Friday, July 5, 2013
by Colleen Houck
When Kelsey Hayes starts her temp job with a circus, she doesn't expect it to change her life. She likes the people, works hard for them, and helps take care of some of the animals, including Dhiren the tiger, or Ren, as she calls him. Drawn to his majesty, she often sits and talks to him. As her temporary position with the circus nears it's end, an outsider decides to buy the tiger, and offers Kelsey a job taking care of Ren on the trip back to India. Amazed at this opportunity, Kelsey accepts the job, travels to India with the tiger, and promptly gets lost in the jungle on the way to the wild animal reserve. With only a tiger (and no cage!) and a backpack, she is on her own.
Not having much choice in the matter, she decides to follow Ren as he walks through the jungle. Since he has never threatened her, she feels safer with him than being alone in a mysterious place. After traveling a few days, they find a little hut in the jungle. Grateful for any sign of other people Kelsey ties Ren to a tree, and then moves toward the hut. When she looks back at the tree, to make sure Ren is alright, there isn't a tiger there, but a man. Handsome and smiling, he tries to convince Kelsey that he is Ren. For centuries, he has been under a curse to be a tiger and she is helping to lift the spell by her presence. This starts off a journey of lifting ancient curses, betrayal, brothers and love.
This was a great book for a look at a different mythology or religion than normal. I loved the trip to India, and all the culture and mythologies that are examined. We have Percy Jackson to do the Greek, Roman and Egyptian, and this is almost like the Indian version of that. Not quite the same, but still a great twist on Indian culture.
So, I really liked Kelsey for most the book. Strong, adventurous woman. Good head on her shoulders, practical, and kind. But toward the end of the book, she starts doubting herself and her feelings, and is constantly putting herself down. I hated that part! Yes, she is trying to protect herself, but she is also being stubborn, blind, and not letting herself enjoy the moment. She still accomplishes her mission, but her attitude the entire time is so hard to read about.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book. Good characters, great plot, great setting. I just wish it had ended a little differently: not that the ending was bad, but it seemed drawn out. Kelsey and Ren travel, they accomplish step one of four, and then it drags out, and nothing else happens even though there's more chapters. Yes, I can see it setting up more stuff, and I realize that it sequels, but I just did not like the end. Hopefully, reading the next book will help both Kelsey's attitude and continue the story.
Overall, pretty good book. I will recommend mostly for girls, because it is told from a girl's perspective, plus all the romance involved. I think boys would have a hard time being interested in everything that goes on in her head. Since the sequel is out, that is good! No waiting for the next book! And the story was engaging and I really wanted to find out what happened next. Good for fans of the Percy Jackson series!