A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sequel to Tiger's Curse also incudes a fairly innocent romance, but the violence intensifies this time around, with allusions to the horrific torture endured by one of the main characters. Readers will learn a lot as the author weaves various mythologies into the characters' quest. They will also see Kelsey grow up a lot and learn to put aside some of her insecurities. Of some concern are Kishan's continued advances toward Kelsey after being told that she's not interested. This may prompt a good discussion about what it means to respect boundaries.
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What's the story?
When Kelsey returns to Oregon, she assumes that Ren will get over her fast. She starts college, taking courses to prepare for the next of the four tasks she must complete to break the Tiger's Curse. She makes it through one semester -- and even tries to date -- but when Ren shows up at her door, she's smitten all over again. But while Ren courts Kelsey afresh, danger lurks: Evil Lokesh is back and after a magic amulet in their possession. He finally tracks them down, capturing Ren and forcing Kelsey and Ren's brother, Kishan, to tackle the next task alone. After consulting the goddess Durga again, they set off to find spirit gates that contain a magical object. Trials include sirens, giant angry birds, and Kishan's continued advances as he opens up to Kelsey about his feelings for her.
Is it any good?
As with the last book, readers will be left hanging and bit heartbroken at the end -- which is sure to keep them anticipating the next installment.
Twilight fans will also notice a pattern here. Just like in New Moon, this sequel introduces Team Ren and Team Kishan. Only it seems the author was afraid to simply write out Ren for most of the book, so she crammed in 150 pretty boring pages at the beginning so that readers could experience Kelsey and Ren dating, reading love poems, making cookies, reading more love poems, and fighting off other unworthy suitors. Oh, and then reading more love poems.
When Ren is finally kidnapped, his torture begins -- but it's over for readers. Now the story gets going, with suspenseful moments involving both the central task and the development of the characters. The ancient mythology weaved into the story is really well done, and the complex relationship between Kelsey and Kishan is expertly explored (especially given the overdramatic relationship between Kelsey and Ren at the book's beginning).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about popular love stories. What makes a good romance? Is there always lots of adversity? Danger? Jealousy? How do these stories shape our expectations of love?
What do you think about Kishan and Kelsey's relationship? Do you think Kishan should be "stealing kisses" against her wishes? Can you think of other "romantic" books or movies where lines are similarly crossed?
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