“Tiger’s Curse” – A Modern Gothic Romance (again)

Book Review : Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Spoiler Alert!

Kelsey lives with her foster family, who are kind people, and she feels an affection for them. As a teenager she has avoided close relationships as a result of her parents’ deaths. Unsure of what she wants to do as a career she finds a temporary job working at the circus. One of her duties includes helping care for the tiger, Dhiren (Ren). Kelsey finds herself drawn to the tiger and will sit down next to his cage reading to him and talking. Finally, she can no longer resist and she gently pets Ren through the bars of his cage, and much to her surprise he seems to purr in response to her touch.

Kelsey is introduced to a wealthy business man from India,  Mr. Kadam, who has purchased Ren from the circus to place him in a tiger preserve. Kelsey is given the opportunity to travel to India to continue her care of the tiger and help him settle into the preserve. Once there she is abandoned in a remote area with only the tiger, Ren, who seems to be insisting that she follow him into the jungle. Hopelessly lost she depends upon the tiger who takes her to a guru’s shack where he reveals that he is, in fact, a man who has been placed under a curse 300 years ago. The Indian hermit declares that Kelsey is the one Ren and his brother, Kishan, have been waiting for who might be able to lift the curse and that she is favored by the goddess Durga.

Though angry at the deception, Kelsey feels a strong commitment to help Ren return to his normal form. Through the clues that Mr. Kadam has researched, Kells and Ren head off into the mystical world of Indian mythology to follow the prophesy that will restore the tigers.

Adult Point of View

I can’t believe I am reading another book with an orphan!

There are two distinct sections to this book. 1- The love interest. 2- The adventure.

1- The love interest is much in the vein of Twilight with Kells swooning, “He is too beautiful, I am not worthy to be with him. He should go find another good enough for him. I will help him for friendship sake, but MAN does he look fine.” I am extremely tired of such trite beginnings and romances.

Ren is something of a Byronic hero, though more gentle than most with his thoughtful nature. Ren’s brother, Kishan, is definitely from the mold of a Byronic hero with his sordid past and dark brooding nature. As many books do, Tiger’s Curse, has the situational ethics of sleeping arrangements, with Kells always using “her tiger” as a pillow and cuddling to be warm in the jungle. I personally find this to be an annoying trend. I would also like to mention that Kelsey gets shortened to “Kells”, and Bella was called “Bells” at one point in the Twilight series, rhyming protagonists names creates an even greater parallel between these two series and left me groaning.

2- The adventure side of Tiger’s Curse seemed more original than the love interest, though rushed in each twist and complication. I would have preferred to get to the adventure more quickly and get to spend more time on the quest. The first big adventure reminds me of an Indiana Jones movie and was fun to imagine the logistics. I am not overly familiar with the Indian pantheon and that added to my interest level, though there were supernatural elements from other cultures thrown that could be disconcerting.

I didn’t feel that the writing was the most amazing ever, but it was a fun read. Most teen girls will absolutely love Tiger’s Curse and will love swooning over Ren and his brother, Kishan. It would fit under the genre of a Modern Gothic Romance because of the supernatural curse, the appearance of Durga, the brooding hero needing to be saved by the female and the eerie setting while on the quest. Mr. Kadam acts as a source of wisdom and the hermit as the religious figure. (Other books reviewed in this Gothic vein include, Twilight, Jane Eyre, A Discovery of Witches, The Summoning and Nightshade.)

3 out of 5 stars (I would have rated it higher if the romance had been original.)

– the Mother

Tiger’s Quest, still follows the romantic plot line in Twilight, yikes. Once again, the beginning was a slow start and it really gets interesting once they are in India again.

Teen Point of View

I loved this book so much! I disliked how much Kelsey pushed away Ren in their relationship. I personally thought that she should give up and just love him. I love how sweet Ren is and how he loves poetry and music. I thought the story line was very unique and thrilling. I can’t wait for the next books to come out and am considering buying the series myself! I suggest this book to all teenagers who like action and a little romance. It’s good for both genders.

4 out of 5 stars

-the Daughter

Tiger’s Quest runs in the same vein as Tiger’s Curse, but now Kelsey is thrown into the arms of Kishan, as Ren has been captured. The moral dilemnas continue and I still would prefer to see more adventure rather than rushing through the most creative portions of the novel. All young girls should know the rule, ‘You don’t kiss the brother of the man that you proclaim to love’ such behavior is considered to be wrong, though Kelsey has no problem with kissing anybody as a reward.

Kishan would be more typical, than Ren, as a Byronic hero because he has the melodramatic past and seems to need to be saved by the innocent female protagonist. The adventure in Shangri-La was fun though could be confusing because mythological beings from all different world cultures are present. The tree of life was particularly interesting as Kelsey and Kishan travel up through the levels.

– the Mother

Tiger’s Voyage, runs in the same vein as the previous two in the series. The adventure portion doesn’t start until half way through, which is not soon enough for me in this case. In this book I am now annoyed with Ren, and his behavior. I continue to be sick of Kelsey, who is a terrible tease and thoughtlessly hurts the men she “loves”.  And, finally, Kishan seems to have had a change of character compared to his previous wild, bad boy personality – now he is reserved and patient, though not annoying.

The adventure is so creative and fun I would still rate the book three stars, but I am not loving the main characters. I usually love the relationships in books, I wish Houck had developed the ideas behind the characters more thoroughly. Generally, I have found that I will love a book when the characters are well written even if the plot is fairly predictable. Tiger’s Voyage is the opposite scenario.

If you are a teenage girl you will probably love the series.

– the Mother

(Sorry, I couldn’t get the picture to load for Tiger’s Destiny)

Book Review : Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck

Spoiler Alert!

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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

I am so happy I don’t have to read anymore about Kelsey. I found her to be one of the cruelest women in these modern romance novels because she was stringing along both Ren and Kishan. Her other major annoying faults were being whiny and overly insecure. Ren and Kishan’s characters did not stay true to their original personalities which I found made me feel more disconnected to them.

You might be asking why I even bothered to read this final book. It’s redeeming quality was the world mythology that was incorporated and the quest/adventure sections are fun. I couldn’t believe that Houck incorporated a new version of vampires in the adventure, and I would have preferred something else. The “birth” of Durga becoming a goddess was a good explanation of the many versions of her personality and reasonable to imagine this is how ancient people may have created some of their deity from real heroes.

If you have loved the series you will love the final installment and cheer for the nicely tied up package. I would try reading something else by this author, but I hope she can improve her writing with the characters and have a better plot. Her strength was actually in creating a vivid adventure.

3 out of 5 stars

I would give it more stars if Kelsey didn’t annoy me so terribly.

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I just knew she was going to go back to Ren. Too predictable!

If you liked these books I would recommend you try book by Cinda Williams Chima, like the Seven Realms series and try Cast of Stones, A The Staff and the Sword series by Patrick W. Carr.

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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