Tiger's Curse, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Tiger's Curse, Book 1



Twilight for cat lovers.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Most of the book takes place in the jungles of India. Readers will learn a bit about Hindu gods and goddesses -- especially Durga and Hanuman, their temples, and some fascinating legends. Poetry is spouted occasionally, and Romeo and Juliet is read and discussed by the main characters.

Positive messages

Learning how to love again after loss is a big theme here.

Positive role models

Kelsey is a positive character in many ways. She dives right into helping Ren break the curse and finds herself in some very sticky situations. But she can also be very insecure and spiteful, especially when she compares herself to too-perfect Ren. Despite that, Ren is very dedicated to her -- yet another notch in his belt. Mr. Kadam is incredibly loyal and caring to both Ren's family and to Kelsey, who starts to see him as a grandfather figure.


Kelsey's parents died in a car accident four years previously and she discusses it often. As tigers, Ren and Kishan hunt down and kill an antelope in one bloody scene. Kelsey almost dies from bites to the neck by a vampiric Kappa. Spirits torment both Ren and Kelsey with visions of death.


Plenty of passionate embraces, but there's no indication that either Ren or Kelsey is thinking of taking it any further.

Not applicable

A few high-end brands -- Armani, Rolls-Royce -- and attractive celebrities (Brad Pitt) mentioned to draw attention to the wealth and attractiveness of Ren.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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?


This has most of 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, though; 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?

Book details

Author:Colleen Houck
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Sterling Publishing
Publication date:January 11, 2011
Number of pages:448
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

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Teen, 13 years old Written bykitkat3798 May 29, 2011

Action/Adventure/Romance= Great Book

I honestly really enjoyed the book. I've also read the second one. There's plenty of detail and it is quite educational with all of the Indian culture. I would recommend reading it because there is quite a lot of action and adventure mixed with romance.
Teen, 13 years old Written byFantasyFan May 10, 2011

Not excellently written, but a good plot.

At first, I thought the book was pretty good. Even in the beginning, I had my concerns about the writing...the story and the plot are good, but the execution of the book was poor. There wasn't enough character building and I'm sure, with such a good plot, the book could have been an instant hit if the writing was better. I think it is better than Twilight though, as in Twilight, the books were all centered only around Edward Cullen and Bella Swan (Now Bella Cullen). However, the writing in Twilight, was better. In Tiger's Curse, we learn a lot more about Indian culture and, generally, it's much more educational. I am an Indian myself, and I can see that the author has gone into a lot of trouble on research about Indian traditions, culture, food, and religions. Overall, the book is okay, not very good, but it isn't very bad either. I was especially disappointed by the ending of the book. After building so much between Kelsey and Ren, the author's ending is kind of a rip-off to all the readers. Kelsey's choice was bad and unnecessary. I personally feel the ending was really, really disappointing. I understand that there's another book to the series, but I'm not very interested in reading it. On the whole, my advice is: Try it out.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 15 years old Written byClearastheSea August 6, 2011

Great for 12+

I'm 16 and I really enjoyed the first book in Colleen Houck's new series. Readers learn a lot about Hindu mythology and Kelsey, Ren, and all other main characters are good role models. Kelsey's reluctance to become close with anyone is accurate for someone who lost both her parents. There is some kissing in 'Tiger's Curse', but nothing beyond it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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