Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger Tyger
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Publisher: Clarion Books
Series: Goblin Wars #1
Pages: 322
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: November 15, 2010
How Received: Netgalley

SummaryTeagan 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 MacCumhaill arrives. Finn’s a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either’s he’s crazy or he’s been haunting Abby’s dreams, because he’s talking about goblins, too... and about being The MaCumhaill, 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.

My Thoughts:
The best thing about Tyger Tyger was the mythology that was drawn throughout the entire story. The fantasy-geek inside me went crazy with love for this books mythology. I absolutely mean it when I was say it was beyond riveting. There were goblins—which were essentially faeries—and shape-shifters and aingeals, and a plethora of other fascinating beings. This story drew out a lot of Celtic mythology—in fact, it was centered throughout the entire novel—and I felt myself becoming more interested in the mythology than Teagan’s quest. I especially loved that Finn was based on a real Fionn MacCumhail. I found myself wanting to hear more about the goblins and their ways of life.

I loved Teagan as a main character, because she reminded me of myself sometimes. Kersten outwardly states that Teagan doesn’t talk much—she’s more quiet and interested in her smarts, rather than anything else. So when I found out she doesn’t have many lines in the novel, it didn’t bother me; however, if it hadn’t of been stated, that would have been the first thing I complained about. Sometimes, it felt as though Aiden was there just to give Teagan voice. Aiden was very charming for a six year old, and very brave—I would have been terrified if I were facing goblins at age six. He’s inquisitive and actively tries not to be a burden. He was hardly ever annoying, and that’s a huge plus for me, especially since he was such a young age. Finn was also a great character, but I wish we had gotten to see more character development from him. When he came into the story, he was very mysterious and had that Irish bad-boy thing going on for him, but then he was suddenly this caring guy who spilled out his inner-most secrets whenever Teagan asked. If it were me, I would not be sharing lifelong secrets without at least some resistance. I did, however, love how dedicated he was to Teagan and how he followed her into perilous circumstances.

The romance between Teagan and Finn definitely took a back seat in this book. I almost didn’t think there would be one. I also didn’t like the way it started out: Finn immediately said that he was interested in Teagan, and he had barely met with her for an hour. But even though it had a quick start, their “romance” dragged out, because both Teagan and Finn refused to act upon or acknowledge their feelings. If there is one thing I’d like improved in the next novel, it’d be a step up with the romance.

The pacing was great – it starts off a bit slow, but it picks up near the end. I couldn’t get through the pages fast enough. There was action around almost every corner. The plot was unique and I loved the twist Kersten takes with the goblins. There were a couple of small grievances I had, such as the ease the group had to get out of Mag Mell at the end (they spent a long time just reaching Fear Doirich, the villain, and what seemed like a few minutes just getting out), and the way they took Fear Doirich down—was ducktape really all that was needed to stop, or at least hold down, that much of a powerful goblin? It seemed as if these were just easy ways out. They didn’t ruin the book for me, of course, but they were minor complaints.

Cover MusingsI love it—it looks like a painting! I love the colors of the forest – the greens, browns, and yellows – and the insignia at the top.

Memorable Quotes:
Just a note: my page numbers might be off, because I had an e-galley copy.
“You turned red all over, Finn,” Aiden said helpfully. “So did Teagan. As red as Kool-Aid.”
The back of Finn’s neck went from pink lemonade to Blastin’ Berry Cherry.
“Yeah,” Aiden said. “Like that.” (pg. 177)
 “No,” Teagan said. She held up the toe. “You are going to promise not to call the Dark Man, or tell him anything about us.”
“Why would I do something so stupid?” the goblin asked.
“Because if you don’t, I will swallow your toe.”
“That’s disturbing,” Finn said. (pg. 210)
 She scooped up a spponful of slime from the bowl Ginny Greenteeth had brought. It was dead tadpoles in thick jelly. No wonder the frog folk hated Ginny. She made their children into pudding. (pg. 233)
 They blew through the light, swerving to miss a gray Toyota Prius. Teagan glanced in the side mirror. The hellhounds were still coming.
“What are those things?” she asked.
“Hybrids,” Raynor said. “Strange, aren’t they? Half combustion, half battery powered. I think I might like to drive one. We all have to do our part for the planet. But I’m not quite decided...” He glanced at her. “Oh, you meant the hellhounds. I thought you were talking about the Toyota.”  (pg. 269-270)
 She made it to the middle of the roof before she collapsed, hugging the duct tape. It seemed like a million years since the day Finn had told Aiden that duct tape could fix anything. Well, it couldn’t fix this. (pg. 300)
 “I hate it. I hate what I’ve done. But I’ve started down that path, haven’t I? It’s in my blood.”
“You’ve got choices, like any other creature,” Finn said. “You can stumble down that road, pretending you can’t help it. You can curl up and die of regret and sorrow for what you’ve done. Or you can get up and fight, even though the battle might be lost.” (pg. 302)
Overall Thoughts/Final CommentsTyger Tyger is an awesome book that’s rich in mythology with a couple of great characters and well-placed humor for comic relief. I think it was a great debut novel for Kersten, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with the sequel. If you love fantasy or mythology, I’d highly recommend this book.

Rating: 4/5

**This review was submitted in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge
*I received this as an e-galley from Netgalley - Thank you Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt! 


Jessica N. said...

Great review Kristina! I loved this book so much :). I still think Finn is dreamy...*swoons*

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I also liked this one and I can't wait for future books :) Thanks for the review!

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Jessica: Same here! I'm a total fantasy geek, and I def. got my geek on. :) I had the whole accent going in my mind for Finn whenever he'd talk, haha.

@Katie: Neither can I! I can't wait to see what she'll do with the sequel! :)

Amelia said...

Hey Kristina! Great review, as usual :D
I definitely agree - the mythology is really what set this book apart for me. And yeah, I did wish there was more Finn-Teagan action. Especially since, as you mentioned, it seemed really sudden in the beginning...him being all "I'm going to change that plan of yours!" and then nothing happened really. o_O. But hopefully we'll get more action in the 2nd book!

Marie Simas said...

This book sounds really interesting. I don't have much time for fiction anymore, but I still like fantasy novels every now and then. This series looks promising.

Emi said...

Happy to hear that you liked this one! The title keeps popping up everywhere, so I've been really curious about it. I think for the mythology aspect alone, I'll have to read it. Nevermind the fact that I know ABSOLUTELY nothing about Celtic mythology beyond the Lockness Monster.
Wait, is that even Celtic? *face/palm*

As always, awesome review! <333333

Jenny said...

Really fabulous review Kristina, you always write such thorough and interesting reviews, they're fun to read:) I agree with you on the romance aspect of this one, it was so far in the background it was almost nonexistent, but I'm looking forward to hopefully a little more between them in book 2. I loved the mythology as well, that was one of the highlights of the book for me:)

Straylights said...

Awesome review girlie! I want to read this now. And I like mythology too, just not it its in the form of a book called American Gods :-/ Ha!

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