Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title:  Tiger Lily
Author:  Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre:  YA fantasy/retelling
Pages:  292

Rating:  C

Synopsis from  Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . . Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything--her family, her future--to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart

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I usually love retellings and revampings of classic stories, but I definitely did not love this one, even though I really wanted to.  Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson is not just the story of Peter Pan told from a different point-of-view.  It's a complete overhaul of the original story; the characters, Neverland, the plot - everything is changed.

I did like a few things about the story.  Two of the secondary characters were my favorite.  Nibs, one of the Lost Boys, and Pine Sap, a friend of Tiger Lily's, were both great characters; their kindness and compassion made them likable.  And even though I know most people disliked the fact that the story is narrated by Tink, I actually enjoyed it.  It was interesting getting inside her head and seeing things from her perspective.

Unfortunately, Tink's narration could have been better had the writing been better.  So many cliches, so much heavy-handed thinking.  Almost all resemblance to the original story has been removed; there's no magic, no flying, no John & Michael.  And there wasn't a lot of action or really much of anything to grab my interest and hold it.  I can usually read a book this size in a morning, but it took me three days to read because I kept putting it down.  I just couldn't get into this book.  Another good reason for that was the characters.  With the exception of Nibs and Pine Sap, I thought most of the characters were annoying or wooden.  I especially disliked Peter and Tiger Lily; Peter for being such a needy jerk and Tiger Lily for having no personality at all.  And the inconsistencies throughout the book drove me nuts.  Tiger Lily's tribe was perfectly okay with a man who wanted to be a woman, but how dare Tiger Lily not act more like a girl?  They're so open-minded about transgender people, but also perfectly okay with forcing a young girl into marriage with an abusive, womanizing slob.  And finally, I wish these authors would keep their political/social agendas out of fantasy novels.  I pretty much expect to find that kind of thing in contemporary fiction, but seriously, in a story about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan?

If the writing had improved during the book, or there had been more action, or the characters not been so unlikable, this would have been a better book.  C

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