What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this romantic fantasy book will remind readers of Twilight -- there's lots of romance that sticks to kissing only, and there's an idealized male character who's put on a pedestal by the insecure heroine (well, in this case, he's a tiger most of the time, but when he's a man...) Violence is a little lighter than Twilight, though, and readers will likely enjoy learning a bit about India and Hindu gods and goddesses.
What's the story?
When Kelsey takes a two-week temp job at a small traveling circus after graduation, she's excited about the idea of taking care of a tiger. But not as excited as she is when the tiger is sold to a very wealthy Indian man, Mr. Kadam, and she's asked to travel with him -- at least until he makes it to a nature preserve. But there's a reason Kelsey feels so bonded with the tiger. She's somehow broken a small part of a curse: Three hundred years ago, an Indian prince named Dhiren was cursed to live as a tiger -- but in Kelsey's presence, he can reveal his true self. He's free to be a man for 24 minutes of every day and needs Kelsey's help to break the rest of the curse. Kelsey is somehow favored by the Hindu goddess Durga who sends them on one of four dangerous tasks.
Is it any good?
What are the qualities of a good suck-you-in, heart-aflutter, page-turner romance? A hot prince -- sure. A foreign setting -- even better. An average girl like most of the faithful readers who is the only one who can save him -- great. Readers may wish that the heroine here had a little more pluck. Kelsey's constant insecurity and sarcasm make it hard to root for her.
But despite the blah heroine and some writing that could use lots more spit and polish (this was commendably self-published first in 2009 before being picked up by Sterling), TIGER'S CURSE will suck romance readers in -- yes, especially those Twilight fans. As an added bonus, readers will learn a bit about Hindu gods and goddesses -- and get exposed to some Shakespeare. Let's just hope Kelsey takes a self-esteem workshop before the next book in the series.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how male characters are often idealized in romantic fantasy. Can you find any real faults in Ren? Do these depictions have any impact on teen's real-life romantic expectations?
Why do you think this romance is so popular? This book spent weeks on The New York Times best seller list for children's chapter books. What made readers connect with it? The fantasy elements? The romance? The foreign setting? The dreamy prince?