Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Tiger's CurseA review by Jade Hounsell

Tiger’s Curse introduces Kelsey, who has been living with a wonderful foster family since her parent’s death in a car accident four years previously. She is still struggling to come to terms with her loss and has built up walls of defence around herself that no one seems to be able to break through. Kelsey has just finished school and needs a job, as she wants to attend college the next year. When a temporary job working for a travelling circus becomes available she takes it, even though it means leaving her foster family for a couple of weeks. One of her responsibilities for her new job is to help feed the circus’s white tiger, Dhiren, whom she nicknames Ren. Kelsey feels drawn to Ren, relating to his loneliness and spends every spare moment sitting and talking or reading to him instead of spending time socializing with other people.

A mysterious stranger, Mr, Kadam, arrives at the circus in the hopes of being able to purchase Dhiren on behalf of his employer who owns a tiger sanctuary in India. Once the circus agrees to sell Ren, Mr. Kadam then asks who would be best to accompany the tiger back to India, and Kelsey is recommended. So with the offer of a huge pay package, all accommodation and expenses paid for and the chance to spend more time with Ren (to ensure his well being), Kelsey accepts.

This is the start of a very weird and wonderful journey that changes her life forever. Not long after arriving in India, Kelsey and Ren are abandoned on a remote jungle roadside and Kelsey has no means of contacting Mr. Kadam for help. She then makes the decision to follow her tiger further into the jungle, (of course! Coz that’s what every sane person does!), and it’s there that she discovers that her tiger is actually a man, a Prince of India, no less. Prince Dhiren has been cursed to live as a tiger for the last 300 years, only being allowed 24 minutes each 24 hours in which he can become human.

In his short amount of time, Ren convinces Kelsey that she is the one to help him lift this curse (it probably helps that Ren is a superb specimen of a male) and free him and his brother Kishan whom is also under the same curse. It becomes known after a visit to an Indian shaman that Kelsey has been chosen for this particular quest by the goddess Durga. It is prophesised that when Kelsey fulfils four quests then she will not only break the brothers curse but will also help the masses of India as well (Guessing that’s why there are four books in the series wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)

Ok, so bad me read a few reviews on-line before I received these books. It seemed to me that there were only two categories of reviews, those who absolutely loved them and those whom absolutely hated them. Now having read the first two in the series, I have to say that I fall somewhere in the middle. They are not the best books I have ever read but they really are far from the worst. The simplicity of the writing are what most people seemed to hate about them but they also have to understand that these books are aimed at the young adult audience, so knowing this the simplicity didn’t bother me at all. In fact they were a very easy read as there were not 20 pages describing what somebody was wearing or feeling. Don’t get me wrong, books like that can be fantastic, however if you are like me, you don’t always have the brain function or concentration to deal with that. Also I do have to say that the books have cliff-hanger endings and it really does leave me wanting more!

Tiger’s Curse on the publisher’s website

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011.  This blog has been pre-dated to reflect the date of original publication.