Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck, Book #2 in the Tiger’s Curse series, a.k.a the Tiger Saga. Read my review of Book #1, Tiger’s Curse, here. Source: Library. Format: Paperback, 479 pages, Splinter, Sterling Pubishing Co., Inc., 2013.
Tiger’s Quest is such an improvement, considering how all-over-the-map the first book, Tiger’s Curse, was. Curse was illogical and Kelsey, the protagonist, was insufferable when she started feeling like she wasn’t good enough for Ren, her white tiger/Indian prince. Quest, the second book in Colleen Houck’s fantasy series, gets Kelsey back to her normal spunky self (for the most part; she’s still annoying and stupid in some instances). She’s had time to cool down from all the adventures in Book 1. Her head’s in a different place now that she’s back home in Oregon, attending college, and meeting other people. No magical curses to break here… But just when Kelsey starts to really get used to “normal” life again, Ren shows up at her door and is determined to make her see her errors that had me so flipping frustrated in the last book. The beginning of Tiger’s Quest is hilarious. And… then everything goes to hell. Bliss couldn’t last long, it seems.
Tiger’s Quest takes Kelsey back to India, this time on a journey with Kishan, the black tiger/younger Indian prince, and Mr. Kadam, the princes’ most trusted aide and who is definitely a grandfather figure to Kelsey as well as a fairy godfather who has all the solutions to everything. (That’s cheating, or, if not cheating, way too convenient. Got a plot hole? Mr. Kadam can fix it!) The three continue to try and break the ancient curse on Ren and Kishan. These adventures (the climbing Mount Everest bit was so random) were not as memorable as the highly unconvincing ones from the previous book (those ones felt pretty far-fetched), and the big battle against the series’ villain, Lokesh, was strangely handled by Houck: the battle was told by the characters after it had happened; we didn’t see it first-hand. It was odd and not compelling. I didn’t feel engaged in what could have been and probably was the biggest event in Tiger’s Quest. Lokesh himself we barely saw. He became a background threat once the story moved back to India–he was happy just chilling at his secret headquarters, doing nothing much besides torturing Ren (and we don’t see any of that first-hand, just hear about it after it’s happened).
I liked the mythology that was woven (erm, maybe more like dumped) throughout the book, a mixture of Hindu and Greek mythology, with some more Asian mythologies thrown into the mix. I wasn’t expecting fauns to pop up in India, but I did like the scenes Kelsey and Kishan spent among the fairies because they weren’t as angst-y and let our characters rejuvenate briefly.
And the romance… I loved how Kelsey stayed faithful to Ren the entire time. Ren, held prisoner and tortured for information on Kelsey (she’s got crazy talent now: she can shoot bolts of lightning from her hands! Lokesh wants to use her for his own messed-up deeds…), was always a constant in her heart, and even when Kishan admitted his own feelings toward her and they had obvious chemistry and mutual feelings of trust, she still didn’t forget about Ren. Kishan was so great in this book. He had his own demons, he wanted desperately to be happy for once in his life, he was charming, funny, and so caring. He wasn’t obsessed-in-love with Kelsey like Ren was, and I thought that he, Kishan, and Kelsey had a wonderfully balanced relationship. I just know that Kelsey will end up with Ren in the end, but I want Kishan to be happy, too. My feelings were a crazy mess while reading this book. Things got a bit too dramatic at times, but I still enjoyed it!
And then that end… I saw it coming, but it was anguishing to go through it with Kelsey. I wonder how long it’ll take in the next book(s) for everything to get back to normal between the characters? Overall, I laughed, I gasped, I groaned, I eye-rolled, I eyebrow-raised, I scoffed, I yawned, I choked-up. Some parts were pretty ridiculous, what with the illogical and meandering plot and the downpour of emotions. But this was so much better than its prequel and I’m anxiously speculating what’s going to go down in Book 3, Tiger’s Voyage. ♦
About Colleen Houck:
New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.