Well, I finally bit the bullet. I know there is a "Clean Up your TBR Pile" challenge going on for the month of March. Not being able to commit to the challenge, afraid of coming up short, I decided that I would only read books I have had on my pile. So even if I just received an older book, I would still not read it this month. So far, I have read one book and have been carrying around a stack of books with me from room to room trying to decide which one to read next. As this has been a really rough week work wise, I have not actually managed to read anything. Still...
We’re not here to talk about my woeful inadequacies. We are here to talk books. Well, at least I am. So, biting the bullet, I selected a book I have held onto for 2 ½ years. I have noticed a trend with myself. I can be all gung ho about a series, ripping through book after book, but when it gets down to the final volume, I stop short. I don’t know whether it is a fear of saying goodbye, knowing there is no more where that came from, fear of the series not ending as I imagine. It could be any or all of these things or some other reason unknown to me. I do have the same kind of issue with gift cards, by the way. I hate to use them because then I won’t have them anymore. And I might just want one in an emergency.
I've got issues.
So, I finally decided it was time to read Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck. I had tried to start it a couple of times previously, but I guess the timing wasn't right as I never got more than a chapter into the book. The final book starts in a less than an ideal situation that made me profoundly unhappy, so I chose to deal with it as best I could, by just turning away. It was unfortunate then, but I think now I was finally in a place where I could lend my full attention to the story and allow it to take me where it wanted me to go.
Oh yes, I railed. I was in a book-flinging mood for most of the story. I despaired of ever getting to my desired outcome for all the characters, my friends and family, for that’s what they had become after four books. I believe in just desserts. I also believe that those that are unworthy do not always receive their comeuppance. Sometimes the bad guys win and the good guys get the shaft. I didn't want to see that happen to the characters I had come to love so much.
The entire series was fraught with so much tension. So much misery befell our friends and sometimes it was hard to read on. I believed, though. No matter what our heroes encountered, of what fate had destined for them, no matter the hardship or heartbreak, and there was a lot, I never stopped believing that good would triumph in the end and everyone, both good and bad, would get what they deserved.
I will not tell you the outcome. Spoilers! And I will not give a scene by scene recitation. What I will tell you is why I am so passionate about this series. Warning: This is not my normal format for a review!!
First, I loved the world the author created. The majority of the story takes place in India now, but there are a lot of flashback sequences to fill in the back story on our Tiger princes and how they came to be cursed. It was a rich and vibrant canvas woven, every weft and weave clearly illuminated in the minutest detail. It is a beautiful world, one that I have enjoyed being in every minute of the journey.
Second, I loved the characters. They were open and honest to the reader. I felt I could understand them, I could feel their full range of emotions. I became absorbed in their lives. I took joy in their triumphs and despaired in their setbacks and I could feel their pain. I found I was talking to them, well, I say talking, I really mean yelling. Well, when I say characters, I mean only one. Specifically, Kelsey. She made me so angry most of the time, I found that I was yelling at her, for her stupidity, her stubbornness, her blindness, any number of things. I was so invested in their lives that I found it hard to step back.
The story itself was also so well constructed. There were ups and downs, victories and setbacks, love and hatred. It’s a mystery and a quest. How did the princes become cursed and how could the curse be broken? And how to succeed when the embodiment of all that is unholy is hot on your tail? Literally. I found I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. And once things started happening that were not according to my desires, I had to keep reading to see if the book would get back on track, if I could somehow affect the series unfolding on the page by the passion and strength of my will.
The emotions the story drew forth were very real and palpable. I felt angry at the misfortune beset upon our heroes and the acts of evil perpetrated upon them by the villain of the story. My heart raced at the danger my friends faced and I felt elated when they triumphed. I felt their heartbreak from love gone wrong. I was truly invested in their story and the outcome of their quest.
The story was so wonderfully written from beginning to end and I knew I would be despondent upon finishing the tale. As it turns out, after I started reading this final chapter, I saw that Ms. Houck is going to be adding another chapter to the story, Tiger’s Dream. And I cannot wait for that one to come out!
Tiger's Destiny (Book 4 in the Tiger's Curse Series) Hardcover – September 4, 2012
Book Description (From Amazon):
With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.
A smart phone tag code on the back cover links readers to the series website.