Melvin Burgess: Tiger Tiger

While reading The Hunter’s Moon I decided that I wanted to read four books before they might be swapped at the Book Hotel this weekend. The first of them was Tiger Tiger, which subsequently also became the “book in a genre I don’t usually read” in BiblioSmile’s Summer Book Challenge and thus the first one I finished (and now reviewed).

What is it about?

2 of 5 stars

Steve is fascinated by the tigers in the nearby tiger-park, he especially has taken a shine on the tigress Lila that hunts quite differently from her conspecifics. One night a group of people break into the park and cause a massacrer amongst the endangered species. A few tigers manage to flee thanks to Lila’s abilities, but not even Steve suspects anything when the young girl with the amber eyes appears in his home.

The reading experience

As the book is not even 200 pages long did it only take me a couple of bus rides to finish it. The chapter structure is quite unusual as the different narration strands switch within the chapter so that one part can be what Steve experiences, the next the hunters and the last one being the tigers.
And yes there were parts that depicted the doings and some of the thoughts of the tigers, which was in a way pretty cool, but also quite strange as the thought-process was described in a different writing style as the one for humans. Of course animals think differently, but it felt like a break of style whenever Burgess wrote from the tigers perspective.

The characters

I can’t remember ever reading how old Steve is, but my guess would be that he is between 14-16 (still in school but already attracted to girls). He has a strange obsession with the tigers – especially Lila – which makes him an unintentional ally of the fled big cats. In a way is he quite simple minded and that’s what makes reading about him quite difficult for me as I prefer character with a certain spark to them.

Lila on the other hand had at least the abilities aspect with her. Quite soon it was clear that she isn’t a normal tiger, the term “magical” was even mentioned a couple of times, which was fitting for what she was able to do. Still, she was still an animal that thought in an animal-way and as I wrote before was it hard to fully grasp her thought-process. I don’t think writing this was easy either, therefore this is an interesting choice for the narrative. The other tigers were mostly mentioned through Lila’s eyes, so we didn’t really get any inside look into them. Still, the magical tiger wasn’t that much tiger-like, but that comes with the abilities I suppose.

The description of the girl was sometimes quite weird and mostly manoeuvred between utterly ridiculous and what-the-****.  Especially the where-did-her-clothes-go? part was quite confusing…

The hunters and remaining humans were all only briefly mentioned and described, usually when their plot line was about to connect with the one from Steve or Lila, but manly the latter one. Their – and everyone’s except Steve’s beside wanting to help the tigers – motives were pretty much obvious: They wanted money, so they killed and collected the tigers – at least they tried to do that.  Nothing too special about it.

In short: There wasn’t really a character I connected with. I pitied a few (the park director, the dead tigers) and shook my head at others (the hunters, Steve, Lila), but nothing that made them special.

General Opinion

There are three things that bug me the most about this story:

#1: The term “magical” tiger is used so often, but it is nether explained what it even means. How can such a tiger exist? How does it come into being? What else can she do? Would her powers be passed on to others (offspring, human)? I would have liked a little more insight on that, but instead I had to just accept the fact that she is a magical tiger, whose abilities include being able to let clothes vanish…

#2: The ending is pretty open. We don’t know what will happen to the tiger park, to the remaining tigers and so forth. As it is not a continued story this is something I consider to be quite annoying – though open ends in a series can be worse…

#3: I know Lila wants to preserve her race, but was THAT (I don’t want to spoiler it, but if you read it I am pretty sure you will know what I mean) really necessary for doing so? And was it necessary to describe it in young adult fiction? That is really something I do not want to read in a book like that, even if I’m way beyond the target audience.

Other than that was it an ok read. Nothing special, but still interesting enough to continue.

Stuff I’d like to add

For some odd reason I really don’t have to add anything this time…hmm…strange…

PoiSonPaiNter

© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.

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