Quote of the Month

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hear Them Roar...GRR #2

Colleen Houck follows the phenomenal success of series opener, Tiger's Curse, with a spellbinding sequel, Tiger's Quest, that strengthens the story at every turn of page. 

Kelsey Hayes has returned to life in Oregon having spent several months in India immersed in the traditions and mythic stories of a culture nearly as old as time, prophecy fulfillment, surreal adventure and finding a love whose thread can not be broken.  Successful in the initial stages of her role as the one chosen to release the two 300-year-old Indian princes from their curse, living as a tigers, she will be attending college until the prophecy can be further deciphered by Mr. Anik Kadam.  While trying to assume the life of a normal college freshman, studying classes enhancing her knowledge of the quest and dating other men, she is living a half life without her beloved.  Leaving Ren in India against his wishes was the hardest thing she ever had to do but she felt it was best for him.   Personally, as a reader, it defied belief that she could do this.

On Christmas Day when she answers the door at her adopted parents' home, there is Ren standing in the doorway.  From that point on the romance escalates with steamy, though chaste, scenes that truly define a steadfast and enduring love. 

Lokesh, a powerful man from the princes' past, is in pursuit of Kelsey seeking her death.  While on a date with one of her suitors she saved an elderly woman from being struck by a car.  It came to the attention of the media which spells trouble for the anonymity that Kelsey currently has.  Sending for Kishan Ren hopes to protect her from harm. 

The trio begins training in earnest, expanding on the wushu classes,  for a possible attack and preparing for a quick exit from the states back to India.  But...

The other men had caught up to us.  What happened next was no fight in a dojo. This was a battle.  War. Ren and Kishan looked like two uber-soldiers.  Their faces showed no emotion.  They moved sharply, efficiently.  They wasted no energy.  They moved in harmony like a pair of lethal dancers.  Ren with the Sai knives and Kishan with the staff.  Between them, they took down at least a dozen men, but dozens more shot out from the trees. 

Even changing from men to tigers and back does not deter the assault.  In the heat of battle to protect Ren, Kelsey discovers she has possession of a power heretofore unknown.  Kishan at Ren's insistence spirits Kelsey away as darts fill the air.  Her white tiger, her warrior angel, Ren, is captured by Lokesh. 

She and Kishan, the black tiger, flee to India following the next course revealed by the prophecy's translation.  Time is of the essence in accomplishing their tasks if they are to save Ren's life.

Now that a new adventure loomed before me, I wanted Ren with me so desperately my insides felt achingly hollow.  The only thing that kept me going was knowing I was doing this for him.  I wouldn't even allow myself to think he might not live through the next few weeks.  He had to.  Life without him would be meaningless.

Visiting the goddess Durga again, a Grandmother weaving the fabric of life, and the Ocean Teacher, traveling to Tibet, walking through the spirit gate into the land known as Shangri-La, passing the tests of the four houses within a sacred tree, gigantic iron birds, the Silvanae tree nymphs, extreme cold, death around every corner---these Kelsey and Kishan face together their friendship growing stronger daily.  Kelsey's love for Ren, her determination to save him never falters, but Kishan now does not hide his love for her.  History does repeat; the two brothers love the same woman.

Colleen Houck further cements her skills as a master storyteller; one dedicated to the geography, culture and myths within which this tale is set.  Descriptions of action and task completion in these magical worlds populated with beings from legend and imagination are luminous and elaborate.  Dialogue heartfelt and true, between the characters that readers have come to know, increases tension that leaves one breathless.

It would not be right to tell you if Kishan and Kelsey reach their goals nor whether they are able to save Ren but I will tell you to get a box of Kleenex handy; no make that two.  And you might want to set a block of time aside.  For once you start Tiger's Quest not much else will matter.

How are we ever to wait until November 2011 to continue in the fulfillment of the the prophecy set forth in The Tiger Series?

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