Both of us enjoyed A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan and were excited to hear about her new book. Tiger Queen is available tomorrow, but thanks to the author, publisher and Fantasic Flying Book Club, we had the opportunity to read an e-ARC for this blog tour. Today we want to tell you what we thought of this book and share a few of our favorite quotes!
ABOUT THE BOOK
by Annie Sullivan
Release date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”
In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.
Candyce I have to say this cover definitely made me curious about the story. I’m not too sure about all the red, but it works for the story. I’ve actually seen a little video the author posted of the finished hardcovers and they turned out pretty. I love how it looks under the dust jacket!
Isabelle The cover fits the story so well! The longer you look at it the more you’ll come to appreciate it, at least in my opinion. I especially like the background of the cover.
Candyce Tiger Queen was completely new to me. It’s a retelling of “The Lady, or The Tiger?”. In all honesty, I’ve never heard of this story, but was curious to see what it was about. The author definitely starts us off in an exciting spot of the story. Princess Kateri is in the arena and a Desert Boy is about to be punished. She doesn’t quite understand her father’s decisions and we slowly learn about this world.
Princess Kateri lost her mother awhile ago and she’s determined to become Queen and to hold her promise to her mother. She promised to take care of her people. Kateri is close to turning 18 and to become Queen, she must beat a suitor in the arena each month. I actually thought this was a bit of an odd aspect, but I would’ve enjoyed it more if it were explained a bit more.
I loved that Princess Kateri slowly starts to realize things are off in their Kingdom, especially when Roderic (the soldier who’s been training her), becomes her last suitor to fight. This is where the story picked up for me. I loved reading about her heading out to find a way to beat her opponent and become Queen. Kateri must prove to her father that things aren’t all as they seem.
When Kateri finds the Desert Boys, she doesn’t really trust them, but needs them. I loved this group of misftis and thought they fit this story well. They steal water and make sure the people who get it need it. Even though I loved this part of the story, at times I felt like nothing was happening. There were conversations and training, but it didn’t feel like it was leading to her last battle.
As Kateri slowly realizes things are a lot different than she thinks, she knows she needs to work hard to fix everything. Like I said, it takes awhile before things pick up and that made the ending seemed a bit rushed to me. I would’ve loved to have seen a bit more action and politics. I know this is a standalone, but I feel that the storyline the author was trying to put down could’ve used another book.
All in all, I did enjoy Tiger Queen. Annie Sullivan definitely added some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed the setting and the idea behind this whole story. Even though I’ve read this plot in many forms before, she definietly gave her own little twist to this concept. I am looking forward to seeing what she does next.
Isabelle I hadn’t heard of the story this was inspired by (“The Lady, or the Tiger?”) and I really appreciate Annie Sullivan for doing retellings no one else is doing! We get so many retellings and a lot are for the same stories over and over. While I love the Beauty and the Beast the retellings are becoming overkill haha.
The thing I loved most about this book was the setting. We’re in a desert city and I don’t think I’ve read that many stories set in a desert before. I got some Aladdin vibes from this setting and think we need more diverse settings like this one. A lot of fantasy books have a European Middle Ages kind of setting so this was very refreshing.
I also really enjoyed the start of the story. We get thrown into it right away and come realize that this is a pretty brutal city to live in. Our main character Kateri has been raised to be strong and to not show any weakness. She’s also kept a bit dumb and naive and doesn’t really think for herself. Especially not at the beginning.
The Desert Boys were adorable and reminded me of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. I’m a sucker for those kind of groups and could read about them forever! Another element I really enjoyed was the fact that Kateri had to fight in the arena to prove she was worthy of being Queen. The whole book is written in quite an easy way and you can fly through it.
However, I also thought the story was quite predictable and I think I predicted literary every ‘twist’ and ‘turn’. I love to be surprised by a book and that just wasn’t the case her. And while I did really care for the Desert Boys, I couldn’t care less about Kateri haha. I like that this was a standalone, but I do think it could’ve used some more pages. Kateri changed her mind so easily and that didn’t seem completely realistic to me. And the ending was way to cheesy for me haha. All in all an enjoyable read but not one of my new favorites.
Candyce Kateri is the only character we really get to know on a higher level. In the beginning she’s pretty naive, but her journey definitely makes her stronger and wiser. It’s clear a lot has been hidden from her and she’s determined to get it all back. I loved that she wanted to get stronger and fight back. In the end it wasn’t even about her becoming Queen, but to get the people what they needed!
Cion is in charge of the Desert Boys and the other character we learn most about. He’s lost a lot and is determined to make the people pay who took everything away. Cion is in many ways kind of like a Robin Hood. They steal water to give to the needy. He was a fun character. I loved how protective he was of the rest. They’re definitely a family. On the other hand, he’s very strong and determined.
I would’ve loved to have learned more about him though. A dual POV may have been just a bit better and give Cion just a bit more depth. I also would’ve loved to have learned more about the Desert Boys, Roderic and even the King. I needed just a bit more information!
Isabelle Kateri is our main character, and like I said, I didn’t really care for her. She is naive at the beginning of the story but she also changes way to fast. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to learn of all the things kept secret from you for so long but she excepted it all in about 5 minutes. It was nice to see the person she turned into and being someone that actually cared for her people and wasn’t just invested in getting her crown.
The Desert Boys were wonderful, especially Dimic, I would love to read more about all of them and get to know them better. We do see a bit more of Cion, who was a pretty great character. Although it would’ve been nice to see him fleshed out a bit more. He could’ve used some more flaws to make him more realistic. I think most characters, apart from Kateri could’ve been developed a bit more. The book isn’t super big so I would’ve liked to see some more pages spent on that aspect.
Candyce’s Favorite Quotes
“Tomorrow I’d be fighting for more than my life. I’d be fighting for my freedom.”
“He didn’t think I was worthy. He didn’t think I could win. I’m not sure which hurt worse.”
“I love you more than all the sands in the desert.”
Isabelle’s Favorite Quotes
“We Desert Boys have a sewing about tears”, he said. “We say that dying is good, natural. It’s returning the water you’ve taken from the earth.”
“May your spirit be freer than the sands of the desert.”
“It’s not weak to bear scars. It shows you were strong enough to survive.” … “Scars tell their own stories”, Cion said, “and our here we listen to them.”
Of course we’re not the only blog participating on this blog tour. If you’re curious about the posts of the other amazing blogs participating, click here for the tour schedule!
For the US readers there is a giveaway going on during this tour. You have a chance to win a Tiger Queen poster and a signed bookplate. The giveaway ends on September 13th.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).
Tiger Queen was definitely an interesting standalone. Not many fantasy books stick to one book. Do you have any favorite fantasy standalones? Let us know in the comments!