My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read this over six months ago and have since felt no urge to pick up the sequel.
Here is what drew me to the book in the first place –
A girl in the States gets a part time job in a circus, meets a cast of peculiar characters and forms a bond with a caged tiger that she doesn’t quite understand. We can guess already that the tiger is more than an animal. Then somehow girl ends up in rural India, gets lost in a forest and ends up with only a strangely protective tiger for company. After that apparently comes some sort of a journey to break a curse that keeps our hero in the form of a tiger.
And you have to admit it does sound interesting.
[The part about getting an under-aged teenager to India with such ease seemed improbable, but if the author is talented (I thought) then maybe she’ll pull it off.]
Oh and I liked the cover.
But then I read the book. Talk about two dimensional characters. Talk about utterly indifferent parents (loving foster parents nevertheless) who allow their charge to dance off to a foreign country, thousands of miles away in the company of a strange man they met only once and in charge of feeding a tiger! Okay, fine. I’ll swallow my disbelief in favour of the potential I see in Kelsey’s and the tiger’s bond. This can still be good.
But no. Kelsey arrives at a reserve forest and is somehow left behind, alone!, with the tiger. She ends up walking for miles in Ren, the tiger’s, company and eventually comes to a hut.
Here she discovers that her friendly feral companion is actually a good looking young Indian prince under a curse that only she can break. Some insta-attraction happens.
I’m not going into the rest of the story.
My point is that despite the near childish writing style and the simplistic handling of the plot, I kept hoping the story would get better because THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD!
The idea was good! And better still it had not been done to death!
Stories about Indian princes under curses died off some time about half a century ago (at least in India it did). I was so excited about the premise. To see the magic and people of this country through the eyes of a foreigner who is suddenly plunged into a world she didn’t know existed and is expected to believe that somehow only she can break a hundreds of years old curse.
But you know what’s worse? The obvious set up for a love triangle. It was so obvious that even before I picked up the book it was giving off the sugary smell of insta-love mixed with mary sue spoilt for choices in hot, loving men.
I really don’t want to pick up the next book because I know EXACTLY what comes next. There are secondary characters in the book, but they are just there to hold the frame while our protagonists pose and sigh and mourn and feel noble.
Okay, I’m done now.
…But it’s SO disappointing when contemporary fantasy stories set in India are already so damned rare…
No, I’m seriously done now. Really.