(Tiger Series #1)
by Colleen Houck
Jan 1st, 2011
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.
Tiger’s Curse starts with Kelsey Hayes taking on a two-week temp job at a circus. Part of her job is to help out with feeding the circus’ white tiger, named Dhiren, whom she starts calling Ren. Kelsey finds herself attached to the tiger and starts spending all her free time alone with Ren while he’s in his cage. Shortly after, a mysterious Indian man called Mr. Kadam comes to the circus in order to buy Ren and take him to an animal reserve in India. Kelsey and Mr. Kadam talk about Ren, and once Kelsey’s temp job is over, he offers her a job in the form of accompanying the tiger to India. Once in India, Kelsey finds out that Mr. Kadam and Ren, the tiger, aren’t exactly as they seem.
When I started reading Tiger’s Curse, I was a little skeptical about whether I would actually like it or not. First of all, Kelsey, the heroine of the story, seemed much younger than 17/18 (she was 17 at the beginning of the book, but turned 18 about 50 pages in). The book is told in first person perspective and the writing almost seemed more middle grade than young adult; the prose was very simple and straightforward. Additionally, some of the dialogue was very stilted and awkward. Here is one example, which is Kelsey’s response to hearing the tragic tale of the Indian prince, Dhiren, from Mr. Kadam: “That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course. A great story, though a bit bloody. An Indian tragedy. It reminds me of Shakespeare. He would have written a great play based on that tale. So, Ren is named after that Indian prince?” Yeah. Besides that, the actual premise of the book is jarringly unrealistic. I don’t think many people would let a 17 year old girl anywhere near a full grown tiger, let alone spend time with it by herself (yeah, he was in a cage, but still). And apparently no one thinks its strange for some random guy to offer tons of money to a teenage girl to take her to India to supervise a tiger she’s only spent time with for two weeks.
Despite this, well, preposterous beginning, I actually found Tiger’s Curse inexplicably charming. Once I got past the first 100 pages, the story really picked up and I think the writing actually improved (either that or I just got used to it). The book was highly addictive and utterly readable; I devoured it fairly quickly. I think the setting in India, plus the somewhat unique use of tigers as the paranormal element really saved it from being too cliche, at least for me. If it had been set in the US with a more common supernatural being (vampire, angel, werewolf, etc) I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much.
I loved the characters as well, even Kelsey! Which is a surprise, considering my less than favorable reaction to her at the beginning of the book. I was unsure about Mr. Kadam at first, too, but his grandfatherly charm won me over very quickly. And then there’s Ren. Ah, Ren. He started out as a two-dimensional gorgeous and charming love interest with no real personality beyond being devoted to Kelsey. But as the story progressed his character became more fleshed out and believable. But the real star of the book, for me at least, was Kishan, Ren’s brother. I found him way more interesting than Ren, even though he wasn’t in the book all that much.
Even though I loved Kishan, I was still rooting for Kelsey and Ren. I wanted those crazy kids to make it work, somehow! I liked that their romance didn’t start up right away. Sure, it was pretty quick, but the heroine was surprisingly self aware about it. I mean, yeah, whenever she’s near him her heart sped up, she forgot to breath, *insert another cliche here*, but Kelsey notes that they haven’t know each other long and she’s never really been in a relationship. She actually thought about whether she wanted to progress their relationship. We really got a good look inside Kelsey’s head and her thoughts about Ren. I loved that.
All in all, I really enjoyed Tiger’s Curse. I’d recommend the book to those fans of paranormal romance who are looking for something a little different.