CHAPTER FOUR: THE STRANGER

F: We’re back! Sorry for the delay. Here’s a quick recap of the first three chapters: wangst. Lots of it.

T: Sounds accurate to me. We pick up two days later, when Kelsey sees a stranger standing next to Ren’s cage. A stranger? Get it? Hey, it’s better than having the chapter title show up at the end, right? Right?

F: This mysterious stranger is tall, distinguished, and old. He’s also muttering softly to either himself or the tiger (it’s never really made clear). Kelsey doesn’t think there’s anything weird about this whatsoever. He introduces himself as Anik Kadam, which is actually an Indian name, thank god. He heads off to discuss something with Mr. Maurizio.

T: Kelsey wonders aloud whether he has a “thing” for tigers. CHouck, have you even looked over this? Do you have any idea what that suggests?

F: Bestiality aside, Kelsey heads to the main building, where she finds everyone in a wildly uproarious panic. She goes to Matt— you remember Matt, right? The kid with no significance whatsoever?— and he basically tells her that the stranger is talking to Mr. Maurizio and everything has been paused for this Very Important Meeting. Mr. Maurizio shows up with Mr. Kadam and, with his speech peppered in Italian words, explains that Mr. Kadam will give them enough money to keep their troupe on the road for two years, because he’s going to buy the tiger!

T: Because he has a “thing” for tigers. I’ve got to say, it’ll be the most original love triangle I’ve seen in years.

F: Ick. At least Mr. Kadam’s old enough for Ren.

The two men turned and disappeared out of the building.
All at once, the hushed crowd started moving around quickly and began talking with each other. Silently, I watched them as they darted back and forth among the different groups like a flock of chickens at feeding time, scuttling in and out of the crowd and pecking for tidbits of information and gossip. They spoke in excited tones and patted each other’s backs, murmuring animated congratulations that their next two years on the road were already paid for.

T: Hey, I remember writing something that was vaguely like this. At the time, I was eight. What’s your excuse, CHouck? Are you going to plead insanity?

F: This is not the way people think. If this is supposed to really reflect Kelsey’s thoughts, then I can infer she is an utter psychopath who looks at other humans like a robot. This description is terrifyingly detached and superior. Evidently, our protagonist feels like everyone else is foolish little chicken that runs around gossiping.
Why do you hate the circus so much, CHouck?

T: Robot Kelsey thinks about how she’s going to miss Ren. Wasn’t she a temp anyway? It’s not like Ren will be here forever anyways! They’re a traveling circus!

F: Logic has officially been broken. Things can only get worse.
Also, Kelsey berates herself for getting emotionally attached. I mean, this whole excuse for a relationship makes me sick, but it’s not like she has to punish herself for actually caring about something. Let me guess, she’s going to be all afraid of emotional attachment because her parents died, and it’s going to be handled badly and turned into nothing but an excuse for more wangst. Yawn.

T: In a direct contradiction of what she just thought, Kelsey mopes about Ren leaving her and goes to talk to him in the barn. She spills out all her feelings in a sobbing tirade of angst and gets interrupted halfway through by Mr. Kadam. He asks her whether she has an “affection” for the tiger. Most people who visit a tiger in the middle of the night, sobbing about how horrible their life is, probably feels some sort of affection for the tiger involved, wouldn’t you say?

F: Turns out, Mr. Kadam’s job isn’t rescuing tigers! … I don’t know why that’s such a surprise! He doesn’t secretly work for the Indian mafia or anything, he’s just the employee of a super-powerful guy who wants Ren on his land. If this were another book, I’d think it was a scheme to skin Ren and make some money. As it is, I know that any scheme involved here is Good, because Mr. Kadam is Kind and has a Musical Voice.

T: Kelsey wonders why the mysterious employer wants Ren, and Kadam goes into a random story about the Indian prince Dhiren. Kelsey suspects no possible correlation between the story Dhiren and the tiger Dhiren, of course, because Kelsey has a very bad case of genre blindness.
Mr. Kadam gets all musical and cadency as he recounts how Story Ren was the eldest son of the Good king and Good queen, and had a younger brother who was jealous.
. . . I wish I was watching Thor instead of reading this crap.

Dhiren had a knack for impressing people easily with his acumen, intelligence, and personality. A rare combination of charm and modesty embodied in the prince made him an outstanding politician. A person of contradictions, he was a great warrior as well as a renowned poet.

T: He was also known as Gary Stu, and oftentimes unicorns would pop into existence just so they could give him flowers. And he shit gold.

F: Anything but a poet. Oh god. We’re going to read his poetry. We’re going to read his poetry.
Somebody please mail me a gun. Only one bullet will be necessary.

T: Kelsey is very curious about the story, curious enough to ask questions. And more questions. And more questions. Mr. Kadam doesn’t answer any of them, but she keeps asking questions. While he’s telling the story.
Basically, if I were Mr. Kadam, I would be strangling her right about now.

F: Despite these rude interruptions, Mr. Kadam continues to wax poetic about how brilliant Ren was. His parents arranged a marriage between him and the princess of a neighboring kingdom, whose name was Yesubai.

T: If you are actually surprised by the connection to the prologue here, please refrain from breeding.

F: While Kadam tells this part of the story, Tiger Ren freaks out and growls and paces. Kelsey tells him to shut up so she can hear the story.
1. Hypocrite.
2. Can you get any more obvious?
So, while Story Ren was away supervising military activity, Yesubai and Ren’s younger brother, Kishan, fell in love.

T: Sooooo . . . it’s like Jane and Loki. Wow. Did not need that mental image.

F: I hate to disappoint you, but not everything is as awesome as Thor. Case in point: Kishan is a wimpy freak who betrays Ren to a “ prodigious and evil man ” in order to be with his true love. Then Dhiren gets tortured to death, Kishan runs away, Yesubai commits suicide, and the evil prodigy takes over the throne.
Kelsey’s reaction:

“Wow,” I responded. “So did he love her?”

T: She’s talking about whether Tho— Ren loved Yesubai, because that’s what everyone obviously wants to know. Kadam doesn’t know if he did, which we should read as a “no”. After all, Ren can’t love Kelsey if he ever loved anyone else! Not if it’s Twu Luv.

F: Kelsey reflects on the story like a two-year-old.

“That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course. A great story, though a bit bloody. An Indian tragedy. It reminds of Shakespeare. He would have written a great play based on that tale.”

T: Sorry for everyone but the bad guy? Screw you. Bad guys aren’t bad guys, they’re just people with a different way of looking at things. Oh wait, I forgot, this is a wish-fulfillment Mary Sue kingdom, wherein bad guys are bad guys because they have greasy hair and like pain.
Also, a great story? Let’s analyze the elements here: Ren is awesome. Ren gets engaged. His brother falls in love. Ren is betrayed. Everyone dies. Hardly brilliant.
Shakespeare would have written a great play? What is it with you and Shakespeare? I don’t presume anything about what Shakespeare would have done, but this isn’t a great story. Shakespeare could have turned into a great play, theoretically, but it’s not nearly good enough on its own.

F: After talking about how Tiger Ren is “one of the good guys”, Kelsey asks again what Mr. Kadam’s employer wants with this random tiger. Turns out, the mystery employer feels like he’s somehow responsible for Ren’s capture, and now he needs to make him free. I’m not sure how that works, but hey, I’ll go along.
Mr. Kadam asks Kelsey, out of the blue, to go to India with him to care for the tiger.
Holy shit.
This book could be marketed as “What Not to Do with Strangers.” Top of the list: go to India with them. Especially when you’re a young, pretty girl.

T: Kelsey doesn’t freak out, just asks about things like passports. Mr. Kadam assures her that he can arrange it all, she just needs to go along and care for Ren until he’s acclimatized, which would be about a week. This is how people get abducted, raped, and killed, Kelsey! How many impressionable young people are going to end up in bad situations because of this book?

“India’s very far away. I’ve never been out of the country before, so the idea of it is both exciting and scary at the same time.”

F: (Kelsey): Yes, I’m actually seven years old. Why do you ask?

T: If this were a character I cared about, and it wasn’t this book, I’d . . . ah, forget about it. As it is, I’m calmly sipping my soda (or would be if I had a soda) and waiting for Kelsey to learn that—

Plus, Mr. Kadam didn’t strike me as one of those creepy men with bad intentions. In fact, he seemed trustworthy and grandfatherly.

T: The only reason that men like that can actually function is because they don’t seem like creepy men with bad intentions! This is not a Disney movie, and villains do not dress in black and red and cackle in deep voices. In real life, the ones you have to watch out for look normal. If this book were real life Kelsey would be about to learn some important life lessons and never actually be able to apply them to life.

F: She calls her foster parents to talk to them about it. Good foster parents would be freaked out about this. These foster parents talk about great opportunities and suggest an early birthday for her at the circus. Kelsey hangs up and notices Mr. Kadam talking quietly to Ren again, so she tiptoes out.
You are about to trust your life to a stranger who whispers to tigers. Did you get dropped on your head as a baby or something?

T: Because CHouck can’t write transitions, we skip ahead to the party, where Kelsey’s foster parents are bedazzled with Mr. Kadam and think he couldn’t possibly have bad intentions. The cake is not a lie, but this is an awful eighteenth birthday party. Everything is finalized, Kelsey is indeed going to trust her life to a total stranger, and no one sees anything bad about that. There is something intrinsically messed up here. Something has gone terribly wrong.

F: Our darling protagonist wakes up the next morning, goes to check on Ren in the barn, and finds— surprise, surprise— that his cage is unlocked, and he’s in the barn with her!
I’ll be honest— if I was trapped in a barn with an uncaged tiger, I would climb the ladder to the loft, leap out the window, and run screaming to the tiger’s trainer. Kelsey, though, calmly and coolly tells Ren to get his furry ass back inside the cage ASAP. I mean, since he hasn’t bitten her hand off and he seems melancholy and soulful, he obviously isn’t going to kill her. He obeys her, because she is the Mary Sue god and hark! the animals do embody her every command.
She’s confused, because the cage was definitely locked last night, but just shrugs it off. It’s not like it’s a big deal when someone lets a dangerous tiger loose, after all.

T: She and Mr. Kadam sit down and plan out all the details of his intricate kidnapping, and she stops by with Matt, Cathleen, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Maurizio, telling us about how she’s already fond of them, even though they’re nothing but pointless names that showed up once or twice to push the plot forwards and then dissolved beneath the importance of Ren. Seriously, who remembers anything remotely interesting about Cathleen? Did we even learn anything remotely interesting about her? Didn’t think so.

F: Mr. Kadam’s plan involves Kelsey taking his rental car home to pick up her things, and it turns out to be a posh Bentley GTC Convertible, because Mr. Kadam is Rich. Her foster dad adores it and spends three hours with it in the garage . . . revving the engine, I guess?

T: Dear Kelsey tells us how she’ll miss her family. She shows us that she doesn’t care even remotely about them. She tells us how she’s afraid. She shows us how she’s a robot who feels nothing. She says goodbye with a lack of emotion that borders on disgust. On that ugly note, we end.

F: Until next time, where we spend forty pages sitting on a plane. Take the boredom of actual plane rides and multiply that by a hundred.

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Comment

  1. swenson on 29 April 2013, 10:06 said:

    Sooooo . . . it’s like Jane and Loki. Wow. Did not need that mental image.

    What, you kidding me? That would be all kinds of hilarious!

    “That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course.

    Wow. What beautiful, stirring words. This is truly a well-written book.

    “India’s very far away. I’ve never been out of the country before, so the idea of it is both exciting and scary at the same time.”

    Well-written, I say.

    Dear Kelsey tells us how she’ll miss her family. She shows us that she doesn’t care even remotely about them. She tells us how she’s afraid. She shows us how she’s a robot who feels nothing. She says goodbye with a lack of emotion that borders on disgust.

    WELL-WRITTEN, I SAY.

    I’m going to say something in favor of Twilight—it may have had horrendously awkward writing, a thoroughly unlikable plot, and boring and bland characters out the wazoo, but at least there was a little emotion here and there (or maybe I’m just remembering it more fondly than it deserves). This? This is the very definition of Tell, Not Show. I know sometimes people go overboard with showing when they should just state something, but you just can’t say “I am very sad” or “That is scary”! You’ve got to actually show those things!

    And I think it says something about the book—and how long it’s been since the last spork :)—that I don’t even remember who Kelsey’s friends are.

  2. Juracan on 29 April 2013, 13:09 said:

    Dhiren had a knack for impressing people easily with his acumen, intelligence, and personality. A rare combination of charm and modesty embodied in the prince made him an outstanding politician. A person of contradictions, he was a great warrior as well as a renowned poet.

    Er… there are such things as warriors who have hobbies in the arts outside of killing things. There’s a TV Tropes page about it, even. Miyamoto Musashi and Lord Byron come to mind.

    Somebody please mail me a gun. Only one bullet will be necessary.

    [opens drawer, staring at flintlock with one shot]

    Nah, I’m saving that shot.

    [shuts drawer]

    Seriously, though, are we going to read his poetry? Because that sounds like it’s going to suck.

    “That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course. A great story, though a bit bloody. An Indian tragedy. It reminds of Shakespeare. He would have written a great play based on that tale.”

    What the—?! Who talks like this? And knowing Shakespeare, he’d probably Anglicize the names, be anachronistic and have an out-of-place comedy relief scene.

    …yes, I’m a bit bitter about the Shakespeare requirement at my university, why do you ask?

    In all seriousness, though, that quote is one of the most terribly written pieces of dialogue I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched The Last Airbender and the Eragon movie. There are characters who babble what’s on their mind in an amusing manner (like Felicity on Arrow), but this is just… lazy. It’s like the author is trying to hammer in how deep the story is and remind everyone of a much better author.

    Unless there’s something in the telling of the story that you left out, it doesn’t seem that brilliant.

    She’s confused, because the cage was definitely locked last night, but just shrugs it off.

    She’s confused because the cage is locked, but not because the tiger apparently does whatever she tells it to? Um… okay, then.

    Seriously, who remembers anything remotely interesting about Cathleen?

    [raises hand] Oh! I remember! She had a thing for Matt!

    …okay, I cheated. I only remember that because I reviewed the last two parts before reading this one.

    Until next time, where we spend forty pages sitting on a plane. Take the boredom of actual plane rides and multiply that by a hundred.

    ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

  3. Oculus_Reparo on 29 April 2013, 17:22 said:

    Yeah, I have to second Juracan’s last comment—a FORTY-PAGE plane ride? ???

    At least it means I get to make my “returned from the ride with the lady inside and the smile on the face of the tiger” joke! Hooray!

  4. Oculus_Reparo on 29 April 2013, 18:13 said:

    Also—as for the writing style, remember the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady, where ennui-ridden posh people sing that they’ve never been so keyed-up?

    Yeah. Are you sure you aren’t a bored Edwardian aristocrat, Kelsey?

  5. Ryan McCarthy on 29 April 2013, 18:29 said:

    I’m actually going to read this book next for morbid curiosity. Feel free to tell me not to. That morbid curiosity is pretty how I saw shitty movies like The Last Airbender, The Boondock Saints, and The Smurfs.

    I am not expecting the book to be any good either and this spork is pretty much helping me to know what I expect.

  6. Mingnon on 29 April 2013, 18:33 said:

    Can someone slap me for laughing at Mr. Kadam’s ‘thing’ for tigers?

    Though if someone were to talk non-stop, and refuse to answer anything I ask about it (perhaps afterwards), I may as well go Navi on them.

    Also, I have invented a new word (or two) to go with how I hear Kelsey’s voice in my mind – Sadored, or Boresad. It’s a type of monotone that is both sad and bored at the same.

  7. Ryan McCarthy on 29 April 2013, 19:54 said:

    Also, I have invented a new word (or two) to go with how I hear Kelsey’s voice in my mind – Sadored, or Boresad. It’s a type of monotone that is both sad and bored at the same.

    That is pretty much the standard voice for the YA paranormal romance protagonists or at least I think so.

  8. Fireshark on 29 April 2013, 20:51 said:

    Bad guys aren’t bad guys, they’re just people with a different way of looking at things.

    Honestly, I’m a bit tired of this line of thought. It’s quite clear that in real life there are plenty of people (Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, H. H. Holmes, Heinrich Himmler etc.) who were unambiguously evil, who were just plain wicked for the hell of it. They may have justified their actions in some way or another, but there’s never any good reason for genocide or serial murder, and having a shitty childhood or traumatic experience is simply not a good enough excuse.

  9. Forest Purple on 29 April 2013, 23:03 said:

    Seriously, though, are we going to read his poetry? Because that sounds like it’s going to suck.

    We are indeed going to read his poetry. It is going to suck. You will probably be needing that bullet.

    ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

    I wish. We also get a get-rich-quick speech from Mr. Kadam that more properly belongs in a con story.

    Also, I have invented a new word (or two) to go with how I hear Kelsey’s voice in my mind – Sadored, or Boresad. It’s a type of monotone that is both sad and bored at the same.

    I’m not even sure about the sad part. Maybe just bored.

    They may have justified their actions in some way or another, but there’s never any good reason for genocide or serial murder, and having a shitty childhood or traumatic experience is simply not a good enough excuse.

    T: By the “bad guys aren’t bad guys” line, I meant that bad guys don’t see themselves as bad. Genocide and serial murder is without a doubt evil, and nothing excuses that, but the people committing genocide and murder don’t see it as evil (at least while they’re doing it).

  10. Epke on 30 April 2013, 07:41 said:

    All at once, the hushed crowd started moving around quickly and began talking with each other. Silently, I watched them as they darted back and forth among the different groups like a flock of chickens at feeding time, scuttling in and out of the crowd and pecking for tidbits of information and gossip. They spoke in excited tones and patted each other’s backs, murmuring animated congratulations that their next two years on the road were already paid for.

    And then I bought some eggs, milk, yoghurt, rice, orange juice, minced meat, carrots, tomatoes…

    “That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course. A great story, though a bit bloody. An Indian tragedy. It reminds of Shakespeare. He would have written a great play based on that tale.”

    Bzzzt, does not compute. Why are you leaking from your optical receptors? Bzzt, frail humans, prepare your meatbags for relocation in geographical position.

    Until next time, where we spend forty pages sitting on a plane. Take the boredom of actual plane rides and multiply that by a hundred.

    T: By the “bad guys aren’t bad guys” line, I meant that bad guys don’t see themselves as bad. Genocide and serial murder is without a doubt evil, and nothing excuses that, but the people committing genocide and murder don’t see it as evil (at least while they’re doing it).

    True: for them, it’s often justified or for the greater good. Horrible, yes, but everyone think themselves the hero of their own story.

  11. swenson on 30 April 2013, 08:26 said:

    Bzzt, frail humans, prepare your meatbags for relocation in geographical position.

    Except most robots in shows have more emotion. HK-47, the ultimate despiser of meatbags, gets more emotionally involved than what’s-her-face!

    True: for them, it’s often justified or for the greater good. Horrible, yes, but everyone think themselves the hero of their own story.

    Or they’re mentally unstable, and therefore aren’t capable of realizing that what they’re doing is evil. Which has the same result.

  12. Tim on 30 April 2013, 08:33 said:

    Honestly, I’m a bit tired of this line of thought. It’s quite clear that in real life there are plenty of people (Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, H. H. Holmes, Heinrich Himmler etc.) who were unambiguously evil, who were just plain wicked for the hell of it.

    Actually, most of those were suffering from severe personality disorders (H H Holmes was a narcissistic psychopath) and / or thought they were doing the right thing. It’s pretty rare to come across someone who has no reason at all for the way they behave, and to label them as “wicked for the hell of it” is just a cheap cop-out; it’s a refusal to even acknowledged they had a perspective separate from one’s own.

  13. Fireshark on 30 April 2013, 18:16 said:

    Diagnosing people in retrospect always grinds my gears. It’s like pop psychology’s equivalent of Web MD. You may be right with Holmes, but I can’t imagine we’ll ever know if Kim Jong-il had anything biologically wrong with him.

    Also, I’ve read that terrorists tend to have very normal, well-functioning brains. Calling people crazy is used to give them an excuse for avoiding responsibility, 9 times out of 10.

    That said, I know nobody thinks of themself as evil, but I don’t think the book claimed that they did.

  14. Juracan on 1 May 2013, 03:11 said:

    Regardless, I think the point that the sporker was trying to get across is that the villain of the story doesn’t have any discernible motivation, nor does Kelsey feel the need to ask what it was. He’s just evil because in the narrative Kelsey hears, and she just assumes the villain was a completely irredeemable douchenozzle without knowing anything about why he wanted the throne in the first place.

    Which is kind of how the prologue is told, too…

  15. Brendan Rizzo on 1 May 2013, 10:33 said:

    Kelsey suspects no possible correlation between the story Dhiren and the tiger Dhiren, of course, because Kelsey has a very bad case of genre blindness.

    To be fair, if she did suspect a connection right away, we’d be calling foul. Unless it’s a comedy, the characters aren’t supposed to know that they’re in a story, or to assume that their story has fantasy aspects if they have no reason to believe so.

    (Kelsey): Yes, I’m actually seven years old. Why do you ask?

    If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Kelsey narrate earlier about how much more mature she is than everyone else? And yet she has the communication skills of a second grader. This is the most obnoxious type of Mary Sue— where the author says how great they are, and then have the character exactly the opposite of how they are described.

    If it’s even possible, this book is worse than I thought. I think Eragon and Tookie de la Creme and a lot of other characters who have been sporked are likeable compared to Kelsey. That is not exactly a good thing.

  16. swenson on 1 May 2013, 11:26 said:

    Yeah, Eragon and Tookie, they at least kind of feel like people. I think Kelsey still beats out Maya and Joey, though.

  17. Ryan McCarthy on 1 May 2013, 12:45 said:

    In the hand’s of a good writer, that whole protagonist thinking he/she is more mature than they really are would actually be a clever idea.

    Of course, that would be giving CHouck a lot more credit than she seems to deserve. Also, considering that this is basically CHouck’s fantasy, or at least I assume so, I doubt she would even try to be clever.

  18. Juracan on 1 May 2013, 12:55 said:

    To be fair, if she did suspect a connection right away, we’d be calling foul. Unless it’s a comedy, the characters aren’t supposed to know that they’re in a story, or to assume that their story has fantasy aspects if they have no reason to believe so.

    Yes, but wouldn’t she at least acknowledge that the tiger and the prince from the story have the same name? Or inquire about it? Or ask if that’s where the name came from? Or comment that the tiger is reacting to the name?

  19. lilyWhite on 1 May 2013, 15:34 said:

    To be fair, if she did suspect a connection right away, we’d be calling foul. Unless it’s a comedy, the characters aren’t supposed to know that they’re in a story, or to assume that their story has fantasy aspects if they have no reason to believe so.

    Honestly, I think a story where the main character does grasp onto the idea of a connection to be a good idea if it were done right, especially in cases like this where it’s blatantly obvious. Crescendo has a glaring example of a character whose name screams “there’s more to this character!” that the main character doesn’t notice. (Then again, Nora is a moron.) That’s actually a plus for Tookie in Modelland when she thinks about how Exodus the Intoxibella shares the same name as her plan to run away with Lizzie.

  20. Brendan Rizzo on 1 May 2013, 17:00 said:

    Ah, so that’s what you mean. The way you had said it earlier, I thought that you wanted Kelsey to instantly realize that the tiger is the prince’s reincarnation or whatever he actually is.

  21. ScarletSpecter on 4 May 2013, 21:42 said:

    “That’s a very sad sequence of events. I feel sorry for everyone, except for the bad guy, of course. A great story, though a bit bloody. An Indian tragedy. It reminds of Shakespeare. He would have written a great play based on that tale.”

    And I thought Eragon was bad….And really Kelsey? Did he love her? Because God forbid any upstanding man love anyone else by but the pwecious, speshul heroine.

    It’s characters like this that help me remember why Mary Sues are so annoying. Why is it that even when they have legitamate reasons to angst, they chose to cry over every small thing? “Oh woe is me, my dead parents didn’t make me blonde!” “I’m brunette, therefore ugly! Boo hoo.” The more she whines, the more privileged she comes off as. This is how spoiled teenage girls think, not people with actual problems.

  22. Juracan on 6 May 2013, 11:41 said:

    Also, it might be a bit late to be asking this, but… what does Kelsey actually like to do? Maybe I missed something, but I get no impression of any of her interests, other than Shakespeare, apparently. Interests, aspirations, anything…?

  23. Ryan McCarthy on 9 May 2013, 15:25 said:

    So I read Tiger’s Curse. Where do I begin?

    The pacing is abysmal, Kelsey is a total Mary Sue, the bad habit of info dumping of info that isn’t even relevant to the plot, the fact that Ren is either overly perfect and in the case of towards the end of the book, overly condescending and possessive.

    There are some interesting ideas but they really aren’t executed very well. This might have been a good book with a really good editor, preferably one that tossed it into the garbage and told Houck to start over again.

    Also, it is just me or does the book suffer from a case of doing “tell, don’t show” way too often?

    This book would have really benefited from a rewrite or two.