It’s been a long time in coming, but today I finished up Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan.
In full disclosure, Annie and I are friends and co-admins on the YA Fantasy Addicts Facebook group. I also received an ARC of this book from the publisher (that’s why it’s a long time in coming, cause I’m a little behind. Sorry Harper Collins!)
That doesn’t mean I’ll be any less honest or true in my review, though.
You can check out her other book A Touch of Gold or learn more about Tiger Queen on her website.
Anyone feel like a Cheeseburger?
How about a Monte Cristo? Philly Cheesesteak? BLT? Turkey Club?
Well, I feel like a sandwich.
So that’s what you’re going to get: the good ole sandwich method.
If you’ve never heard of it, it means I’m going to say something nice, talk about what I didn’t like, and say something nice again.
See, it’s a sandwich.
Though usually the good stuff is the meat, and that it’s in the center, but with the sandwich method, the center is the not so nice and………
Whatever. Let’s hop to it!
Tiger Queen Book Review
The Top Bun
Let’s start with the top bun. What is my favorite?
I like the kind with the little onion bits on top, though I’m not a fan of sesame seeds.
Oh…you meant my favorite part of the book. I got you. *wink*
Tiger Queen starts with a bang and I absolutely love that.
I’ve read so many books lately that start with about 5 chapters worth of information before I get to anything remotely considered exciting.
But Annie Sullivan wastes no time in getting right down to the action in Tiger Queen.
The book opens with our hero, Kateri, watching as a small boy, a Desert Boy (a criminal), is dropped into the arena and given the choice of two doors. Behind one is a tiger and behind the other is some supplies.
Choose the wrong door and the boy is dead, receiving the punishment for his crimes. But choose the correct door and he’ll be set free with some loot for his trouble.
Stealing water from the wells of the city.
You see, Kateri’s city has been suffering through a drought for many years and everyone is limited to a certain amount of water per day. To take more water than you are due is treasonous, endangers the life of the entire city, and is punishable by death.
I won’t spoil what door he chooses and what follows.
But the arena isn’t only used for punishment, it’s also used for sport.
In Kateri’s case, she fights in the arena to win the approval of her father, her people, and to defeat her potential suitors.
Should any one of them best her, they will claim her right to the throne and she will be forced to wed the future king. But should she prevail in defeating all her suitors, she will claim her birthright and her dead mother’s crown.
Perhaps in this analogy the meat wasn’t cooked to perfection. Is that how the sandwich method works?
You asked for medium well and got rare or well done? Who knows, and who cares. *shrug*
The part of Tiger Queen that let me down the most was coincidentally the middle of the book.
Maybe that’s why I chose the sandwich method in the first place. Hmm….
It starts off all right. But quickly gets repetitive.
Kateri is training for her final bout in the arena against her final suitor, a man who is stronger and better than her in every way.
And while the training types vary, the situations surrounding them are the same, and Kateri’s progress through them follows the same pattern.
The man that is training Kateri says he has a surprise for Kateri every few chapters and it’s always to reveal some new aspect of the group she’s aligned herself with. And that aspect tends to be frivolous and unrealistic given the rough set of circumstances that have befallen them.
I was actually inclined to enjoy these moments early on, until they kept coming up. “I have a surprise for you.” “Another surprise.”
However, if you can look past the repetitive nature of her training, the story that’s going on in the background is superb and a magical adventure.
The Bottom Bun
I’d say that once you get to the 70-75% mark of Tiger Queen, it’s such a whirlwind of a tale that you won’t be able to put the book down until you reach the very end.
The plot twists, the discoveries, the threads all neatly getting tied up, the action, the sword fighting, the high stakes/high adrenaline moments will keep your blooding pumping and your fingers actively turning the pages.
There were a few twists in Tiger Queen that I saw coming, but even those twists had explanations I didn’t foresee.
So while I was right on the overall outcome, I had guessed wrong on the motivations behind the outcome.
That surprise made for a refreshing twist to the twist.
If you’re like me and you’re constantly making guesses as you read a book, then Tiger Queen might just be the right book for you.
There is a romance subplot for you romance lovers, but be aware that it doesn’t even really begin to take fruition until about the 60% mark of the story.
Hang in there, it’s worth it thought it is a pretty slow-burn romance.
You’ve probably read enough books where the girl and guy are pining for each other in Chapter 2. It’s time for some more realistic romance that takes awhile to kindle, but when it ignites, it blazes strong and true.
Anyone else out there love to read the Acknowledgements?
Ooo oo me!
I read them for every book.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the YA Fantasy Addicts Facebook Group is given a shout out in the acknowledgements.
But I was perhaps more astonished to see my name there among a list of many others.
Annie truly is a wonderful author and a fantastic person. If you’d like to get to know her, come join us on Facebook in the YA Fantasy Addicts group.
Tiger Queen gets a solid 4/5 stars from me and is a worthy read for any YA Fantasy fan.
Looking for more great books?
Check out this list of the Best YA Fantasy Books.