Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World Building: 8/10

Writing Style: 9/10

Character Building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

A Heart-Breaking Story Run by Emotional Heaviness

Tiger Lily is the kind of book that I would call a hidden treasure. When I started reading it, I really did not know much about it. But it surprised me in the most wonderful way with the beautifully heart-breaking story, raw emotions, immense creativity, magical world-building, and most of all, a writing style that speaks to your soul.

The story is a retelling of Peter Pan, and I definitely loved this tale much more than the original one. Although it takes place in a magical world of Neverland, the fantastical aspects of the book were easy to forget since the story explores real issues that are easily relatable and always important. Moreover, the unique narration makes it such a beautiful and really sad story which stays with the reader for a long time to come. Although the main character of the book is Tiger Lily, who is a young girl on the verge of growing up, we see her wild nature, rebellious personality, and hidden vulnerability through the eyes of a fairy Tinkerbell, who does not participate in the story much, she is merely an observer. Tiger Lily lives in a tribe where her desire to hunt and run wild is not easily understood, and in order to suppress her wild nature, she has to fulfill an old promise that her father made by marrying a boy who is brutal and nothing like her. However, her clear path towards marriage is disrupted when she meets Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. With them, Tiger Lily is allowed to run wild, be happy, and feel much more than she ever thought she was capable of. Therefore, Tiger Lily tries to find a balance between her life in a tribe and her hidden one with the Lost Boys.

After attempting to describe the book, I realised that it became an immensely difficult task to do so. The greatness of the book comes not from the plot or the wonderful characters (however, they do add quite much to the story), but what really makes the reader connect with it is the hidden feeling behind every sentence. You do not merely read the scenes, you feel them. And you recognise the unfairness as well as the beauty of the world in the little moments that are impossible to describe. With Tinkerbell’s ability to read thoughts and emotions of people she is observing, the reader is made aware of the emotional state of different characters, this narration adding so much to the story as a whole.

I do not want to spoil anything more about the story, so I will not be going into more detail. However, I will tell you this: I loved how the story is always bittersweet. We get really magnificent moments of happiness, but we see the sadness hidden behind it. We see both the good and the bad sides of all the characters. And we are given an ending that makes you wonder if it was one of the most beautiful happy endings or the most heart-breaking ones.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough. More like this one should exist. Whether you are a fan of fairy tales or not, whether you adore fantasy or not, this book cannot be put into the frames of merely one genre. It is all and none at all. And most of all, it is not read but felt.

Book Playlist

  1. Tom Odell – Constellations
  2. Feist – Cicadas and Gulls
  3. Finding Neverland Cast – When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground
  4. David Gray – Sail Away
  5. Angus & Julia Stone – Crash and Burn

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 9/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 8/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

A Court of Thrones and Roses is a wonderful and captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling, with a rich Fae world building, great characterisations, and plots and twists that are impossible to see coming. It is the second Maas’s series, and the complexity and richness of the Fae world have improved immensely compared to Throne of Glass.

I avoided reading this book for months, having been too exhausted and annoyed with the Throne of Glass series. After finally starting it, I saw the similarities with the first series, recognised the themes that I usually do not particularly like, acknowledged the beastly behaviour of the love interest, and the over-the-top love story. And yet, this book broke all my prejudices and bend all my rules, and made me enjoy every single moment of the story.

The book starts with the main character Fayre killing a wolf, who is actually a Fae in an animal form. Having been starving for the most part of her life, she is a huntress who provides food for her family, and is filled with hate and resentment towards her father and older sisters for not taking care of her, and especially for the Fae race, who terrorises the mortal lands and leaves humans vulnerable and suffering. But one day, a wild Fae beast appears demanding justice for the killed Fae, and takes Fayre to Prythian, the lands of the Fae, to live the rest of her life among the immortal beings that Fayre hates. Of course, she finds that nothing is as it seems, and Tamlin, the Fae lord who has taken Fayre, is much kinder than she has thought a Fae could be. Moreover, there are many secrets surrounding the place that she lives at now, and many existing threats and twists in the storyline takes the heroine on a wild and life-changing journey, and provides the reader with an incredible romance.

I usually do not find Fantasy books with so much focus on romance to be that captivating. Somehow everything worked in this one. I was enthralled in the shift from hate to love between Fayre and Tamlin, captivated by their wonderful relationship, and was rooting for the characters so much. Of course, being late to the party, I was aware of certain spoilers from the second highly praised book, especially with the love everyone seemed to possess for a character Rhysand. And while reading ACOTAR, I just did not understand how my opinion could change about a cruel character Rhysand, or the very lovable beast Tamlin. Tamlin and Fayre’s relationship was thrilling and primal, and most of all, it was about two wounded souls finding ability to love. I adored every minute of the relationship, with every single moment surprising me about it. I am never a huge fan of such romance-focused fantasy, especially the instant kind, and Maas somehow was able to break every rule I live by.

But the aspect that I enjoyed the most was the rich world building. Compared to Throne of Glass, ACOTAR has such a rich and captivating Fae world build-up, with so many details and different traditions, that I was constantly impressed with Maas’s skills. She definitely has tremendous talent in creating amazing characters and a plot that is able to shift at any minute.

Where the most part of the book was quite foreseen, the last third came as a total surprise. I started liking certain characters more, changing my opinion about others, and most of all, I respected the author for never being afraid to take things too far. So now, after finishing the book, I have trouble processing every single thing that happened during this wild ride, I cannot wait to read the second book, that is apparently even better that the first one, and most of all, I want to know why everyone is so obsessed with Rhysand and why nobody talks about Tamlin anymore. Rhys’s character definitely grew on me in the last bit of the book, but I am not sure what has to happen in order for me to change the opinion about who I am rooting for.

Overall, it is one of the best retellings of Beauty and the Beast. However, the story world is so much richer, that describing it merely as a retelling, does not do the book justice. I definitely saw all the flaws in the book, like over-the-top romance, unnecessary sexual scenes, silly reasoning, and stupidity, but I did not care, because somehow I loved every single moment of this incredible story.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? I eagerly await to hear your opinion.

 

Book Playlist

  1. Midnight Choir – Muddy River of Loneliness
  2. Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page
  3. Magnolia Electric Co – Leave the City
  4. Bastille – Torn Apart
  5. Giant Sand – Spiral

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Book Review

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Ratings

4 stars

Plot: 7/10

World building: 8/10

Writing style: 9/10

Character building: 9/10

Enjoyment: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

My Opinionated Review

Cruel Beauty was a surprisingly captivating story. I have not expected to like this story as much as I did, especially since I was never planning to pick this book up. But this well-written blend of Beauty and the Beast retelling and Greek mythology has completely sucked me in and would not let me go until I finished the story. I was confused half the time, hardly understanding what is going on, not even trying to guess how it is going to end, and half the time getting lost in a passionate, dangerous and complex romance. This book is nothing like I have ever read before, it was so different, so weird and so mysterious that somehow, everything seemed to work perfectly.

The story is about Nyx, a young girl who is promised to be a bride of a monster that has been terrorising the town she lives in. Her mission is to do whatever she has to until she kills the beast. Since she is one of the twins that were chosen for sacrifice their life for the future of the townsfolk, Nyx has quite a lot of bitterness and anger bottled up inside her. Of course, after the marriage, her seemingly terrifying husband is not what Nyx was expecting, taking her on a journey where she has to make really tough decisions and sacrifices in the process.

I will not attempt to describe the book in more detail since I believe it is worth going to the story blind. I just want to ensure you that the first impression of this novel might not be the greatest, but sticking with it pays off later on.

It is so refreshing to read unusual Beauty and the Beast type of story, where the heroine is not simply an altruistic innocent girl, but a complex strong character, having her moments of heroism as well as darkness. Nyx was a wonderful female lead, full of witty remarks and rebellious spirit, strong and loving, but also filled with hate and resentment. Moreover, the Beast was not just simply misunderstood, but a character who was able to show heroism as well as villainy. He was complex, he was evil and yet he was not, and nothing was so simple. It was just refreshing.

The dynamic between Nyx and Ignifex was the most entertaining part of the book. Although I often have problems with some kind of enemy lover storyline where the love interest actually indulges in bad actions, this time, the romantic plot brought me only joy. Mainly because the heroine actually acknowledged that Ignifex is a monster, she was aware of his impurity, and aware that she was no angel as well. And having such a strong and self-aware female lead completely changes the dynamics of the allure of an enemy-lover type of romance. Because all the power was in Nyx’s, not the Ignifex’s hands.

Apart from all the good and captivating storylines, there were quite a few moments that just seemed a little bit too weird, even for this book. The completely twisted weirdest love triangle type of thing, the constantly changing mystery of a house, and very complex historical/magical background that was hard to follow. Yet somehow, everything made sense and the things that did not – did not matter. This is how the enemy-turned-lover books are supposed to be written, with passion, and colourful dialogue, and equality ground from both sides. This is also how a great fantasy book is supposed to be created, where it is impossible to guess the final outcome. I have trouble fully understanding the ending, and the whole book world, even after finishing the story.

Overall, my low expectations of the book left me completely surprised and enchanted with the story. I have laughed and cried, was entwined in mystery and passion, and overall, glad that I decided to read this story. If more authors would create such strong and complex female leads…

It is a weird story, it does not have the expected plot and does not follow the familiar structure. But after you get used to the weirdness, the book has so much to offer. So whether you love fantasy, or a captivating enemy-lover type of romance, or just like the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I would recommend picking this underdog up.

Book Playlist

  1. Snow Patrol – What If The Storm Ends
  2. Hozier – Arsonist’s Lullaby
  3. Sophie Zelmani – Stay With My Heart
  4. David Gray – The Other Side
  5. Regina Spector – The Sword & the Pen