at a circus turns into a summer she’ll never forget when she gets hired to escort the circus’s tiger to a preserve in India. The white tiger she’s become so attached to, Dhiren, has a secret: he’s under a curse, and Kelsey is, of course, the only one who can break it.
Is this a “must-read”?: Not even close
Why?: I started Tiger’s Curse with an open mind, I really did. The last few books on the list had pleasantly surprised me and I thought this one might too. I was wrong. Tiger’s Curse…where do I even start? It’s just bad. Well, the concept itself is pretty good, but the execution was terrible. There are striking similarities to Twilight (Mary Sues, classic lit tie-ins obviously meant to foreshadow the plot, boys who identify their S.O.'s by their scent, etc.), which is bad enough. But the writing in general reminded me of the “novels” my friends and I attempted to write back in middle school; I understand trying to make the protag sound like a real teenager but it’s possible to do that without talking down to the reader. (Besides, Kelsey still doesn’t sound like a real teenager.) But wait, there’s more:
Tiger’s Curse started as a self-published eBook, and the lack of professional editing is abundantly clear. There are grammar mistakes and the dialogue is wooden at best and cliché at worst. The first half seems to have been written for preteens, I doubt this was intentional since it’s billed as young adult fiction. There are plot holes galore and logic flies out the window for the sake of pushing the story along. The protag, Kelsey, is the biggest Mary Sue, except for her rapid-fire emotional changes and natural guardedness. (A jaded teenager with mood swings who’s scared of her own feelings, never heard that one before have you?) Despite that, she’s still so perfect that even her insecurity is selfless.
I also wish Houck had done a little more research into her audience, because maybe then Kelsey would think and speak the way an actual college-bound 18-year-old thinks and speaks. Instead she sounds, depending on the situation, like a 50-year-old, a 10-year-old, or a character invented by someone who sucks at writing dialogue. Unless of course she’s kissing/cuddling/within spitting distance of her S.O. Tiger’s Curse also suffers the curse of most paranormal teen romance: over-the-top description, particularly where the love interest is concerned. We get it Kelsey, he’s like a Greek god crossed with Hrithik Roshan, you don’t have to describe his glowing complexion, wavy locks, and sculpted body every few pages.
Now, since I’ve spent three paragraphs tearing Tiger’s Curse apart, here are a few sentences on what I found good about this book. The concept was in fact very interesting, and I think it could even have been a good book if only someone had edited the crap out of it. I did like that the basically perfect love interest does actually have a flaw or three, and, um, the cover looks pretty cool, so there’s that. (But seriously, don’t put yourself through this. While reading I was on the verge of banging my head against the cover many times, but said cover is unusually hard, so I just clawed the air like a Bond villain and verbally abused the main characters.)
Now here are a few questions I would ask Colleen Houck if given the chance (Serious spoiler alert):
1. Why does Kelsey, after being tricked by a strange man into travelling to India and being abandoned by said man to trek through a jungle with a tiger, still implicitly trust every strange man she meets? I understand naïveté, but even naïve people learn from their mistakes.
2. How are Ren and Kishan such effective flirts after 300 years as tigers?
3. Why is Kelsey afraid of snakes and bugs but not tigers, statues that come to life, poison spikes, or strange men that offer to take her to India out of nowhere? Or rather, why doesn’t she express those fears as vividly?
4. How can a guarded 18-year-old have such a clear grasp of their complex emotional state? Isn’t the point of being guarded that you’re not in touch with your emotions?
5. Who picks a fight with their S.O. while being chased by killer monkeys?
6. Who DTRs while camping out near a city full of killer monkeys, a forest full of killer trees, and a cave full of ghost things that can probably kill you?
7. How can Kishan, the man-tiger who’s spent the last three centuries in the Indian jungle, speak fluent English?
8. How did Ren go from half-killing Kishan to trusting him to babysit Kelsey, aka the thing he cares about most, and all in under 24 hours?
9. Why do Ren and Kishan sound so modern? From what I understand neither had spoken to a modern human before Kelsey.
Next time: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Have you read Tiger's Curse? Did you hate it, too?
Post by dac213!