I wanted to be obsessed with this book, like everybody else. I wanted to devour the first book and then rush out and get the next two books in an obsessed frenzy. But I’m starting to realize that I don’t always get everything I want, no matter how much I scream and fail my arms.
The author did an excellent job of describing the tiger(s). The tigers felt real and I would find myself getting lost in the story particularly when Ren was in Tiger form. ßI wrote that because I felt bad about the rest of my review. Ahem.
I know a lot of people were feeling Kelsey and Ren’s relationship, but I felt no chemistry between them. In the beginning, when Ren was still in his tiger form, their relationship felt like that of a young girl and her pet tiger. Then, when he finally took his human form, their romantic relationship happened quite simply and without tension.
Whenever Ren would go back to his tiger form, their relationship would regress to that of child/pet, making it hard to get a good feel for Kelsey because she would act/speak very immaturely and treat Ren like a silly pet. But then Ren would take his human form again, and Kelsey would become an uptight, middle-aged librarian with a crush. I didn’t care so much how she acted, I just needed consistency. I couldn't figure out who she was.
The instant physical attraction between them whenever Ren was in human form did not have any effect on me. Ren was endlessly caressing her check with his knuckles, brushing hands with her, touching the tip of her nose, calling her beautiful, etc. That crap might work if there had been any tension, but otherwise it’s just words on a page.
Then about 2/3 into the book, it was as if the author suddenly realized this was all progressing too quickly, so she put the breaks on the relationship the only way she knew how: by simply making Kelsey reject Ren. The reason was pathetic. I don’t stand for that “I’m not worthy of your love, you’d be better off without me, because I’m not as attractive as you” nonsense. Then, as Kelsey’s logic follows, she painstakingly began to push him away in the meanest possible way, and treated him terribly for the rest of the book in order to accomplish this (except for a couple of three-page kisses that happened after the fact). Couldn’t there have been a better way to break up? Maybe a nice text message?
This reminded me of the end scene in Harry and the Hendersons, when John Lithgow’s character employed the same “go on, get outta here, we don’t want you anymore” technique on Harry, because it was for his own good.
(I always hated that part. Was the slap really necessary? And no, that quiet, “my friend” he added after Harry left did not soften the blow.)
Another negative for me were the long Q&As between Kelsey and Mr. Kadan. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Kadam was like a human Wikipedia, so we were subjected to page upon page of information regarding tigers, airplane engines, Indian myths, the caste system, etc. Kelsey (inconveniently) found it all so fascinating and encouraged him to continue his lectures quite frequently. It got to the point that I’d start skimming whenever Mr. Kadan walked onto the page. And Kelsey was equally guilty of doing this. She would oft. wax poetic about her many likes and dislikes, her favorite poems, her childhood, what she does for fun, etc. It felt like an attempt to help the reader get to know Kelsey better. The most uncomfortable was when she would start info-dumping on Ren when he was in tiger form, and he couldn’t respond.
Finally, (and this is just me being picky) I have a short list of things in books that drive me crazy to the point that I can’t let it go and enjoy the story. I tried to ignore it in The Tiger’s Curse, but it got to be too much. This is my fictionalized example:
“Look at this, Ren.”
“What is it, Kells?”
“Ren, it looks like a statue. What do you think it means, Ren?”
“I don’t know, Kells.”
“I like your name, Ren. I’m gonna say it almost every time I speak to you. Even when we are the only two people in a room and it’s clear I could only be speaking to you, Ren.”
“Thank you, Kells. I like yours as well, so I will say yours no less than two times per page. When I’m feeling playful, I’ll call you Kells, and when I’m feeling passionate, I will address you by your full name. Kelsey.”
“What is it, Kelsey?”
“Do people in real life say each others names this much?”
I should end with something positive! I feel bad. Um, the descriptions of the tigers were so good!