Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review "Tyger Tyger"

Title: "Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Genre: Young Adult
Published: November 15th 2010 by Clarion Books

*I received a copy from NetGalley*

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.

"Tyger Tyger" is the first YA book I´ve read in a while. The author contacted me, told about NetGalley and asked me to read and review her book. When I received it as eARC, I was so excited about my first ARC that I just had to read it as soon as possible.

The main character of this book is, other that the back blurb might suggest, Teagan. She´s a very ambitious girl who helps out at the local zoo and dreams of becoming a vet. Therefore, boys are the very last thing on her mind. She lives together with her mother who illustrates childern´s books, her father who works in the library and her brother Aiden, who never gets lost and has a very special talent for singing and remenbering music. They lead a very harmonic life until one day. Teagan´s cousin Finn moves in with them after his parents die. From the very first moment Finn steps into their house, Teagan knows and feels that they share a special connection. Not only does she have to puke during their first meeting, everytime they touch, she feels something like a electric charge.
Right around that time, Teagan´s best friend Abby starts to have strange dreams about creatures like goblins who threaten Tea´s life. At first, Teagan dismisses Abby´s dreams as just that: dreams, mere figments of her imagination. Soon enough however, she starts seeing things out of the corner of her eyes, awful things happen and her whole Familiy is in danger.
Finn who feels responsible for it, decides to leave, not knowing that the real tragedy is only about to happen.
When Teagan and Finn meet again later in the book, he has changed profoundly, lost his light and playful attitude and is much more grown up now. Their connection however remains. It´s also time for Teagan to accept the truth: that there are more beings in the world than the mortal eye can see. Goblin, cat-sidhe and other creatures are on the hunter for her and her little brother Aidan.
As the story developes and Teagan is sucked deeper and deeper into Finns and learns things about herself that turn her world upside down.

The worldbuilding of Tyger Tyger is based upon Celtic mythology and pre-history. It´s very complex (in a good way), fascinating, tightly woven and layered world with an intriguing cast of characters, all original and different.

I like how close Teagan and her brother are and how much she seems to care about him. This need to care and tend is one of her major traits, along with her fierce determination to keep her family safe. Teagan is very mature and only Finn throws her off guard.
Aidan is special in every sense of the word, you simply have to adore him.
Abby sometimes behaves more like an older, protective sister that her best friend and is kind of like the very opposite of Teagen (she doesn´t care too much for books and sometimes mixes uo the meaning of words), yet she is verly loyal to Tea, even though Tea´s there is no way Teagan can proove her story and genuinly cares for her.
Finn is in my opinion the most interesting of all characters. The first time we meet him he is all boyish charm and good looks; the second time however, he seems mature beyond his age and very responsible. I like how much he cared for Aidan. Some of the sweetest scenes in the books were between the two of them.

The relationship between Teagan and Finn is definetly not in the center of attention of this book. It is merely hinted. Maybe it will play a lager role in the next book, the end certainly hints that.

There is one big turning point (which of course I won´t tell) in the story, an event that has an enormous impact on Teagan´s life. Both the event and the emotions and feelings Teagan has about it are only told in retrospect. As I reader, I would have wished it had player a larger role in the book, considering its meaning not only for Tea but also for the story.

"Tyger Tyger" definetly stands out thanks to its powerful and fascinating mythology and worldbuilding, layered, well-written characters and fast-paced story.
Even though there was one thing about the story I didn´t like as much, Kersten Hanilton´s book is still a page turner. You will want to hear more about Teagen and Finn after reading it.

One last thing I´d like to add. Well, actually two:

The cover of "Tyger Tyger" is gorgeous.

Beforehand, I was wondering whether the title of the book somehow relates to the poem of Wiliam Blake (which I love). You can imagine my delight when I actually found the poem -or at least parts of it- in the book.

I´m actually torn when it comes to rating "Tyger Tyger". I really want to give it 4 points, because I like Finn, Aiden and the worldbuilding. If the one scene mentioned above would have been written different, I would have given 4 without a thought. Yet, 3.5 Points somehow seem not engough. So I´ll give "Tyger Tyger" a tentative 3.75, re-read it again in a while and give my final vote then.

If you want to learn more about the author and her work, visit her hompage.


Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I have this one through NetGalley as well, but I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. It definitely sounds intriguing!

And thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great weekend! :)

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Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Sounds like you liked the book. :) I'm glad to hear that. I have it as well. But I haven't go to it yet. I have a few reads I need to get done first then to this one. :) Thanks for the review!