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.
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.