Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review - Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kersten Hamilton (3/5 stars)

I got a digital copy of this book through NetGalley.  I had heard great things about this book and was excited to read it.  Overall it was an okay book; there is a bit too much information dumping in the beginning of the book but the second half is more engaging.

Teagan is just your normal girl working at an animal research facility when Finn Mac Cumhaill enters her life.  Finn is a homeless cousin that Teagan's parents agree to take care off.  With Finn's arrival things start going wrong.  Teagan is seeing shadows out of the corner of her eye, one of the animals she is caring for at work is mysteriously killed, her mom dies of some strange fit, and then to top it all off her dad disappears.  With things creeping in the shadows it ends up that it may be Finn who can actually save them all and Teagan may be part of a world that she never imagined existed.

The beginning of this story is filled with so many Celtic names and so much folklore that it is hard to keep all the mythological facts straight.  With all this knowledge being thrown at you, the beginning of the book felt almost more like a lecture than a story and I had a hard time getting into it.  Luckily the second half of the book was a more engaging.

At times the dialogue came off as a bit stiff sounding and a little unnatural; despite this Teagan, Aiden, and Finn are all interesting and likable characters.  I loved that Teagan was a practical, smart girl who didn't fall head over heels for Finn, but made her romance (or lack of) part of the background.  These characters are refreshing and the world Hamilton has built is intriguing.

I have some complaints though.  I was excited to read a story about goblins, well basically Hamilton hasn't created a story about goblins...this is a story about faerie where all the fairies are called goblins.  I know Hamilton was trying to stick with Irish myth and stuff, but this seems a bit misleading.  Also quite a bit of the beginning in the book is spent telling us about Teagan's job working with Cindy the chimp; they get back to this again at the end of the book but I am still not sure what the purpose of this was.  Maybe it was to show how Teagan got some passing medical knowledge?  It just took up a bit of page space and didn't seem relevant.

I loved Aiden's magical singing abilities and was intrigued by Finn's superhero like fighting capabilities...but I never could figure out what Teagan's purpose was.  She didn't seem to have any really special ability beyond the Sight.  It kind of seemed like she was there to direct traffic.  I would have liked to see her developed into a more interesting character that took a bigger lead in the events in the book.

Overall I thought it was an okay read.  The characters are likable, the world interesting.  The dialogue is a bit unnatural sounding and, while I liked the idea of basing the world in mythology, too much is thrown at the reader at the beginning of the novel and it makes the story flow poorly in the beginning.  Readers should enjoy Teagan as a teenage lead that thinks with her head not her heart and Finn is a wonderfully moral bad boy.  Will I be reading the rest of this series?  Probably not, the writing quality and pace of the book was just too uneven for me and Teagan didn't capture my heart as a heroine.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book 

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