Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck

Title: Tiger's Quest
Author: Colleen Houck
Series: Tiger Saga #2
Pages: 479
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: Library

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest--this time with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them. 

My Review:
I'm not too sure why I read this book. At the end of the first one I was so hopelessly frustrated with the main character Kelsey that I couldn't wait to wash my hands of the entire thing. But something weird happened...When it was late at night, or while I was doing chores or when I had nothing else to do but think, I found myself remembering Ren, Kishan, Kelsey, and wondering what happened to them. Even though Kelsey drove me nuts, and Ren seemed to be a pushover...I just NEEDED to know how their story ends. Then I got Tiger's Quest and I got the same impression as the first one. It was a hopelessly annoying book that you just couldn't stop reading. It's like that cursed book that Ron was talking about in Harry Potter where you're forced into reading it for all eternity, bumbling around trying to do all the other stuff you need to do while still reading. No matter what stupid choices the MC's make, or how messed up a plot-line is, you just can't put the thing down.

Like the first book, there was a lot of plot points that either didn't make sense or were totally unrealistic. Things were just way too easy for the MC's to deal with. Sure, there were the "trials" that Kelsey and Kishan had to face, but fortunately they just so happened to pick up a magical gourd or magical water or whatever that showed them what they had to do just in the nick of time.  They also meet almost no adversary from other people along the way. The people they encounter just instinctively know who Kelsey and Kishan are and go out of their way to help them. I thought this was completely ridiculous...especially with people in politics and other important professions. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't politicians who help people out of the goodness of their hearts, but most of them are vicious or conniving jerks who are only out to further their ambitions. And here these guys are, bending over backwards because Kelsey is "so nice", and though it isn't too relevant to the story, Kelsey got dates way too easy for a "plain" girl who doesn't talk. All these guys are chomping on the bit to take her out, but for no real reason. She doesn't talk to them, she doesn't wear interesting clothing, she doesn't DO anything outside of go to what exactly is the draw for these guys? Not to be totally down on the members of the opposite sex, but the only way any girl would get as many dates as Kelsey got in ONE DAY was either she was trying to get them, or she was wearing nothing but a bubble wrap bikini.

I really enjoyed getting to know Kishan better in this book. To be honest, his type of character calls to me a little more strongly than Ren's type does. Don't get me wrong, romance is great, but part of me craves that darker wildness that Kishan just oozes by simply being himself. I am almost positive that this series will end with Ren and Kelsey getting together, but deep down in my heart I am totally rooting for Kishan. He's gotten the raw end of the deal twice when dealing with love, and you just want him to get his happily ever after. He's fierce, he's protective, he's dangerous, and he's totally gorgeous. He's got all of the qualities I like in my tiger-men...and he just seems so much more interesting than Ren does. He's got the dark and twisty qualities that make you want to reach out and heal his wounds while chasing away the darkness of his past. And he's funny...he's got this sarcastic witty humor that has me cracking up half the time. Yes...I definitely enjoyed getting to know Kishan a little more. *smiles*

 The writing style was almost too descriptive and lyrical for me. It wasn't that any of the analogies or descriptions were bad, it was just that there were too many of them and they were kind of...bizzarre, as far as analogies go. For example, " My heart was a flower, bursting open in the sunlight of Ren's love."...Um...okay...that quote in itself isn't that bad (thought it is a tad cheesy for my taste), but quotes like that would be followed by 3-5 sentences of figurative analogies of the same kind of get to the point when you're like...enough already. Eventually there's so much lovey-dovey-ness or later in the book, sickeningly detailed descriptions of the jungles and forests that you just feel weighted down. I'm not sure how much sense that makes to you, but that was how I felt. There was so much irrelevant information that actually reading the book got to be sluggish and felt more of a burden than something fun. I would have had a much better reading experience had the descriptions been kept to 1-2 sentences max...and it would have shortened the monstrous size of this almost 500 page book to something a little more manageable.

I can't decide if I liked all the references to classic novels, myths, and poems or if they bugged me. Part of me really enjoyed hearing about the contrasting mythologies and how they coincided with the story, but at times there was just too many different threads going on and the additional side stories began to annoy me. I think it was the same situation as the analogies, there was just too many of them. The first half of the book was kind of a courtship between Ren and Kelsey,and every other page there were quotes from famous poems or Kelsey would go into detail about some myth or story or something. It left me wondering if any of the poems or stories were relevant. One or two seriously romantic and swoon-worthy poems would have been great, enhancing the cute factor of Kelsey and Ren's relationship, but the sheer amount of poems and romantic quotes actually cheapened them. Instead of one or two seriously meaningful moments, I just felt swamped with references and poems and didn't feel at all affected by them like I was supposed to.
I give Tiger's Quest 3.5 Keys. This series has SUCH potential...There is so much good! The setting of exotic India is fantastic! There's so much interesting mythology to delve into that you could get lost in the possibilities. At the same time, I am constantly bombarded by irritations with the writing style and the simple fact that I don't believe that a lot of the story is even remotely believable. Despite all of my grievances and irritations, I am probably going to go out and get book three. It's such a compelling story with such depth and potential that you just can't resist following it to the end. I almost wish Colleen Houck would have written this series later in her career so she could gain some more writing/editing experiences before writing this series.


  1. I really like the cover for this book, not sure if the book itself is something I would be able to get into though.

  2. I've never read this series. Bummer that you're frustrated. Won't really inspire me to pick up this book :) Thanks for the review!

  3. Not sure I would read this, but the cover would at least make me pick it up.