Thursday, 16 December 2010
Review: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
Publisher: Clarion Books
Released: November 15th, 2010
Grade rating: B/B+
Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems. Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too... and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.
I got about 50 pages into Tyger Tyger and almost put it down. I was so close to leaving it, and I even asked my Twitter friends if it would get better any time soon. They told me to stick with it, so I did. And it did get better, very soon in fact. There's a time jump of about 3 months, and after that is when things really get going. Goblins appear, along with drama, explanations and edge-of-your-seat excitement. I pretty much disregarded the shaky start, and I'm very glad I kept reading.
Tyger Tyger has a great side to it, and that's the Celtic mythology and lore that is prevalent throughout. I did get confused a few times, thanks to all the legends and names to remember and recognise. I also felt the story suffered from too much backstory, which isn't usually a complaint of mine. It's one of those books that needs your undivided attention (or at least it was in my case), which I wasn't expecting at all. Another thing that bothered me was Teagan's brother's sudden ability to converse by using sign language. Convenient or what? I know Teagen knew it because of her work with monkeys and animals in a zoo, but just how and why did Aiden know it?
As a main character, Teagan, or Tea as she's known, is average. She's not overly memorable, but she carries the story and has some pretty hot chemistry with Finn, the Mac Cumhaill. Don't worry that that makes no sense, all will become clear if you read the book. Basically Finn fights goblins and keeps people safe, in a super-cool "I rock" way, and his ancestry is woven deep into the fascinating Irish folklore. Him and Teagan have a somewhat normal relationship for a fantasy paranormal story, and are relatively realistic with their feelings and timing. I liked Teagan and Finn, as well as Aiden, but I couldn't warm to Teagan's best friend Abby. Wow, did she irritate me! Mind you, I usually don't get on with people like that (loud, overly confident etc.) in real life, so a fictional equivalent was never going to get on my good side.
The actual creatures in this book, Cat-Sidhe's, sprites and other fantastical people, were what made it for me. Anything like that fascinates me (I have a faery/dragon/small creature obsession), so Tyger Tyger was right up my street in that aspect. Once I was passed those dreaded first 50 pages, I didn't put it down - the pace picked up, the writing was intense and I actually rooted for the characters. Plus, the Celtic mythology was interesting enough to make me look it up online for some further research.
Tyger Tyger is the first book in the Goblin Wars series, and I can honestly say I'm glad there will be more. I think book 2 will get right into the swing of things from page 1, and hopefully a few of my remaining questions will be answered. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy and the paranormal, but I'd tell you to prepare for a slightly disappointing start. After that, all will be well!