Sep 3, 2012

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

What I liked:

  • This is a darker version of Peter Pan
  • The world of Neverland ~ great imagination
  • Not everything is "happily-ever-efter"

What I didn't like:

  • Tinkerbell's POV
  • Characters' lack of emotion
    • No connection 
  • Writing style
  • Pace of the story

I've heard rave reviews about Jodi Lynn Anderson's Tiger Lily, but ~ now don't shoot me here ~ I had a really hard time getting through it. Sorry guys, but it's the truth ~ I just didn't like this book very much. 

When I first heard we were hearing the story from Tink's eyes, I thought, "How cool is that?" But this unique aspect turned out to be the book's biggest downfall. I got bored with Tink. There really is no better word for it. Everything was explained away as it was happening, and the reader never got a chance to really experience the story for themselves. Huge, important details were mentioned nonchalantly in random places, giving no fluidity or buildup to what was happening. Same goes with the characters ~ we were told, by Tink, what they were going through without ever having the experience of feeling it for ourselves. Don't know about you, but I want to see and feel what's going on, not just hear about it. 

I think the POV is what made the story feel so painstakingly slow. Rather than being in the thick of it, getting the build up and anticipation, we get slammed with pivotal points in a matter of sentences, and then it's like these life-altering events never happened. There's hardly any dialogue ~ only paragraph upon paragraph of descriptions and explanations. As a reader, I want to feel the effects of what's going on around the characters, not just get a heads up like "oh, by the way, this character, who supposedly plays a huge role, just happened to up and drown himself," and you're like "WHAT?," but then there's really no resulting impact or emotions to speak of. Kind of a let down. 

The lack of emotion and connection is what really got to me. Tiger Lily has zero emotion or personality for that matter. She commits certain actions, allowing us to make the assumption that she feels hurt or betrayed, but we never really get to the heart of her. We only get to know her through Tink's weird mind-reading abilities, and it all felt pretty impersonal. And Peter ~ what's the big deal about Peter? As much attention as he received from the females of the island, I found it difficult to swoon over his jerk of an ego and "chick-wing shoulders." Didn't quite understand the infatuation between him and Tiger Lily and how their relationship grew into love. Seeing it through an onlooker's eyes didn't give me much to go on, and I felt indifferent ~ didn't matter much to me whether they ended up together or not. Totally bummed ~ I'm the type of reader that's character-driven, and I felt no connection nor could I relate to or feel anything for these characters.

I did, however, admire the idea of this new, darker version of Peter Pan and Neverland. It's not all magic and good-times, but includes real danger and survival. I liked Anderson's take on Smee, the constantly teary-eyed right-hand-man of Hook. The author gives a unique and twisted reason for his overworked tear ducts, one that takes quite a bit of imagination and out-of-the-box thinking. And Neverland isn't the beautiful place of children's dreams that we imagine thanks to the Disney version. It's a steaming, beast-filled, uncomfortable jungle that's not afraid to steal lives. Quite an admirable stretch from the beautiful mermaid lagoon and a smiling, ticking crocodile. 

Another aspect that added to my respect for this story was the unexpected ending. Not everything is tied up nice and happily in the proverbial big red bow. I gotta give Anderson points for making it real ~ not everyone gets the happy ending they desire, but end up having to accept and be satisfied with what's in front of them.

I feel horrible giving less than a positive review, but I've gotta be honest, I wouldn't recommend Tiger Lily.  Great ideas and imagination, just not enough depth, connection, or fluidity to keep those pages turning with ease. 

Two out of five stars from this reader. 

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~ 

1 comment:

  1. The idea of the story of Peter Pan from Tink's perspective is great, but a bad POV can really ruin a story. Often there is too much dialogue, yet clearly a lack of dialogue is just as crushing for a book! But I agree, props should be given to Anderson if the ending was good, which can be very hard when working with a fairytale! Thanks for the review :)


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