Tiger's Curse

Tiger's Curse[Read] ➲ Tiger's Curse By Colleen Houck – Heartforum.co.uk Passion Fate Loyalty

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a yearold Indian curse With a Passion Fate LoyaltyWould you risk it all to change your destiny? The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a yearold Indian curse With a mysterious white tiger named Ren Halfway around the world But that’s exactly what happened Facetoface with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasyromance that will leave you breathless and yearning for.


Tiger's Curse Kindle Ä Hardcover
  • Hardcover
  • 403 pages
  • Tiger's Curse
  • Colleen Houck
  • English
  • 15 September 2019
  • 9781402784033

10 thoughts on “Tiger's Curse

  1. Emily May says:

    If I had to describe Tiger's Curse in one word, that word would be embarrassing. I'm not joking.

    Have you ever been in the company of one of those people who is not vindictive or mean, but is unintentionally racist in a way that makes you feel really uncomfortable? Maybe they mimic a foreign accent and think they're being funny. Or they make a joke and don't know the history well enough to know how not fucking funny it is. This book is like one of those people.

    Let's start at the beginning of this cringy, offensive, and downright stupid story.

    Small prologue aside, the story opens with Kelsey giggling inanely at a job interview. Despite having no qualifications and obviously being a few brain cells short of an IQ rating, Kelsey gets the job - one that requires her to live for two weeks with the circus.

    Right away something seemed a bit off when Kelsey hadn't mentioned to her foster parents that she was going for a job, never mind asking for permission to disappear for two weeks. Instead, she just comes home and says “Yo, I have a job living at the circus for two weeks” and her mom is like “Ok, see ya!” Bit odd.

    And it only gets weirder when she tells them she's going to India and they’re like “Cool, whatevs!” because they are super liberal hippies so that makes total sense. Again, a bit odd. Or should I say highly fucking convenient?

    I started feeling uncomfortable as soon as Kelsey arrived at the circus and the Italian owner speaks like this:

    “I like de surprises. It keeps me-a young and a most handsome man.”

    Oh no. Something shriveled up inside me as I considered what the Indian people would speak like.

    Well... India is not treated as a nation with people, cultures and history, it is treated as an exotic setting that Kelsey can swan about in and play dress-up. The Indian medicine man in the jungle is a caricature of an old Indian person and, as Vanessa pointed out, speaks like Yoda.

    But, of course, there's a much bigger problem here. And if you don't think it's an issue, then I strongly encourage you to read books about cultural imperialism or Edward Said's fantastic book about Western attitudes towards Middle Eastern, Asian and North African societies - Orientalism.

    Kelsey is an idiotic white american and yet somehow, though the population of India is more than 3x that of the United States, she is the chosen one to break this Hindu curse. Why the fuck would that be the case? Only a white person has the power to solve another culture’s problems? Oh, I’m sure the author didn’t mean it that way, you say. I’m sure she didn’t intend to propagate the age-old idea that brown people need white people to think for them and save them...

    And, you know what? I think you’re right. I’m also sure the author didn’t intend it that way because I don’t think she gave a single fucking thought to how her representation of this culture would look. She wanted to write about a white girl and use “exotic” but not really Indian mythology, and that - as they say - was that.

    Not only is Kelsey the white saviour of the brown peoples, she is also smarter than the smartest Indians (if you can believe it!). Mr Kadam is supposed to be some amazing scholar on Hindu mythology and yet Kelsey the dumb manages to frequently educate him about things he didn’t know/never thought of.

    A Hindu mythology, I might add, that has been both westernized and mixed up with other Asian mythology. Someone really needs to tell Ms Houck that “Asian” is a very non-specific term and covers a LOT of very different people. Someone also needs to tell her that Asian mythology shouldn’t be grouped under one umbrella, and that using Japanese mythology in a book about Indian mythology is just dumb.

    Yes, for some reason, despite her lack of qualifications, friends, cultural respect and general brain cells, Kelsey is the chosen one. She is one of those characters that glows with an inexplicable specialness and yet never really demonstrates any reason why we should believe she is special. She just is, for fuck sake!

    Ren is a gorgeous prince and... that’s it. Oh, sometimes he’s crazy possessive too. It’s not sexy. Though the obsession with beauty goes beyond Ren - many of the characters in the book are characterised solely by their looks: Ren, Kishan, Yesubai, Durga... they literally have no personality. But then again, neither does Kelsey beyond being annoying and stupid.

    This is honestly just a terrible book. Bad writing, bad characterization, extremely convenient events/occurrences propelling the plot... and that's before we even get to the racism. What a mess.

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  2. Colleen Houck says:

    Umm, Obviously I've read it since I wrote it. Have most of the lines memorized now.

  3. Lea says:


    This one is actually getting 1.5 stars NOT 2-- THAT'S how much I loath you Kelsey Hayes-- you can take your dumb love-plant and SHOVE IT.


    What would you do if someone offered you an all-expenses-paid trip to India with a mysterious white tiger who also happens to be a handsome Indian prince? Eighteen-year old Kelsey Hayes is faced with just this offer after spending 2 weeks working as a hired hand at a local circus one summer-- and her life will never be the same.

    Soooo.... I had pretty much been *dying* to read this book for ages, and after reading review after raving review, I FINALLY picked it up off the shelves. I was so positively sure that I was going to absolutely love this book, that by the end, I would be in raptures and stumbling over myself trying to say enough good things about it.

    I don't know what the hell happened, but this book turned out to be an absolute joke.

    I KNOW, and I hate saying this, but I have to be honest. There were some things I liked about Tiger's Curse, but they were all completely overshadowed by some of the worst characterization I've ever encountered in a book. OK, here we go...

    So first, let me talk a little about Kelsey Hayes, the main character. At the beginning, I actually liked her. Laid-back, down-to-earth, and slightly quirky, she was a fun character to follow in the story.

    But then things started to go down hill-- rapidly.

    I noticed about a hundred pages in that Kelsey's way of talking and thinking could be *extremely* juvenile at times-- juvenile and annoying. I don't know if anyone else thought the same thing, but as I made my way through this book, I just didn't feel like I was reading from an 18-year old's perspective. Some of the expressions she uses (my FAVE was when she exclaimed, You wily scoundrel! when Kishan tries to kiss her- DUDE. FIND ME SOMEONE WHO TALKS LIKE THIS), the way she addresses people (oh hey there Mister! -- seriously? Is your main character from The Little Rascals?), and just her whole way of thinking seemed more like that of an immature little kid than an adult...

    And things only went from bad to worse when Ren the Prince stepped into the picture. If Kelsey was slightly childish and annoying to begin with, it was nothing compared to the infantile monstrosity she turns into in the last half of the book. The immaturity levels reached astronomical proportions. How you ask? Here are a few examples:

    1.) She pouted and threw tiny tantrums when she was displeased about pretty much anything-- and rather than be an ADULT and communicate with Ren about how conflicted she was feeling, she turned into a cold and standoffish little biotch. Then, when the poor guy asks her what's wrong, she says nothing (in that way where it's obviously something) and goes right back to being Ice Queen Supreme. Clearly, this is an awesome way to treat people.

    2.) She had the *exceedingly* annoying defense mechanism of needing to make sarcastic quips every 5 seconds, and the more defensive she got, the less likely it became for her to be serious or mature at crucial points in the story. I mean, the girl almost dies and the first thing she does upon waking up is crack a few dumb jokes-- well I'm sorry, but I don't want to read about a main character who acts like she's constantly auditioning at a comedy club (and failing miserably, I might add)-- I want her to have a grown-up, serious side too! It was just too much. There is no way in hell this chick was 18-- maybe 12? Maybe.... even that's pushing it.

    3.) I just love how Kelsey was absolutely shocked and appalled when she sees Ren the Tiger-version and his brother hunt for food. She does realize that hunting involves killing something right?? And that tigers have a tendency towards being carnivores? And that tasty meat often comes from cute animals? I mean the girl had to actually sing herself to sleep to get over it-- no, I'm not making this up, she sings herself to sleep (happy songs from The Wizard of Oz) because the tigers killed an antelope. Then she has nightmares about it. And she's eighteen   -_-

    4.) Kelsey just LOVES to continually tell us about her little love-plant for Ren-- because you know, normal people talk like this. By the end I wanted to take some pesticide spray and a blow torch to Kelsey's freaking love-plant and incinerate the damn thing into the ground...

    (I won't even get into the fact that she was dumb as a brick and could barely tie her own shoes without Ren holding her hand. But wait, you say! The book says she loves reading Shakespeare, well then she MUST be a total rocket scientist, no?? Give me a fa-reaking break Colleen- sorry my dear, but saying that your main protag reads Shakespeare does NOT make her smart and clever and oh-so-different from everyone else, because she comes across as a complete dumbass in everything else she thinks, does, and says. Need I mention how she nearly gets herself killed near Kishindha? Because she goes to grab a pretty sparkly diamond out of the water, moments after she and Ren nearly died because DUH the prophesy TOLD you not to believe your eyes and that things weren't as they seemed! GAWD she's like freaking Abu the monkey in Aladdin, literally that is who she reminded me of! **slaps forehead in total frustration**)

    But I think that out of all the things that bothered me about Kelsey, the VERY WORST was the fact that she made such a snap judgement about Ren-- without even giving him the chance to prove that he was a good guy-- and then proceeded to treat him like total crap for the rest of the book, all for absolutely NO REASON other than her own stinking insecurity that she wasn't good enough for him. Kelsey Hayes, you were to put it bluntly, one of THE most immature characters I have ever read about, and you need to go find yourself a therapist. Pronto.

    So... Let's just say that by the end of this book, I had never wanted to punch a main character in the face quite so badly as Kelsey Boo-Hoo I'll Never Be Good Enough So I'll Just Act Like a Bitch 24/7 Hayes.

    While we're sitting in on How to Make Your Characters As Unlikable as Possible 101, let's take a look at Ren. Overall, the guy wasn't too bad when you stand back and see him over the course of the book-- but I still couldn't stand him. And the thing is, he wouldn't have been such an unlikable character if the author hadn't set him up to be totally unlikable . To prove my point, here are just a few of the phrases used to describe Ren's actions in this book:

    -Laughed acerbically
    -Smiled mockingly and malevolently
    -grinned maliciously
    -scoffed and smirked
    -was annoyingly happy

    Now you tell me-- would you like a character whose behavior is described this way?? The guy is annoying even when he's happy for crying out loud, and the rest of the time he's described as being a total ass-hat, and I'm supposed to be falling in love with him?!? I mean he sounds like a complete douche, amirite?? There's only two explanations for this kind of character portrayal:

    1.) Ren is, in fact, a douche-- in which case I can't stand him and hope he jumps off a cliff, or

    2.) Ren is actually a good guy and all of this is Kelsey's perception of him-- in which case Kelsey is *psycho cray cray* and I hope she jumps off a cliff.

    In either case, I'm really not rooting for your characters.

    Then there's the fact that Ren is-- according to the story-- hundreds of years old. And it seems like in every YA story where one of the characters has been around for a long time (Twilight, Fallen...) we're just supposed to forget this fact and think it makes total sense for them to act like immature teenagers and have character dialogue that's somewhere along the lines of Ohemgee totally!!. I mean here we have this 300-year old Indian prince and he's referring to Kelsey as Kells?? Are you freaking kidding me??? So yes, this made Ren even MORE obnoxious as a main character, if that's even possible.

    (And oh, hey-- let's not even get into the glaring ick factor that this kind of plot point brings up: a 300-year old guy is flirting and trying to get with an 18-year old girl.

    Really. THINK ABOUT IT.)

    I also felt like the pacing of the plot was slightly off. Overall, I thought that the story itself was pretty good-- I loved the Indian setting and the adventurous element it had going on-- but there was just a lot of superfluous description that got in the way for me. For example, when Kelsey gets on the plane to go to India, I thought we were never going to hear the end of all the luxurious details of the plane's interior and the food they ate. Don't get me wrong, I think that adding vivid description to your story is wonderful and sets the backdrop for all the action, but I also think there is a way to describe a scene while still leaving something up to the reader's imagination! I mean, do I *really* care what color hair ribbon Kelsey ties in her braids every day? And by the by, how many 18-year-olds do YOU know who tie hair ribbons in their braids? Or walk around with their blanket like they're freaking Linus from Charlie Brown?? JUST SAYING.

    Besides plot pacing being off, many parts of the plot made ZERO SENSE. Tell me, how many foster parents do you know, who seem to be fairly sensible and, oh I don't know, **SANE** let their foster-daughter go off on a trip to INDIA with a strange older man and a tiger, after meeting said man ONE TIME?? This is basically how things played out:

    1.) Kelsey works 2 weeks as a hired hand at a circus (WHICH she got from some super-shady work placement company)

    2.) Kelsey reads Shakespeare to the tiger at said circus (Hmm yeah, that's totally normal) and then a strange Indian man shows up and tells Kelsey she is PERFECT for taking care of the tiger, if she can only GO TO INDIA to put tiger in a nature reserve (***RED FLAGS GOING OFF HERE***).

    3.) Kelsey's parents AGREE TO LET HER GO TO INDIA with strange older man after meeting him once, and within a WEEK Kelsey has all her documentation, passports, vaccines, etc. taken care of and is on a plane to India to take care of a rare white tiger species because 2 weeks of sweeping up crap at a circus has turned her into an animal GENIUS.

    **Insert dumb-founded expression HERE 0_o**

    Also-- and this is something I didn't even fully realize until awhile after I finished reading it-- but this book is BEYOND RACIST. It basically portrays Indian people as pathetic simpletons with horrible broken English (Ummm guess what Colleen? Many Indian people know how to speak English, and those who don't aren't idiots who you can write about as though they're incoherent monkeys...) Mr. Kadam, the Indian man employed by Prince Ren, basically spends the entire book kissing the ground Kelsey Hayes walks on, waxing eloquent about how amazing she is. WHY?? What the flying you-know-what is so awesome about Kelsey Hayes?? She's a vapid, lazy and stuck-up wish fulfillment device who is glorified by everyone for no good reason. Pretty much everyone in this book who is NOT WHITE AMERICAN is ignorantly and disrespectfully portrayed like a cartoon, exaggerated to the point of being comical-- except that it ISN'T FUNNY because it's straight-up RACISM. Then we have Kelsey- the White Girl Who Saves the Day- someone with absolutely no qualifications or connection to Indian culture, who we find out is actually the Chosen One of the Indian goddess Durga. YEAH YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. Kelsey, the most ignorant and brain-dead character ever conceived for YA fiction, the lazy American white girl who acts like a spoiled whiny little brat for 400+ freaking pages- is the savior of the Indian people. Excuse me while I very loudly exclaim:


    As far as the romance goes, well if you're a fan of train wrecks, you're going to be in 7th heaven because this was just about as dysfunctional as they come. It was like watching two cars heading for a straight-on collision, and not being able to do a damn thing about it, so you just sit there with the same horrified expression on your face that you'd have if you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of spoiled milk. Three-month-old spoiled milk. I've already described Kelsey's emotional constipation and total lack of ability to do anything remotely mature, but I also didn't like how possessive Ren got of Kelsey as the story went on. Protective tiger-- awesome, Possessive love interest-- HELL to the NO. Not a fan. I was also pretty annoyed at the good ol' YA ploy of presenting the main character as Ms. I'm-Totally-Average-But-Every-Guy-Who-Sees-Me-Falls-Inexplicably-Yet-Madly-In-Love-With-Me-Tee-Hee!-- because it's been done SO many times. In fact, it's gotten to be about as cliche as being Disney-Princess-Perfect. Which brings me to...

    **************** My Brief Bookish Rant ****************

    Yeah so after all that, you're probably wondering what the heck else I have to rant about. (Do not underestimate my ranting skills *whahahaha!*) So here is my totally random gripe-- and trust me, this is random-- that I have to get off my shoulders. And I'm not trying to pick on this book specifically, it's more of a general trend that I see again and again in YA books-- and my slightly annoyed question is this:

    WHY do authors always make a POINT of telling us that their main female characters never or seldom wear makeup?

    I know, I know, this is such a dumb thing to rant about, but for *some reason* it bothers me. I mean, is there something bad about wearing makeup or doing your hair on a regular basis? Do they think that makeup makes their protagonist seem stupid or fake? Do they assume that readers won't relate to a character who wears makeup because... I don't know, people who read don't wear makeup? Like why does it even need to be mentioned? It's like they expect me the reader to go, Ohh, she doesn't wear makeup! Well I can respect her a lot more now! And then on the other side of things, the mean girl or the bitchy back-stabber is often described as wearing makeup or being super tan or having the latest fashions. WHY?? Is it a given that if a girl cares about her appearance she must be less of a person? If the main character is a frumpy Plain-Jane who's never worn heels and who thinks at best she's average, am I supposed to like her more? What exactly are you trying to convey to me the reader when you tell me that your main character doesn't wear makeup? I just don't see what the heck this has to do with the characterization of someone, and personally I couldn't care less whether the main character wears makeup or not, so stop bringing it up like it's a determining factor in whether or not I'll relate to/like/respect that character more!

    (I will mention that Kelsey does get dolled up a few times in the book, but what irked me was her complete inability to see herself as being attractive, no matter what. This is not a good character trait. Insecurity and false modesty are NOT attractive in anyone-- it's extremely immature and I CAN'T STAND characters that constantly use self-pity and self-deprecation to excuse themselves from acting grown-up. SO STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!)

    OK, rant over. I feel much better now!

    ~Final Thoughts~

    Tiger's Curse is one of those books that I think appeals to a large group of people because it has a lot of great things going on-- romance, adventure, travel, mystery, an ancient curse-- I mean, what's not to love about that? BUT-- and this is a big but-- none of them, in my opinion, were executed well. The romance devolved into two spoiled teenagers acting like juvenile brats, the adventure and mystery were bogged down by way too much description, and honestly, by the end I was so fed up with the main characters that I really couldn't care less about where the story was going-- I just wanted it to end so I didn't have to constantly fight the temptation to throw the book out the window of a 50-story building.

    So my final word with this one is- proceed with caution. While I can see the appeal for many readers, if you are like me and can't stand pointless drama, immature dialogue, and characters who act much younger than their years, you might want to think twice before picking this one up. On the other hand, the ratings overall for Tiger's Curse are extremely good, so this may very well be a case of me just personally not liking it.  Read what other people had to say about this book, you might end up loving it-- I, unfortunately, was not one of those people.

    ~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland

  4. Vinaya says:

    Seriously, GR? I mean, SERIOUSLY? You thought you could just... delete my review and it would be gone forever? I'll take your deletion and raise you one cached copy of my review and one middle finger.

    My five year old nephew had to prepare a piece about himself for kindergarten last week. It went something like this: Hi, my name is Manoj. I'm five years old. I like singing. I am also a good dancer. My favourite food is Maggi noodles.

    What's shocking is that Colleen Houck's prose bears a startling resemblance to my nephew's. I kid you not. If this story had been written by a twelve year old, I might have respected her acumen. Coming from a fully grown woman, it's just sad. There is literally nothing to recommend this book. The writing style is terrible; whoever edited this book will go to a special hell reserved for bad editors. The research is awful, the characterisation is complete crap and I am running out of adjectives to describe how bad this book is.

    The sad thing is, I was really excited by the premise of Tiger's Curse. There are so few fantasy stories set in India, or around Indian mythology, despite the vast potential for fascinating, or scary, or just plain interesting plotlines to be mined from Indian culture. Ilona Andrews, for example, did a fabulous job with the rakshasas in Magic Strikes. So when I read about this book, about an Indian prince cursed to be a tiger, I couldn't wait to dive into some really fresh, interesting writing. Boy, was I conned.

    Kelsey is an eighteen year old high school graduate who takes up a summer job in a small circus in Oregon. She befriends a white tiger at the circus, and when a rich Indian man buys the tiger, she is asked to accompany Dhiren, the tiger, to his new home in a sanctuary in India. Once in India, she discovers that the tiger is actually a prince who was cursed by an evil sorceror who coveted his fabled amulet. Kelsey and Dhiren begin an epic journey to break the curse and restore Dhiren. Unfortunately the only epic thing about the entire quest was its stupidity.

    The only fun I had reading this book was discovering how Microsoft Reader has all these cool colored bookmarks that I could use to highlight the stupidity of the story. I could even add little bitchy text notes on the side! So, let's take my bookmarked bits in order.

    Grinning with a sinister, saccharine smile, Lokesh said... Okay, what self-respecting editor would actually allow someone to get away with writing a sentence like this? It's as if she swallowed a dictionary and vomited it. You know that episode of Friends where Joey had to write a recommendation to the adoption agency for Monica and Chandler, and Ross showed him how to use the thesaurus function? Yep, that's exactly what this is like.

    “Hmm,” I muttered to myself, “I wonder what kind of animals they have there. I’d hate to take care of the elephant droppings.” I giggled quietly at my own joke but the lady wasn’t paying attention. Hmm, I wonder why? Could it possibly be because you weren't funny?! How is this a joke? It didn't make me want to laugh, it made me want to chuck a book at her head!

    Their example taught me that, “When life gives you lemons make some lemon meringue pie!” This is just pathetic. She goes on to tell us how lemon merigue pie is her favourite dessert for Thanksgiving. Who. Gives. A. Fuck?

    Once, I tried to tell one of the girls I often partnered with in science lab that she was crazy to wear heels to school. I even asked if she was scared that she might fall down and break an ankle or something. The inevitable giggle whisper fest occurred between her and her friends. After that incident, it just didn’t seem worth it or important enough to me to try to befriend anyone in high school. I am sorry to say this, but this girl is a loser. A BIG, FAT LOSER. With a giant L tattooed on her forehead. She had a stupid conversation with a random girl about wearing heels to school, and on the strength of that, decided to never befriend anyone ever again? Good decision there, cause who would WANT to be friends with this moron?

    My skills in sewing, embroidering, cooking, and coloring in a coloring book the fancy way all came from her patient teaching. Is this girl some sort of throwback to the Quakers or something? Or maybe Amish? Although I would think even Amish grandmoms had something better to teach their grandkids than how to 'color in a coloring book the fancy way'.

    I thought I had a little bit of OCD because my drawers were also meticulously tidy. My socks were all rolled in balls, arranged from the front of the drawer to the back. I usually grabbed the front ones and worked my way to the back. White socks were lined up on the right, black ones in the middle, and colored ones on the left. This, after she has spent a page describing the rest of her closet. TMI, woman, TMI! What does this have to do with the damn cursed prince story, anyway?

    “At the present, you must respite. Important sunrise is tomorrow. Phet must pray in the dark hours, and you necessity sleep. Embark on tomorrow your traverse. It’s hard as difficult. Who really talks like this, apart from Yoda? And this is not a little green man from another galaxy, this is a reclusive Indian monk who, I am guessing, doesn't know much English, although if he learnt words like 'embark' and 'traverse' and 'respite', I don't see why he couldn't have learnt some grammar to go with them. This is not how Indian people talk. I promise.

    This is about the point where even the multicolored bookmarks didn't make it fun enough to keep highlighting the mass stupidity that is this book. Colleen Houck is incapable of telling a story. She spends about three pages, in a question-and-answer session about tigers. If I wanted to know about the eating habits of a tiger, I would look it up on Wikipedia. This is not storytelling, its an INFODUMP. I don't know who told this woman that question-and-answer formats are a good way to fill in the background, because she does it AGAIN, devoting a large amount of unnecessary wordspace to describing the caste system in India. By this point you're already halfway through the book and looking for any excuse to throw it in the trash, so she's not really selling her book with her innovative writing style.
    And don't even get me started on her research.

    According to this story, one can buy a white tiger, an endangered species, ship it on a private plane to India in the same cabin as the humans and then unload it just as if it were a particularly large stuffed toy, and put a collar on it and lead it around. Now I don't know very much about the laws governing the international transport of a protected, endangered species, but a degree in law and basic common sense tells me that there are bound to be tests, quarantine laws, rules governing transportation, etc. before releasing a tiger into the wild. But hey, that's the real world, right?

    Also, Kelsey spends a large part of the book running around with a white tiger in the backseat of her Jeep. And nobody notices. Nope, not even when the truck driver who was supposed to be transporting them to the tiger sanctuary offloads the tiger in the middle of the street and fucks off. And this is in a town, not the middle of the forest or anything. So apparently, in addition to talking like Master Yoda and being careless with our endangered species, we Indians are also deaf, dumb and blind.

    These are only the major, glaring errors in the book. There are a bunch of other minor irritants too. Functional cellphones in the middle of the forest, for example. Please, sometimes, I don't get cellphone service a few miles out of the city, but this girl miraculously gets it in the middle of the jungle where there are NO CELLULAR TOWERS? She must be using Barrons' magical cellphone! Hey, can I get one?

    And the 'chemistry' between our moronic heroine and her tiger-man is non-existent. Dhiren is a badly drawn character with no depth. He apparently reappears after every transformation from tiger to man in the clothes that he wore when he was cursed. These are... wait for it... white trousers and a long-sleeved white shirt. Yup. I am beyond words. A simple Wiki search will tell anyone what the clothing of 16th century India was amongst the ruling caste, and trousers and a shirt aren't it.

    Ugh, and when he asks for 'permission' to kiss her, she blathers on about how asking for permission is so old-fashioned, and then berates herself about it forever when he stalks off. I'm embarrassed for this girl, and I think the best thing for her to have done afterwards was to have drowned herself in the pool so that we didn't have to put up with any more of her stupidity. And besides, no 16th century Indian man would dream of kissing a white woman. He'd lose his caste, and that kind of stuff was important to people back then.

    And the worst part is, this is the first book in a trilogy. There is plenty more torture to come for anyone who cares to subject themselves to this masochism. Considering I didn't manage to get more than halfway through this book, you can be sure I won't be wasting my money on this shit!

  5. Holli says:

    If you are looking for a good YA paranormal romance series, look no further. SERIOUSLY. You will read, re-read, and then read some more ... until your entire life, lives, breaths, screams, TIGER, and your family threatens to have you committed. Just start collecting everything Tiger now, and save yourself some time. :)

    Now that I've got that out of the way, lets start with the review.


    The first thing I noticed when I spotted this book was the detail in the cover. I'm not a shallow woman, but I do admit that a pretty cover will catch my eye. I love that the cover is textured, and that when you turned it in the light, it picks up multiple colors. The way the design is blended gives it an almost smokey, or misted image, that is haunting.

    Which makes it all the more appropriate, because this story sticks with you, long after your finished reading it. It will invade your dreams, your waking thoughts, until you find yourself drawing little hearts encircling the name, Ren.:)))

    The second thing that impressed me was the weight of the book. Call me crazy, [If you've made it this far into my review, I'm sure your already questioning my sanity], but when your a dedicated reader, you love the feel of the book in your hands, the texture and smell of the pages. So when I picked up this book to take a peek at the content, I was more than impressed with how solid it felt in my hand.

    Content, getting to the story line ...

    Colleen Houck did a fantastic job, thinking through the world she created for this series. It is very apparent while reading, the dedication she put into the research supporting the plot. The amount of detail intricately woven into the story, made it easy to visualize what the characters were seeing. It was like sitting front row center of the ultimate movie. [without the stiff neck]. :) FANTASTIC!

    The series is unique. We have seen many series based off Angels, Nephilum, Vampires, Werewolves, Fey, Mermaids, Shape shifters, Ghosts, Zombies, ...ext. However, this is the first series I have ever read based on Tigers. It was fresh and took me into uncharted territory.

    I really learned a great deal while reading this book. It was laced with Indian culture, history, and religious practices, that were simulated beautifully. I felt like I was vacationing in foreign land while sitting in my living room. Kudos Colleen. You went above and beyond making this story believable to your readers!

    I appreciate the balance between the history, action, and romance. It didn't matter which direction the book was taking, I continually found myself turning the pages needing to know what the outcome was. Once I started, I found it impossible to put down. Once I was finished, I found myself flipping back to the first page. I promise you, this will be a book you read multiple times!

    The characters ....

    Wow, where do I begin? ....
    Kesley is the heroin of this book. She was well built, and I found it easy to connect with her. I appreciate her strength, and integrity in following through on her word. I also relate to her independent nature, and hesitance in allowing herself to be vulnerable enough to get hurt. Though there were times I was screaming at my book for choices she made, ... I appreciated the suspense it built, which was what kept me diving deeper and deeper into the story.

    Mr. Kadam ... how awesome is he? In many ways, Mr. Kadam was Kelsey's rock. He was always there to teach, help, listen, and most of all, support her with the hard choices she faced. He loved her like she truly was his family. Not to mention his devotion to the Tiger brothers. His character is solid, and grounded. He is unwavering and has true integrity. Mr. Kadam is every little girls dream for a grandfather.

    The brothers ... [insert dreamy smile here] :) Ren, oh Ren, how much I love thee! LOL Tall, dark, handsome, strong, genuine, dependable, determined, HANDSOME, ;) .... those eyes! Sigh* :) His character also has a high level of integrity that is swoon worthy. Ren is a man of his word! He surpasses all other Princes in whatever fairy tale happily ever afters you can muster up. You can not help but fall hopelessly in love with his character! Kishan ... whew! Kishan is also a man of his word, only he is more hands on. Kishan sees what he wants and he takes the front line. He is also as attractive as Ren, with the bad boy air tacked on. A guilty indulgence. Colleen did not go easy on her readers! :)

    There is only one thing I can honestly say about Lokesh. I hope he gets swallowed whole by a dragon in Voyage. The end. :)

    Overall .... This book is magical. It is full of action, adventure, true friendship, and a romance so breathtaking, you'll want to revisit it again and again. Have a box of tissues handy! Go get you a copy NOW! You won't regret a minute of it! :) FIVE STARS

  6. Ceilidh says:

    I’m white. Being white means I have a certain level of privilege that people of colour are not afforded. I’ve never had to experience racism, I’ve never been slurred based on the colour of my skin and I don’t have to live with the extreme social and economic gap that people of colour do in terms of employment, higher education, sexual assault, health issues, etc. Sometimes when I’m looking at an issue, it can be very easy for me to look over the experiences of others. This isn’t deliberate but it is a sign that my race has levelled the playing field in a way that just isn’t open for people who aren’t white. I make a conscious effort to see the bigger picture, take into account the experiences of others and to check my privilege at every possible turn. Frankly, every white person should do so.

    I say all this now because I think it’s important for me to put this disclaimer before my piece, wherein I discuss what I saw as the gross ignorance and cultural appropriation present in the book “Tiger’s Curse” by Colleen Houck, a white American YA author. The novel, which takes place primarily in India, centres on a young white American woman called Kelsey who, through a series of laughable and increasingly convoluted events, finds herself looking after a cursed Indian prince who is stuck in the body of a tiger. She accompanies him back to his homeland in order to accomplish several tasks to break the curse, and through this process finds out that she is the chosen one of the Hindu goddess Durga.

    Before I can even tackle the cultural issues of this book, I have to discuss just how terrible it is on a basic storytelling level. The book, which was originally self-published on Amazon before being picked up by a publisher and becoming a NYT best-seller, is abysmal. There’s no other word for it. The prose is childish and juvenile, often reading like an essay by a fourteen year old who has just learned how to speak English. Throughout the extremely padded story, the irritating narrator Kelsey displays the emotional and intellectual maturity of a tween, one who is far more concerned with describing every single meal she eats or piece of clothing she wears over the action packed tasks she is set to accomplish. We are subjected to list after list of every single thing Kelsey does, from her morning routine to her showering. Any potential for excitement in the more action packed scenes is quickly shot down because of the stilted prose. I don’t ask for much realism in my books with cursed tiger princes but when I’m rolling my eyes on page 4 (when Kelsey literally walks into a job centre and is given a job helping to look after a tiger in a travelling circus despite a total lack of qualifications), that’s not good.

    Supporting characters make no impact beyond their broad offensive stereotypes (the Italian circus owner speaks like the pizza chef from “The Simpsons” while most of the Indian characters speak in the broken English style reserved for racist jokes – shockingly, people in India can speak English, many of them very well. They’re not uneducated simpletons who need a nice white lady to fix their problems). The romance is essentially insta-love but Kelsey is at least smart enough to acknowledge that an Indian price deprived of female contact for hundreds of years may just latch onto the first one he sees. Overall, I was actually embarrassed by the quality of the novel. There is basically no villain until the cheap cliff-hanger epilogue, and the story really could have benefited from some actual antagonism beyond “Baww, Ren is so hot and I want to kiss him!” I was dying for the opportunity to find a paper copy and take big red pen to it. I easily could have removed 20% of that padding and it wouldn’t have made an ounce of difference to the story.

    Of course, the real issue with this novel is the portrayal of India and its culture, particularly its religious mythos. The moments where facts about India are shoehorned in feel like Houck just googled random Indian facts and copy-pasted them into the document. People recite stale facts as part of the dialogue and it sounds as though they’re just reading from Wikipedia. I even googled several passages to make sure they weren’t plagiarised from websites because I just couldn’t be sure otherwise. Whenever Kelsey stays in a hotel in India, she stays in the lap of luxury, conveniently avoiding the poorer areas of the country and even the more middle-class areas. This is tourism for the spoiled White Kelsey. It’s like colonialism never happened.

    Then again, these moments aren’t anywhere near as offensive as when Houck just makes stuff up. For instance, a character mentions an Islamic belief that Allah sends tiger’s down from heaven to protect his devotees. That’s completely untrue. No such legend exists. While Islam is one of the main religions in India, its origins lie to the Middle East, and there aren’t a whole lot of tigers there. My GoodReads friend Nessa covers this in more detail, including Houck’s inability to keep the mythology of any country straight (kappas?!). This isn’t Hindi culture, this is Disney’s Hinduism for beginners, completely stripped of all the complexities and less then PG rated aspects.

    I really became angry when White Kelsey is declared the chosen one of the goddess Durga. The population of India is over 1.2 billion people, yet the chosen one of Durga is a white American girl. Even she questions whether this is right! This brief moment of clarity only serves to aggravate the sheer insulting nature of yet another appearance of the white saviour. Remember in “Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom” how Indy, the very obviously white guy, was the one the poor helpless villagers said was sent by Shiva to save them? What about Kony 2012, a white saviour project so smug and misinformed that it went from online sensation to public joke in about a fortnight? Let’s not forget every single movie set in an American inner-city high school where the nice white lady/man comes in to teach those black/Hispanic kids how to improve their lives, then she gets down with their urban dancing! And, of course, Bono. It is not the job of white people to swoop in on some moral mission and save the poor unfortunate non-white souls. It’s depressing enough that we’re still trying this shit in 2013, I don’t want to have to see it deployed as a cheap exploitative plot device in order to make an irritating and poorly developed Mary Sue be made even more special.

    Two things came to mind while reading “Tiger’s Curse”. One was “Temple of Doom”, since the action scenes and general narrative felt very much like Indiana Jones fan-fiction, only without Short Round, and the other was Selema Gomez. Lately, Gomez has been on the receiving end of a lot of justified controversy for her repeated wearing of the bindi in her performances. Gomez seems to be wearing the bindi for no other reason than it looks “cool”.Iggy Azalea’s latest music video “Bounce” is set during an Indian wedding for no apparent reason, with Azalea in traditional dress. Gwen Stefani wore the bindi in the past, as have many other white pop-stars. They took something that wasn’t their culture, stripped it of its cultural and historical context and made it into a fashion accessory. The Aerogram put it best here:

    “The political context in which cultural symbols exist is important. Cultural appropriation happens — and the unquestioned sense of entitlement that white Americans display towards the artifacts and rituals of people of color exists too. All “appropriation” is not merely an example of cultural sharing, an exchange between friends that takes place on a level playing field.”

    “Tiger’s Curse” uses Indian culture for no apparent reason other than it’s “cool”. The food is tasty, the clothes are colourful, the gods and goddesses are interesting and it’s all there for white people to cherry pick for cheap artistic purposes. Houck at least doesn’t white-wash this version of India, although the two love interests (yes, love triangle) are essentially blank slates who exist to push a plot forward and fawn over the extremely irritating White Kelsey. This should be their story and it’s not. It’s the story of the white girl. It’s yet another tired narrative where the white people come in to save the day from those poor locals with their non-white skin and lack of privilege. Keep in mind just how few mainstream YA novels feature heroines of colour and then look at this book. Why is the supposedly relatable heroine white and why is she so special to an Indian goddess when she has absolutely no connection or understanding of said culture besides the plot telling us she’s special? There are many reasons why you should avoid “Tiger’s Curse”, but if you need to pick one then avoid it because Hindi culture is not Houck’s to fetishize.

    Originally published on The Book Lantern. Go give us some page views!


  7. Kogiopsis says:

    Edit: 9/27/2014 Retroactively reducing my ratings for these books because when I first read them I did not notice the racism/cultural appropriation.

    Okay, I just cannot be bothered to write a long review for this book. I can barely be bothered to write a review at all. The writing was terrible and the pacing painful from beginning to end, but the characters weren't a total waste (well, until Kelsey suddenly and inexplicably decided to be stupid and push Ren away. You know, I was sort of enjoying watching the slow build of her relationship with him and it was kind of sweet, and then - what the fuck, girl, is all I really have to say) even if they were generally cliched and pretty silly. The plot is pretty far from mind-blowing but it serves its purpose. That being said, the writing is really so abysmal that if it hadn't picked up a bit at the end, this would have been a one-star read for that reason alone. There were times, especially in the beginning, when I could barely get through half a page without hitting a sentence that made me cringe.

    Anyhow, at this point I really just don't give a fuck anymore. Other than its writing (and really, has this seen the eyes of a professional editor? Because if it has and it still came out this way, they should be ashamed and possibly fired for not doing jack shit) this book didn't really make me angry. It didn't make me happy. Reading it was... not suffering, but drudgery. I could not in good conscience recommend it to someone, except maybe on April Fool's Day and then only if I didn't like them.

    Two stars for apathy instead of anger. I cannot fucking believe that I'm still going to read the sequel, but it was a gift.

  8. Ashley says:

    When I was nine years old, I wrote a story called The Two Trees, which in addition to being basically plagiarized from a number of sources (most notably The Ordinary Princess, but also a smidge here and there from Aladdin the film and The Farthest-Away Mountain), was obviously written by a nine year old. Like, if you would have picked it up and read it completely out of context and then somebody asked you to list off three things that described it, the list would look something like this:

    1. Princesses are neat,
    2. Good handwriting,
    3. Obviously written by a nine year old.

    Unfortunately, Tiger's Curse reads like it could fit all three of those descriptors, too. Publishing is in a really sad state if someone who writes like I did at nine years of age can get published, when so many really talented authors receive rejection letter after rejection letter. If the industry was working the way it's supposed to, this book never would have made it to print.

    You guys know I mean business because this is a one star review, and I NEVER do that. Pretty much if a book is even halfway competently written and I enjoy myself while reading it, it gets four stars. It's really not that hard to get four stars from me, even three if I can appreciate what an author has done, but it's just not my thing. Two stars is usually reserved for things that I'm morally opposed to or repulsed by (i.e. the anti-feminist awfulness of New Moon). But one star? One star means something went wrong on the chain of command. One star means this book never should have seen the light of day.

    Let me be clear here: I don't have anything against Ms. Houck as a person. I'm sure she deserves wonderful things. She's a very nice woman. I know this because I met her, and she signed my book. This is actually why I bought the thing in the first place. She happened to be at my Barnes & Noble doing a signing, and I just happened to win a free t-shirt* in a raffle, so I thought what the hey, let's get a signed copy, you'll probably love this, you big sap. I certainly didn't anticipate having the reaction that I did. Because let me tell you something: this book is worse than Twilight on just about every level**, and that is not an exaggeration. In terms of characterization, description, plot development, pacing, and my God, dialogue, Twilight looks like Shakespeare in comparison to Tiger's Curse.

    I mean, where to start with this book? I had such high mediocre hopes. The plot--eighteen year old American falls in love with an Indian prince who's cursed into the form of a tiger--sounded suitably ridiculous, and I appreciated that it was set in India, and that there were no vampires in it***. From there, it went downhill fast: The book has no overt structure, scenes do not flow one into the other with any kind of purpose, and there is no regard whatsoever for what I'm going to call depth of time, for lack of a better term -- events in the novel just happen one after another, because the author needed them to, not because they fit organically in with the story. One minute something is happening, and the next, something else, with no connection in between. All of the characters come off as shallow and two-dimensional. We hear what they're thinking very literally, but we never feel it. (This is how I know my issue with this book is the writing, and not the story: good writers are supposed to make you forget you're reading.) Our main character Kelsey is emblematic of everything that is wrong with this book. Ms. Houck seems to think that telling us what color ribbon she ties in her braid every morning is riveting, character-telling stuff. But it just comes off as immature. What eighteen year old ties colored ribbons on the end of a braid? More importantly, what narrative would ever think that was important? But the biggest problem with Kelsey is that she comes off as incredibly stupid, when she's not supposed to. She travels to India with a man she's just met, she gets incredibly close to a dangerous wild animal with almost no narrative justification, and her decision making skills when it comes to prince-in-disguise Ren are non-existent****.

    I think it's important to note that I'm 100% positive that Ms. Houck did not mean for her characters or her story to come off this way. Unlike Stephenie Meyer--who Ms. Houck not coincidentally lists as an influence--Ms. Houck has no agenda to push, and her characters are attempting to stand for something important. I can tell that she wants Kelsey to be viewed as a strong, independent young woman. She just has no conception of how to WRITE her that way. Or write at all, really. Reading Tiger's Curse, I was actually BORED, and there was some crazy shit going down. It was like reading a bad fanfic. Description, inner monologue, dialogue, all of it: flat. Immature. Just plain bad writing. I don't know of any other way to convey this without sounding like an asshole.

    So how did this book get published in the first place? Ms. Houck self-published it as an e-book on Amazon, and enough brain-dead pre-teens downloaded it to draw the attention of movie studios, at which point Barnes & Noble's new YA imprint, Splinter, bought the rights to what they obviously perceived as their chance at the next Twilight, the next Hunger Games. And to that I say, good luck to you, but you know what might actually be a good idea? Publishing someone who can actually write. Also, stop trying to find the next _____. FIND SOMETHING ORIGINAL AND GOOD AND PUBLISH THAT INSTEAD.

    There is no next Hunger Games. Publishers aren't even going to see that next thing coming, and when it does, they're going to copy the hell out of it, too, because it's easier, less risky financially, than taking a chance on something that might actually be good. At least Tiger's Curse, as poorly written as it was, was attempting to be original (as original as the teen supernatural romance genre can be, anyway). There's a lot of good information about Indian culture in here; Ms. Houck clearly did her homework. However, her characters spout it off at the most awful moments. It's never organic -- hello, Expositionville, Expositiontown, located in Exposition-nation. And that's really the biggest problem the book has. It's all concept, but no follow through. Don't even bother trying to read this for kicks, like I did with Twilight. It's not that kind of bad. Don't believe me? Pick up the book at random and turn to a page, any page at all. Chances are, you'll see what I mean.*****

    - - -

    *So I won this t-shirt, and I was like YES. FREE T-SHIRT. And when I went to claim my prize, Ms. Houck asked me which t-shirt I would like: the one with one tiger, or the one with two, and OBVIOUSLY I picked the one with TWO TIGERS, because why would you have a shirt with just one tiger on it, when you could have a t-shirt with TWO TIGERS instead? No brainer.
    **No fictional character will ever do as much harm to the cognitive development and cultural landscape of teenage girls as Bella Swann has in the past five years. If this book had been well-written, Kelsey would probably whip Bella's ass five times in a row. As is, she's nothing more than an empty, shallowly disguised author stand-in.
    ***Unless you count kappas.
    ****Let's play a game called PREDICT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT FOUR BOOKS: 1) Each book will involve finding one item to break the curse, 2) Kelsey will become confused and fall in love with Ren's brother, Kishan, and Ms. Houck will spend multiple books with her puzzling her way out of this dilemma, 3) Ren will become either insanely jealous and fight with his brother, or nobly fall on his sword to give his lady love what she wants, or both, 4) Somebody will be coincidentally related to somebody else, 5) Kelsey will coincidentally be the reincarnation of somebody we've heard about, or at least be related to them, 6) Kelsey will save the day, 7) Ren and Kelsey will get together and live happily ever after. See? You don't even need to read the rest of the books. Ten bucks says I'm right on this.
    *****I feel bad about this review, but I really needed to say it. I'm incredibly frustrated that some editor didn't sit down with Ms. Houck and try to help her salvage something out of this, because I really think it could have been a great story in the right hands.

  9. Faye, la Patata says:


    Just look at my status updates to see why I abhor... ABHOR... this book.

    Exhibit A:

    Exhibit B:

    Exhibit C:

    Exhibit D:

    Exhibit E:

    I am DONE!. I wouldn't wish this book even upon my worst enemy.

  10. Whitley Birks says:


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