Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan's always been the practical type -- focused on her schoolwork, ignoring her male classmates, not believing in goblins. But when her nomadic, distant cousin arrives on her doorstep everything begins to change. Finn claims to be the MacCumhaill, defender against all of goblinkind. Of course Teagan doesn't believe him. At first. But when she begins seeing...things...and her dad vanishes without a trace right before her eyes, she's left with no choice. She must face the horrifying impossibilities and brave the menacing realm of Mag Mell if she ever wants to see her father alive again.

What this novel does best is make the reader feel  -- the emotions of the characters, the love of the family, the mystery of the magic, the richness of the folklore. Readers are immediately launched into the characters' lives, getting to know Teagan and her family and their bond. Finally -- a YA novel in which the parents are not flat or utterly absent! The familial atmosphere really sets the tone for the novel.

The characterization in Tyger Tyger is fantastic. Teagan is strong and focused, practically oblivious to the opposite sex. It is a relief to read a heroine who doesn't fall immediately into the dashing hero's waiting arms. But what a dashing hero he is. Finn is rugged, but he is clearly a good guy to the core. He's mysterious, yet somehow manages to be straightforward at the same time. He's haunted by a storied past, but doesn't allow it to make him excessively brooding. Truly, he is one of the most worthy heroes I have read in a long time. His language as he recounts the myths and legends that define his life is beautiful and enchanting. Even the side characters -- most notably Aiden and Abby -- are vibrant and full of life. Aiden, Teagan's younger brother, is the most eccentric little boy in the world, but in a completely adorable way. Abby, Teagan's best friend, is her opposite in every way -- boy crazy and a little ditzy, but still utterly loyal and fun to be around. Not to mention her mobster family.

The mythology of Tyger Tyger is rich and textured. A magical, mystical, storytelling vibe pervades the narration, perfectly suited to the ancient, earthy legends at the heart of the novel. This is the first time I've encountered Irish mythology in a fantasy novel and I was captivated by its ancient, visceral quality. The monsters that populate the story are vivid and varied, not to mention marvelously horrid. Kersten Hamilton perfectly blends the hilarious and the dreadful to create an atmospheric read that will capture readers' imaginations and hold them tight.

Rating: 

Disclosure: I received a advance review copy of this novel from NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to purchase Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton.






Come back tomorrow for my author interview with Kersten Hamilton!






This novel was part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.




19 comments:

Lindsi said...

If I had any doubts about reading Tyger Tyger they're gone now! You're a phenomenal writer with serious skills :)

I LOVED this review! *scrolls up to read again*

Precious said...

Yay! I'm glad you liked this too! I loved it! Kersten writes really well. This actually made it to my Top 10 reads for 2010. Great review!

E.J. Stevens said...

I agree. Tyger Tyger was in my top 10 books of 2010. Kersten's writing is amazing. Great review!
xx,
E.J.
From the Shadows

SusanKMann said...

Great review. I haven't read this book but I will need to get it. x

BookGeek said...

I am reading this book NEXT. I am so tired of reading YA novels with same premises - boy crazy and no parents. I want to read something to shake up the status quo. Can't wait for the interview!

Aylee said...

Wow, high praise! I think I read a few unfavourable reviews and it turned me off a bit but I'll have to give this one a second look now!

danya said...

I've read some mixed reviews of this one, but your clear enjoyment of it makes me more interested! It's great that it breaks some stereotypes of YA like the absent parents and brooding hero.

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thanks you guys!

Precious & EJ -- This was one of my top 10 of 2010 as well!

I'm glad my review persuaded some of you to give the book another look -- it really was awesomely original and enchanting! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A. Knight said...

Like I said: most definitely going to read this novel!

Thanks for sharing your review, Casey!

Asher K.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh, I am so glad to see you enjoyed this book! I really loved reading it as well and look forward to the second one coming out. :) Great review!

Mary Ellen said...

I borrowed this book from the library and it is sitting on the shelf as I write. I think, after reading the review it will be the next book I read. Thank you!
methom@earthlink.net

Lynsy said...

This sounds interesting.

Diana said...

It is the first where I hear about this book. It seems very interesting. I will put it on my list(to read)

Vivien said...

I've been wanting to get my hands on this one. Sounds like a great read.

IvaliceAlliance said...

So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Syki said...

5 stars? OK... I will try i too and I hope I will enjoyed it so much as you did :)

Jadey! said...

This looks absolutely amazing. Honestly. I've never even heard about it till I saw it on your giveaway. I really hope it's as amazing as your review says, as one way or another, I'm getting this book!

jen7waters said...

You spiced up my curiosity about this book with your description of the characters. I want it! :D Besides, it's hard to find a book where the heroine and hero have to build up a relationship instead of just falling into each other's arms right away. And I looove folklore, love it! Must buy this book, now.

Sniffly Kitty said...

I loved the fact that there was Irish mythology, but it lost me pretty quick since I have almost no background in that mythology.

Sniffly Kitty
Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

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