Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hear Them Roar...GRR

One of the  particulars of this book, Tiger's Curse, that impresses me the most about author, Colleen Houck, is the care and attention that is given to the culture, mythology and people of India.

The story begins with recent high school graduate, Kelsey Hayes, taking a job as a temporary worker at a circus for a couple of weeks when it's in town.  Part of her duties includes the care and feeding of a magnificent Bengal tiger, Dhiren, who she calls Ren.  Over the course of her work assignment she and Ren develop a special bond which commences at their first meeting--Those eyes.  They were mesmerizing.  They stared right into me, almost as if the tiger was examining my soul.  During her free time or at the end of the day she begins reading poetry to the tiger or writing and drawing in her journal near his cage wrapped in the quilt her Grandmother made.  It is at the end of one of these companionable meetings that she, after touching him and his tongue licking her fingers, that she whispers, I wish you were free.  Little does Kelsey know that with those words she has set a chain of events in motion.

Soon thereafter a stranger by the name of Anik Kadam comes to the circus representing a very wealthy employer.  He purchases the tiger to be taken to the Ranthambore National Park, a tiger reserve, in India.  Kelsey is asked to accompany the tiger to India to see him safely delivered to the reserve due to the unique rapport that they share.

On the trip to the preserve imagine her dismay upon looking out a restaurant window to see that the truck carrying the tiger has left.   Running outside she finds the tiger vanishing up the trail into the surrounding jungle.  Readers will discover that this tiger is no ordinary tiger but an Indian prince under a 300-year-old curse which only Kelsey can break. 

What ensues is adventure a la Indiana Jones; deciphering prophecies, codes and finding keys complete with forests of trees with knife-like needles, white Kappa vampires slinking from pools and hordes of monkeys of every shape and size that don't like their kingdom borders breached. 

To spike the tension further the relationship between Kelsey and Ren deepens into a love complicated by his brother's presence, also under the curse.  And someone else is interested in Kelsey...seeking her...needing her to be eliminated.

Colleen Houck's first novel is volume one of the Tiger Saga.  It has achieved success as a self-published eBook and was named a finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award in YA Fiction.   What gives this story distinction above others of this genre is the meticulously described episodes, fully-developed characters, the snappy as well as steamy dialogue between Ren and Kelsey, and Kelsey's independent streak.

I have already pre-ordered the sequel due out June 7, 2011.  It's going to be a grand summer for reading.

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