Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tiger’s Quest Book Review

Author: Colleen Houck. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Splinter. ISBN: 9781402784040.

Check out my review of the previous book, Tiger's Curse, if you haven't read it already! http://libraryladyhylary.blogspot.com/2011/06/tigers-curse-book.html 
Annotation:  Kelsey has returned from her adventure in India and begins college at Western Oregon University while trying to push thoughts of Ren out of her mind. Her first semester in college, however, is far from what she expected when she is thrust yet again in to the middle of reversing the curse that plagues Ren and his brother, Kishan.   
Personal thoughts:  Like the first book in the series, there were some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. As a native Oregonian, I thought the references to the state were fun but a bit overkill at times. I commend Houck for advertising her home state, but not many people know or care much for specific details about Oregon trivia (i.e. Burgerville, restaurants in Salem, Tillamook, etc.)  I also thought the adventures of Kelsey and Kishan began to veer into the goofy at times (i.e. magical scarves, trees giving birth to fairy-like creatures, lightning bolt powers, etc.) When it is all said and done, however, I will most likely be picking up the third installment in this series due for release in November 2011. Despite its flaws, there is something enjoyable about the characters and adventures in this series.
Plot summary: After returning from her whirlwind adventure in India, Kelsey decides to push aside her feelings of love and confusion for Ren and focus on college and dating other people. Mr. Kadam has arranged for Kelsey to attend Western Oregon University in the fall, paying for her tuition, books, a house to live in and a new car. Kelsey tries dating other people, even having a connection with her martial arts instructor, Li, but she can’t seem to shake memories of the white tiger from her mind. When Ren suddenly joins her in Oregon, Kelsey realizes that their love for eachother is too strong to be ignored and the two began dating once more while both attending college in Oregon. Their happiness is interrupted when, following the arrival of Ren’s brother, Kishan, the trio learns that the evil Lokesh, the very same man who curse the princes to live as tigers, is on a quest to find Kelsey at all costs, and is getting closer. It seems that Kelsey will have no choice but to leave Oregon once more and return to India in search of another key in the puzzle of saving the brothers from the tiger’s curse.
Review:  This second installment in Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series delivers more adventure, romance and mythology in the same vein as the first novel. Kelsey’s confusion over her feelings for Ren and her attempts at dating will resonate with readers who have experienced similar situations. Houck creates a very likable character in Li, the martial arts instructor who likes Kelsey despite her obvious preoccupation with someone else. When Ren arrives in Oregon, the dynamics between the two shift setting the stage for what will surely be an epic romance that will last through all seven books (Houck revealed in an interview that there are seven planned installments in this series.) The book takes a dramatic shift when Kelsey returns to India and must team up with Kishan to complete the next step in reversing the tiger’s curse. Kishan and Kelsey also have strong romantic feelings for eachother, adding a Twilight­­­-esque love triangle to the story. Their adventures get a little silly at times, but readers will, no doubt, enjoy the sexual tension between Kelsey and the black tiger. Overall, a good second novel in an interesting series.
Genre: Fiction/Adventure
Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: Tiger’s Curse (first novel by Colleen Houck in series).  
Themes:  Romance, relationships, magic, India, Shangri-la.
Awards/Reviews:  Positive review from Kirkus Reviews, winner of Parent’s Choice Award.
Series Information: Second installment in Tiger’s Curse series. Third novel set to be released in November 2011.    

Discussion Questions:

- Who do you like better: Ren or Kishan? Why?

- Do you think it was a good idea for Kelsey to date other people? Why or why not?

- Did you learn anything about Indian or Chinese mythology after reading this book?

- What was your favorite part of the novel? Why?

- What would you like to see happen in the third installment of this trilogy?

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