Tiger's Curse by Couleen Houck: Review

  
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spell- binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.
“. . . a sweet romance and heart-pounding adventure. I found myself cheering, squealing, and biting my nails — all within a few pages. In short, Tiger’s Curse is magical." -Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Hush, Hush
But that’s exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spell- binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.
“. . . a sweet romance and heart-pounding adventure. I found myself cheering, squealing, and biting my nails — all within a few pages. In short, Tiger’s Curse is magical." -Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Hush, Hush

I did not finish this atrocity of a book. If you loved this book, as most of you did, you better not read this review, because I'm a hater.
This is gonna be a long rant, so let's split this up.


CHARACTERS
Blah, blah, blah. I didn't care about a single one of them.

KELSEY: was boring. She's independant and supposed to be the antithesis of a Mary-Sue Bella Swan, but the way she was written didn't give me that kind of a vibe. I spent most of the time I read this book wondering if she'd left her brain behind somewhere. Because, who goes to India with someone they'd just met? WIth a carnivorous animal they'd just met? And anyway, why does she behave like a twelve-year-old most of the time?
REN: Um. The Indian Prince. Yeah...I believe that. Because you served it to me on a plate, not because there was anything remotely resembling Indian culture or its vestiges in him, save for the Hindi dialect. I like him better as the tiger, because he doesn't speak. And Ren, why are you wearing white trousers and a white shirt? TROUSERS.  In INDIA. In the 16th century. HUH?
YESUBAI has violet eyes? Wow. I didn't know Indians could have violet eyes.
And what kind of princely names are REN and KISHEN? They were all called Dhirendravarma or Chandragupta or Krishnadevaraya.
I didn't even care about the others.


THE PLOT, THE SETTING, THE ACTION
The Plot? Bizarre. To someone who's been following Hinduism, incredibly bizarre. Won't go into that one because I haven't finished the whole thing and has no intention of finishing it.
Needless to say, I had high expectations about this one, mostly because the blogosphere has been going crazy about how original and how inspiring and how non-Twilight this book is. Well, okay, if you're not from India. Double okay, if you're not from India and know nothing about Hinduism. Some reviewers say that Miss Houck has done her homework regarding Indian culture. To them I say: excuse me?? There are so many descrepancies regarding the culture, and not just that, the WAY Indians behave, and talk.


Before you say Miss Houck has done her homework, or researched well, or offered wonderful tidbits of Indian culture, please at least realize that this is somebody who doesn't know what Google Images mean.  In caps, for easy access to the brain: FYI, BENGAL TIGERS MOSTLY ARE ORANGE. There are very few WHITE TIGERS, those are like orange tigers with a recessive gene. And they're INCREDIBLY rare. And you can't just walk around India with a white tiger the way Kelsey does. THERE ARE RULES. THESE are a SPECIES nearing EXTINCTION. (In 100 Bengal tigers, there are just 12 white tigers, so I find it difficult to relate that no one Kelsey meets in India, on the roads at least, is wondering why she's moving around with a white tiger. She would be immediately put in jail!)


And if you have half a brain, you could just type Royal Bengal Tiger in the Google Images box and they'll show you ORANGE tigers. In this book there is a specific dialogue where Mr Kadam tells Kelsey that Siberian tigers are orange and Indian tigers are WHITE. Didn't the editor notice this? The editor is Indian, according to the author. So, well, hulloo?? This is like saying ostriches are rampant in North America and mate with flamingos.


And then, Goddess Durga has a tiger called Damon. I've been giggling in my prayer room ever since I read this book, because we have a statuette of Goddess Durga on the tiger, and I look at him and think "Damon, Damon, Damon." This might be true, because some sites say so. I've never heard it, and neither has my grandma. 


The mythology in this book is odd. It's okay to make up mythology, but the myths in Tiger's Curse didn't have the flavor of Indian myths. It was off. If you think about it, there are very less instances in Indian mythology where the heroes are on a quest to find something as compared to other mythologies in the world. Heroes and heroines of Indian myths are mostly concerned with human virtues: such as faithfulness, marital fidelity, knowledge, strength, the king's need to protect and do the best for his people, promises before blood and stuff like that. The normal Greek Myth kinda quests seeking for magical objects doesn't quite feature in Indian mythology. The story of the Kalyanasougandhika flower is the only thing I can think of at the moment. In everything else involving magical objects, they are either gifts from the Gods (Arjuna's arrows, etc) or something that should be stolen skilfully from a God. (King Bhageeratha "stole" the river Ganga from Lord Shiva.) I don't think Indian gods send heroes and heroines on quests to bring objects. They go themselves.
And Ren, who's a 16th century prince or whatever thinks it's okay to fall in love with an English woman. Well, sorry, but isn't he concerned of his kshatriya status?
Not to mention the guide guy, Phet or whatever, who speaks like Yoda. Indians speak English pretty well, FYI, or they don't speak it at all. And the whole Indian continent does NOT speak Hindi.
I can forgive the linguistic stuff, all right, but please. The tiger color change put me off so much that I wanted to throw the book. And the fact that no Indian is interested in safeguarding our national, and endangered animal. Insult, insult.
And there's this bit where Kelsey is in Mumbai and she sees all these exotic body-paint shops and palm-reading and whatever. Since I wasn't paying much attention by this point, I had to shuffle back a few pages. WHAT? When did she time-travel? There was no mention of centuries dropping away in between?
FYI, Mumbai is an enormous city with buildings everywhere. Flats, corporate offices, etc. You'll find street vendors, selling...Reebok. Adidas. Fake Gucci and Armani bags. Icecreams and jeans and little jewelry stands and pirated CDs and porno and such. BUT NOT PALM-READING, or exotic body-painting shops. You don't even find that stuff these days in rural India, albeit very very rarely. And the only tattoo-place in Mumbai is pretty hi-fi. Sorry. Wrong information, I'd like to kill the editor now, please.
India is a country very difficult to describe, especially for foreigners. Why say foreigners? I'm a South Indian who finds it difficult to describe North India. I admire the author for taking the effort, and pulling off quite a bit of it, but when it comes to important bits like mythology and tigers, which your book is entirely based on, you should do better research than this, right? Don't leave the orthodox Hindus wondering where the mythology came from. It's okay if you skip the occassional Hindi narrative (for the record, I don't think anyone says "my prema". My "priya" yes. "Prem" is the word for love, but we don't use it like "my love")
And THE ACTION? I spent too much time getting bored out of mind to get into the action.


VERDICT: Good cover. Read it if you know nothing about Indian culture. Please picture Ren orange if you can.



Comments

  1. I haven't read this books! From your review it sounds like I should skip it. I have seen it- but haven't heard very many review about it. I appreciate the honest review.

    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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  2. okay so I was going to buy this book beacause I liked the cover but I wasn't sure so I put it back. Then I was thinking about getting it from the library and then purchasing it later if I liked it but now I think I will just pass thanks for saving me I owe you one.

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  3. @Fairday: Thanks, I love your giveaway btw :)
    @ Joie: Yeah, give it a pass unless you're utterly, totally, desperately into twilight.

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