Monday 14 November 2011

Review: Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Quest (Tiger Saga Series #2)Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest-this time with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them.


Book 2 in the Tiger series
The quest to free the two Indian princes from their curse continues in this second book in the series. Kelsey has moved back home to Colorado, but has been given her own house, college is paid for, and she has a generous allowance to live on. She has decided to continue to help the princes by conducting research from afar while she tries to sort out her confused feelings about Ren, and throws herself into her studies and resuming a normal life again. But when Ren shows up in Colorado determined to win her back again, it is only the start of the complicated battle of emotion between them. I just adore Ren, who is beautiful, sweet, generous, patient and understanding and who fusses over Kelsey like a mother hen! He keeps gazing at Kelsey with his lovely blue eyes and quirky smile and finding reasons to hold her or touch her hair, making Kelsey (and me) melt. Not to mention literally fighting off other guys for her.

The course of true love definitely doesn't run easily for Kelsey and Ren, with struggles and separations, and as Kelsey continues on the next stage of their quest with Ren's brother Kishan, the two of them grow close and complicate things even further. Kishan is very much devoted to Kelsey, but torn between whether he is protecting Kelsey for his own sake or looking after his brother's girl. The former bad boy with his rogueish charm is haunted by the decisions he made years ago and plagued by guilt. When the two brothers are together it brings out the worst side of Kishan- he is all cockiness and posturing, but when he is travelling alone with Kelsey we see a completely different side to him- a tenderness and vulnerability, and a sense that all he really wants is some stability.

The love triangle aspect of the story is done so well- we really get a sense of Kishan's personality before he declares his love for her. Even when Ren and Kelsey are separated and she and Kishan are off travelling together, she still has dreams about Ren and their communication through these dreams is so moving and a real affirmation of their relationship. But Kishan also has dreams of a future where he is with Kelsey, and the bliss he feels in these dreams confuses him even further, and gives us a real insight into the depth of his desire for Kelsey, and his wish for the future he glimpsed in his vision to become real. We can see how painful it is for him to step aside, and help Ren- so that he doesn't repeat the mistakes of his past.

One of the things I loved about the first book was all the vivid detailing and description throughout, however, I did start to find this a little bit wearing in book 2. I wanted to scream at Kelsey sometimes- "I don't care what you had for dinner, and what he had for dinner, and all about these different tourist sites you visited while you're trying to blend in- Ren has been kidnapped, you need to rescue him, lets go- just get on with it!". There were some parts in the middle where there was just no urgency! That was my only major complaint about this book. It just seemed like the author wanted to show off how much research she had put into the book, but it damaged the flow of the story. I still do love the descriptions and little details, and did again love the beautiful writing and the way that everything is always so well explained, giving us a real sense of both the Indian jungles and the mystical places that the characters travel to. But in moderation!

I love feisty, intelligent Kelsey, but have to say that her biggest flaws are her stubbornness and her inability to see the truth right in front of her eyes. She is also quite isolated, constantly pushing others away, and has very few friends because of this. When she starts at University she doesn't have any old friends to keep in touch with, she barely lets her foster parents know that she has come back from India, and she spends the first term pretty much on her own, burying herself in studying and research. She regards Ren, Kishan and their guardian Mr. Kadam as her family though, and puts all her trust in them completely. She only really comes into her own while she is India with these friends.

Tiger's Quest is an absolutely wonderful novel, filled with magic and adventure. This really is a fantastically imaginative story with visits into other worlds, magical creatures both good and bad, and stories and legends from other cultures and realms. Kelsey gets to travel the world, meeting all kinds of people, and creatures, enduring trials and challenges, using skill and intelligence to solve puzzles and working together with the brothers to lift an ancient curse. She storms a fortress, fights seriously evil bad guys, and develops a useful power of her own. This really is a quest story with a difference, it is magical and action packed. The thing I love most about it though is the bond between the main characters and the confusing relationships between them. I love the way that the author can pull on your heartstrings so completely, in the way that Ren and Kelsey's story develops with a passionate love and a crushing loss. After a fraught rollercoaster of emotions the book ends on a heartbreaking note. This is one of those books that I can't stop thinking about long after I've finished reading it. I definitely can't wait to continue on with Kelsey's story in book 3, but I'm so confused now, who do I like more- white tiger Ren or black tiger Kishan?

Rest of the series

Book 1 in this series is called Tiger's Quest (Read my 5 star review of it here), and book 3 in the series is called Tiger's Voyage. This has just been published 1st November 2011 and I'm very excited to read it very soon.


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