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Tiger's Curse

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Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

403 pages, Hardcover

First published January 11, 2011

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About the author

Colleen Houck

40 books8,985 followers
New York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers. Follow her by signing up for her e-newsletter!

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Profile Image for Lea.
112 reviews501 followers
September 8, 2014


This one is actually getting 1.5 stars NOT 2-- THAT'S how much I loath you Kelsey Hayes-- you can take your dumb "love-plant" and SHOVE IT.


What would you do if someone offered you an all-expenses-paid trip to India with a mysterious white tiger who also happens to be a handsome Indian prince? Eighteen-year old Kelsey Hayes is faced with just this offer after spending 2 weeks working as a hired hand at a local circus one summer-- and her life will never be the same.

Soooo.... I had pretty much been *dying* to read this book for ages, and after reading review after raving review, I FINALLY picked it up off the shelves. I was so positively sure that I was going to absolutely love this book, that by the end, I would be in raptures and stumbling over myself trying to say enough good things about it.

I don't know what the hell happened, but this book turned out to be an absolute joke.

I KNOW, and I hate saying this, but I have to be honest. There were some things I liked about Tiger's Curse, but they were all completely overshadowed by some of the worst characterization I've ever encountered in a book. OK, here we go...

So first, let me talk a little about Kelsey Hayes, the main character. At the beginning, I actually liked her. Laid-back, down-to-earth, and slightly quirky, she was a fun character to follow in the story.

But then things started to go down hill-- rapidly.

I noticed about a hundred pages in that Kelsey's way of talking and thinking could be *extremely* juvenile at times-- juvenile and annoying. I don't know if anyone else thought the same thing, but as I made my way through this book, I just didn't feel like I was reading from an 18-year old's perspective. Some of the expressions she uses (my FAVE was when she exclaimed, "You wily scoundrel!" when Kishan tries to kiss her- DUDE. FIND ME SOMEONE WHO TALKS LIKE THIS), the way she addresses people ("oh hey there Mister!" -- seriously? Is your main character from The Little Rascals?), and just her whole way of thinking seemed more like that of an immature little kid than an adult...

And things only went from bad to worse when Ren the Prince stepped into the picture. If Kelsey was slightly childish and annoying to begin with, it was nothing compared to the infantile monstrosity she turns into in the last half of the book. The immaturity levels reached astronomical proportions. How you ask? Here are a few examples:

1.) She pouted and threw tiny tantrums when she was displeased about pretty much anything-- and rather than be an ADULT and communicate with Ren about how conflicted she was feeling, she turned into a cold and standoffish little biotch. Then, when the poor guy asks her what's wrong, she says "nothing" (in that way where it's obviously something) and goes right back to being Ice Queen Supreme. Clearly, this is an awesome way to treat people.

2.) She had the *exceedingly* annoying defense mechanism of needing to make sarcastic quips every 5 seconds, and the more defensive she got, the less likely it became for her to be serious or mature at crucial points in the story. I mean, the girl almost dies and the first thing she does upon waking up is crack a few dumb jokes-- well I'm sorry, but I don't want to read about a main character who acts like she's constantly auditioning at a comedy club (and failing miserably, I might add)-- I want her to have a grown-up, serious side too! It was just too much. There is no way in hell this chick was 18-- maybe 12? Maybe.... even that's pushing it.

3.) I just love how Kelsey was absolutely shocked and appalled when she sees Ren the Tiger-version and his brother hunt for food. She does realize that "hunting" involves killing something right?? And that tigers have a tendency towards being carnivores? And that tasty meat often comes from cute animals? I mean the girl had to actually sing herself to sleep to get over it-- no, I'm not making this up, she sings herself to sleep ("happy songs" from The Wizard of Oz) because the tigers killed an antelope. Then she has nightmares about it. And she's eighteen   -_-

4.) Kelsey just LOVES to continually tell us about her little "love-plant" for Ren-- because you know, normal people talk like this. By the end I wanted to take some pesticide spray and a blow torch to Kelsey's freaking love-plant and incinerate the damn thing into the ground...

(I won't even get into the fact that she was dumb as a brick and could barely tie her own shoes without Ren holding her hand. But wait, you say! The book says she loves reading Shakespeare, well then she MUST be a total rocket scientist, no?? Give me a fa-reaking break Colleen- sorry my dear, but saying that your main protag reads Shakespeare does NOT make her smart and clever and oh-so-different from everyone else, because she comes across as a complete dumbass in everything else she thinks, does, and says. Need I mention how she nearly gets herself killed near Kishindha? Because she goes to grab a pretty sparkly diamond out of the water, moments after she and Ren nearly died because DUH the prophesy TOLD you not to believe your eyes and that things weren't as they seemed! GAWD she's like freaking Abu the monkey in Aladdin, literally that is who she reminded me of! **slaps forehead in total frustration**)

But I think that out of all the things that bothered me about Kelsey, the VERY WORST was the fact that she made such a snap judgement about Ren-- without even giving him the chance to prove that he was a good guy-- and then proceeded to treat him like total crap for the rest of the book, all for absolutely NO REASON other than her own stinking insecurity that "she wasn't good enough for him." Kelsey Hayes, you were to put it bluntly, one of THE most immature characters I have ever read about, and you need to go find yourself a therapist. Pronto.

So... Let's just say that by the end of this book, I had never wanted to punch a main character in the face quite so badly as Kelsey "Boo-Hoo I'll Never Be Good Enough So I'll Just Act Like a Bitch 24/7" Hayes.

While we're sitting in on How to Make Your Characters As Unlikable as Possible 101, let's take a look at Ren. Overall, the guy wasn't too bad when you stand back and see him over the course of the book-- but I still couldn't stand him. And the thing is, he wouldn't have been such an unlikable character if the author hadn't set him up to be totally unlikable . To prove my point, here are just a few of the phrases used to describe Ren's actions in this book:

-Laughed "acerbically"
-Smiled "mockingly" and "malevolently"
-grinned "maliciously"
-scoffed and smirked
-was "annoyingly happy"

Now you tell me-- would you like a character whose behavior is described this way?? The guy is annoying even when he's happy for crying out loud, and the rest of the time he's described as being a total ass-hat, and I'm supposed to be falling in love with him?!? I mean he sounds like a complete douche, amirite?? There's only two explanations for this kind of character portrayal:

1.) Ren is, in fact, a douche-- in which case I can't stand him and hope he jumps off a cliff, or

2.) Ren is actually a good guy and all of this is Kelsey's perception of him-- in which case Kelsey is *psycho cray cray* and I hope she jumps off a cliff.

In either case, I'm really not rooting for your characters.

Then there's the fact that Ren is-- according to the story-- hundreds of years old. And it seems like in every YA story where one of the characters has been around for a long time (Twilight, Fallen...) we're just supposed to forget this fact and think it makes total sense for them to act like immature teenagers and have character dialogue that's somewhere along the lines of "Ohemgee totally!!." I mean here we have this 300-year old Indian prince and he's referring to Kelsey as "Kells??" Are you freaking kidding me??? So yes, this made Ren even MORE obnoxious as a main character, if that's even possible.

(And oh, hey-- let's not even get into the glaring "ick" factor that this kind of plot point brings up: a 300-year old guy is flirting and trying to get with an 18-year old girl.


I also felt like the pacing of the plot was slightly off. Overall, I thought that the story itself was pretty good-- I loved the Indian setting and the adventurous element it had going on-- but there was just a lot of superfluous description that got in the way for me. For example, when Kelsey gets on the plane to go to India, I thought we were never going to hear the end of all the luxurious details of the plane's interior and the food they ate. Don't get me wrong, I think that adding vivid description to your story is wonderful and sets the backdrop for all the action, but I also think there is a way to describe a scene while still leaving something up to the reader's imagination! I mean, do I *really* care what color hair ribbon Kelsey ties in her braids every day? And by the by, how many 18-year-olds do YOU know who tie hair ribbons in their braids? Or walk around with their blanket like they're freaking Linus from Charlie Brown?? JUST SAYING.

Besides plot pacing being off, many parts of the plot made ZERO SENSE. Tell me, how many foster parents do you know, who seem to be fairly sensible and, oh I don't know, **SANE** let their foster-daughter go off on a trip to INDIA with a strange older man and a tiger, after meeting said man ONE TIME?? This is basically how things played out:

1.) Kelsey works 2 weeks as a hired hand at a circus (WHICH she got from some super-shady work placement company)

2.) Kelsey reads Shakespeare to the tiger at said circus (Hmm yeah, that's totally normal) and then a strange Indian man shows up and tells Kelsey she is PERFECT for taking care of the tiger, if she can only GO TO INDIA to put tiger in a nature reserve (***RED FLAGS GOING OFF HERE***).

3.) Kelsey's parents AGREE TO LET HER GO TO INDIA with strange older man after meeting him once, and within a WEEK Kelsey has all her documentation, passports, vaccines, etc. taken care of and is on a plane to India to take care of a rare white tiger species because 2 weeks of sweeping up crap at a circus has turned her into an animal GENIUS.

**Insert dumb-founded expression HERE 0_o**

Also-- and this is something I didn't even fully realize until awhile after I finished reading it-- but this book is BEYOND RACIST. It basically portrays Indian people as pathetic simpletons with horrible broken English (Ummm guess what Colleen? Many Indian people know how to speak English, and those who don't aren't idiots who you can write about as though they're incoherent monkeys...) Mr. Kadam, the Indian man employed by Prince Ren, basically spends the entire book kissing the ground Kelsey Hayes walks on, waxing eloquent about how amazing she is. WHY?? What the flying you-know-what is so awesome about Kelsey Hayes?? She's a vapid, lazy and stuck-up wish fulfillment device who is glorified by everyone for no good reason. Pretty much everyone in this book who is NOT WHITE AMERICAN is ignorantly and disrespectfully portrayed like a cartoon, exaggerated to the point of being comical-- except that it ISN'T FUNNY because it's straight-up RACISM. Then we have Kelsey- the White Girl Who Saves the Day- someone with absolutely no qualifications or connection to Indian culture, who we find out is actually the "Chosen One" of the Indian goddess Durga. YEAH YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. Kelsey, the most ignorant and brain-dead character ever conceived for YA fiction, the lazy American white girl who acts like a spoiled whiny little brat for 400+ freaking pages- is the savior of the Indian people. Excuse me while I very loudly exclaim:


As far as the romance goes, well if you're a fan of train wrecks, you're going to be in 7th heaven because this was just about as dysfunctional as they come. It was like watching two cars heading for a straight-on collision, and not being able to do a damn thing about it, so you just sit there with the same horrified expression on your face that you'd have if you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of spoiled milk. Three-month-old spoiled milk. I've already described Kelsey's emotional constipation and total lack of ability to do anything remotely mature, but I also didn't like how possessive Ren got of Kelsey as the story went on. Protective tiger-- awesome, Possessive love interest-- HELL to the NO. Not a fan. I was also pretty annoyed at the good ol' YA ploy of presenting the main character as Ms. I'm-Totally-Average-But-Every-Guy-Who-Sees-Me-Falls-Inexplicably-Yet-Madly-In-Love-With-Me-Tee-Hee!-- because it's been done SO many times. In fact, it's gotten to be about as cliche as being Disney-Princess-Perfect. Which brings me to...

**************** My Brief Bookish Rant ****************

Yeah so after all that, you're probably wondering what the heck else I have to rant about. (Do not underestimate my ranting skills *whahahaha!*) So here is my totally random gripe-- and trust me, this is random-- that I have to get off my shoulders. And I'm not trying to pick on this book specifically, it's more of a general trend that I see again and again in YA books-- and my slightly annoyed question is this:

WHY do authors always make a POINT of telling us that their main female characters never or seldom wear makeup?

I know, I know, this is such a dumb thing to rant about, but for *some reason* it bothers me. I mean, is there something bad about wearing makeup or doing your hair on a regular basis? Do they think that makeup makes their protagonist seem stupid or fake? Do they assume that readers won't relate to a character who wears makeup because... I don't know, people who read don't wear makeup? Like why does it even need to be mentioned? It's like they expect me the reader to go, "Ohh, she doesn't wear makeup! Well I can respect her a lot more now!" And then on the other side of things, the "mean girl" or the bitchy back-stabber is often described as wearing makeup or being super tan or having the latest fashions. WHY?? Is it a given that if a girl cares about her appearance she must be less of a person? If the main character is a frumpy Plain-Jane who's never worn heels and who thinks at best she's "average," am I supposed to like her more? What exactly are you trying to convey to me the reader when you tell me that your main character doesn't wear makeup? I just don't see what the heck this has to do with the characterization of someone, and personally I couldn't care less whether the main character wears makeup or not, so stop bringing it up like it's a determining factor in whether or not I'll relate to/like/respect that character more!

(I will mention that Kelsey does get dolled up a few times in the book, but what irked me was her complete inability to see herself as being attractive, no matter what. This is not a good character trait. Insecurity and false modesty are NOT attractive in anyone-- it's extremely immature and I CAN'T STAND characters that constantly use self-pity and self-deprecation to excuse themselves from acting grown-up. SO STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!)

OK, rant over. I feel much better now!

~Final Thoughts~

Tiger's Curse is one of those books that I think appeals to a large group of people because it has a lot of great things going on-- romance, adventure, travel, mystery, an ancient curse-- I mean, what's not to love about that? BUT-- and this is a big but-- none of them, in my opinion, were executed well. The romance devolved into two spoiled teenagers acting like juvenile brats, the adventure and mystery were bogged down by way too much description, and honestly, by the end I was so fed up with the main characters that I really couldn't care less about where the story was going-- I just wanted it to end so I didn't have to constantly fight the temptation to throw the book out the window of a 50-story building.

So my final word with this one is- proceed with caution. While I can see the appeal for many readers, if you are like me and can't stand pointless drama, immature dialogue, and characters who act much younger than their years, you might want to think twice before picking this one up. On the other hand, the ratings overall for Tiger's Curse are extremely good, so this may very well be a case of me just personally not liking it.  Read what other people had to say about this book, you might end up loving it-- I, unfortunately, was not one of those people.

~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
November 5, 2015
If I had to describe Tiger's Curse in one word, that word would be embarrassing. I'm not joking.

Have you ever been in the company of one of those people who is not vindictive or mean, but is unintentionally racist in a way that makes you feel really uncomfortable? Maybe they mimic a foreign accent and think they're being funny. Or they make a joke and don't know the history well enough to know how not fucking funny it is. This book is like one of those people.

Let's start at the beginning of this cringy, offensive, and downright stupid story.

Small prologue aside, the story opens with Kelsey giggling inanely at a job interview. Despite having no qualifications and obviously being a few brain cells short of an IQ rating, Kelsey gets the job - one that requires her to live for two weeks with the circus.

Right away something seemed a bit off when Kelsey hadn't mentioned to her foster parents that she was going for a job, never mind asking for permission to disappear for two weeks. Instead, she just comes home and says “Yo, I have a job living at the circus for two weeks” and her mom is like “Ok, see ya!” Bit odd.

And it only gets weirder when she tells them she's going to India and they’re like “Cool, whatevs!” because they are super liberal hippies so that makes total sense. Again, a bit odd. Or should I say "highly fucking convenient"?

I started feeling uncomfortable as soon as Kelsey arrived at the circus and the Italian owner speaks like this:
“I like de surprises. It keeps me-a young and a most handsome man.”

Oh no. Something shriveled up inside me as I considered what the Indian people would speak like.

Well... India is not treated as a nation with people, cultures and history, it is treated as an exotic setting that Kelsey can swan about in and play dress-up. The Indian medicine man in the jungle is a caricature of an old Indian person and, as Vanessa pointed out, speaks like Yoda.

But, of course, there's a much bigger problem here. And if you don't think it's an issue, then I strongly encourage you to read books about cultural imperialism or Edward Said's fantastic book about Western attitudes towards Middle Eastern, Asian and North African societies - Orientalism.

Kelsey is an idiotic white american and yet somehow, though the population of India is more than 3x that of the United States, she is the chosen one to break this Hindu curse. Why the fuck would that be the case? Only a white person has the power to solve another culture’s problems? Oh, I’m sure the author didn’t mean it that way, you say. I’m sure she didn’t intend to propagate the age-old idea that brown people need white people to think for them and save them...

And, you know what? I think you’re right. I’m also sure the author didn’t intend it that way because I don’t think she gave a single fucking thought to how her representation of this culture would look. She wanted to write about a white girl and use “exotic” but not really Indian mythology, and that - as they say - was that.

Not only is Kelsey the white saviour of the brown peoples, she is also smarter than the smartest Indians (if you can believe it!). Mr Kadam is supposed to be some amazing scholar on Hindu mythology and yet Kelsey the dumb manages to frequently educate him about things he didn’t know/never thought of.

A Hindu mythology, I might add, that has been both westernized and mixed up with other Asian mythology. Someone really needs to tell Ms Houck that “Asian” is a very non-specific term and covers a LOT of very different people. Someone also needs to tell her that Asian mythology shouldn’t be grouped under one umbrella, and that using Japanese mythology in a book about Indian mythology is just dumb.

Yes, for some reason, despite her lack of qualifications, friends, cultural respect and general brain cells, Kelsey is the chosen one. She is one of those characters that glows with an inexplicable specialness and yet never really demonstrates any reason why we should believe she is special. She just is, for fuck sake!

Ren is a gorgeous prince and... that’s it. Oh, sometimes he’s crazy possessive too. It’s not sexy. Though the obsession with beauty goes beyond Ren - many of the characters in the book are characterised solely by their looks: Ren, Kishan, Yesubai, Durga... they literally have no personality. But then again, neither does Kelsey beyond being annoying and stupid.

This is honestly just a terrible book. Bad writing, bad characterization, extremely convenient events/occurrences propelling the plot... and that's before we even get to the racism. What a mess.

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Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,090 followers
October 24, 2011
Seriously, GR? I mean, SERIOUSLY? You thought you could just... delete my review and it would be gone forever? I'll take your deletion and raise you one cached copy of my review and one middle finger.

My five year old nephew had to prepare a piece about himself for kindergarten last week. It went something like this: Hi, my name is Manoj. I'm five years old. I like singing. I am also a good dancer. My favourite food is Maggi noodles.

What's shocking is that Colleen Houck's prose bears a startling resemblance to my nephew's. I kid you not. If this story had been written by a twelve year old, I might have respected her acumen. Coming from a fully grown woman, it's just sad. There is literally nothing to recommend this book. The writing style is terrible; whoever edited this book will go to a special hell reserved for bad editors. The research is awful, the characterisation is complete crap and I am running out of adjectives to describe how bad this book is.

The sad thing is, I was really excited by the premise of Tiger's Curse. There are so few fantasy stories set in India, or around Indian mythology, despite the vast potential for fascinating, or scary, or just plain interesting plotlines to be mined from Indian culture. Ilona Andrews, for example, did a fabulous job with the rakshasas in Magic Strikes. So when I read about this book, about an Indian prince cursed to be a tiger, I couldn't wait to dive into some really fresh, interesting writing. Boy, was I conned.

Kelsey is an eighteen year old high school graduate who takes up a summer job in a small circus in Oregon. She befriends a white tiger at the circus, and when a rich Indian man buys the tiger, she is asked to accompany Dhiren, the tiger, to his new home in a sanctuary in India. Once in India, she discovers that the tiger is actually a prince who was cursed by an evil sorceror who coveted his fabled amulet. Kelsey and Dhiren begin an epic journey to break the curse and restore Dhiren. Unfortunately the only epic thing about the entire quest was its stupidity.

The only fun I had reading this book was discovering how Microsoft Reader has all these cool colored bookmarks that I could use to highlight the stupidity of the story. I could even add little bitchy text notes on the side! So, let's take my bookmarked bits in order.

Grinning with a sinister, saccharine smile, Lokesh said... Okay, what self-respecting editor would actually allow someone to get away with writing a sentence like this? It's as if she swallowed a dictionary and vomited it. You know that episode of Friends where Joey had to write a recommendation to the adoption agency for Monica and Chandler, and Ross showed him how to use the thesaurus function? Yep, that's exactly what this is like.

“Hmm,” I muttered to myself, “I wonder what kind of animals they have there. I’d hate to take care of the elephant droppings.” I giggled quietly at my own joke but the lady wasn’t paying attention. Hmm, I wonder why? Could it possibly be because you weren't funny?! How is this a joke? It didn't make me want to laugh, it made me want to chuck a book at her head!

Their example taught me that, “When life gives you lemons make some lemon meringue pie!” This is just pathetic. She goes on to tell us how lemon merigue pie is her favourite dessert for Thanksgiving. Who. Gives. A. Fuck?

Once, I tried to tell one of the girls I often partnered with in science lab that she was crazy to wear heels to school. I even asked if she was scared that she might fall down and break an ankle or something. The inevitable giggle whisper fest occurred between her and her friends. After that incident, it just didn’t seem worth it or important enough to me to try to befriend anyone in high school. I am sorry to say this, but this girl is a loser. A BIG, FAT LOSER. With a giant L tattooed on her forehead. She had a stupid conversation with a random girl about wearing heels to school, and on the strength of that, decided to never befriend anyone ever again? Good decision there, cause who would WANT to be friends with this moron?

My skills in sewing, embroidering, cooking, and coloring in a coloring book the fancy way all came from her patient teaching. Is this girl some sort of throwback to the Quakers or something? Or maybe Amish? Although I would think even Amish grandmoms had something better to teach their grandkids than how to 'color in a coloring book the fancy way'.

I thought I had a little bit of OCD because my drawers were also meticulously tidy. My socks were all rolled in balls, arranged from the front of the drawer to the back. I usually grabbed the front ones and worked my way to the back. White socks were lined up on the right, black ones in the middle, and colored ones on the left. This, after she has spent a page describing the rest of her closet. TMI, woman, TMI! What does this have to do with the damn cursed prince story, anyway?

“At the present, you must respite. Important sunrise is tomorrow. Phet must pray in the dark hours, and you necessity sleep. Embark on tomorrow your traverse. It’s hard as difficult." Who really talks like this, apart from Yoda? And this is not a little green man from another galaxy, this is a reclusive Indian monk who, I am guessing, doesn't know much English, although if he learnt words like 'embark' and 'traverse' and 'respite', I don't see why he couldn't have learnt some grammar to go with them. This is not how Indian people talk. I promise.

This is about the point where even the multicolored bookmarks didn't make it fun enough to keep highlighting the mass stupidity that is this book. Colleen Houck is incapable of telling a story. She spends about three pages, in a question-and-answer session about tigers. If I wanted to know about the eating habits of a tiger, I would look it up on Wikipedia. This is not storytelling, its an INFODUMP. I don't know who told this woman that question-and-answer formats are a good way to fill in the background, because she does it AGAIN, devoting a large amount of unnecessary wordspace to describing the caste system in India. By this point you're already halfway through the book and looking for any excuse to throw it in the trash, so she's not really selling her book with her innovative writing style.
And don't even get me started on her research.

According to this story, one can buy a white tiger, an endangered species, ship it on a private plane to India in the same cabin as the humans and then unload it just as if it were a particularly large stuffed toy, and put a collar on it and lead it around. Now I don't know very much about the laws governing the international transport of a protected, endangered species, but a degree in law and basic common sense tells me that there are bound to be tests, quarantine laws, rules governing transportation, etc. before releasing a tiger into the wild. But hey, that's the real world, right?

Also, Kelsey spends a large part of the book running around with a white tiger in the backseat of her Jeep. And nobody notices. Nope, not even when the truck driver who was supposed to be transporting them to the tiger sanctuary offloads the tiger in the middle of the street and fucks off. And this is in a town, not the middle of the forest or anything. So apparently, in addition to talking like Master Yoda and being careless with our endangered species, we Indians are also deaf, dumb and blind.

These are only the major, glaring errors in the book. There are a bunch of other minor irritants too. Functional cellphones in the middle of the forest, for example. Please, sometimes, I don't get cellphone service a few miles out of the city, but this girl miraculously gets it in the middle of the jungle where there are NO CELLULAR TOWERS? She must be using Barrons' magical cellphone! Hey, can I get one?

And the 'chemistry' between our moronic heroine and her tiger-man is non-existent. Dhiren is a badly drawn character with no depth. He apparently reappears after every transformation from tiger to man in the clothes that he wore when he was cursed. These are... wait for it... white trousers and a long-sleeved white shirt. Yup. I am beyond words. A simple Wiki search will tell anyone what the clothing of 16th century India was amongst the ruling caste, and trousers and a shirt aren't it.

Ugh, and when he asks for 'permission' to kiss her, she blathers on about how asking for permission is so old-fashioned, and then berates herself about it forever when he stalks off. I'm embarrassed for this girl, and I think the best thing for her to have done afterwards was to have drowned herself in the pool so that we didn't have to put up with any more of her stupidity. And besides, no 16th century Indian man would dream of kissing a white woman. He'd lose his caste, and that kind of stuff was important to people back then.

And the worst part is, this is the first book in a trilogy. There is plenty more torture to come for anyone who cares to subject themselves to this masochism. Considering I didn't manage to get more than halfway through this book, you can be sure I won't be wasting my money on this shit!
Profile Image for Era ➴.
217 reviews558 followers
May 20, 2022
[warning: this review is literally too long. I will finish it in the comments because I’m done trying to figure out ways to minimize it. Let that be a sign of how problematic this book is.]

me trying to figure out how this book has over-one-star ratings

I'm genuinely ashamed to have this book on my goodreads list.

I was given this book as a recommendation from my teacher in eighth grade. The only reason I finished it is guilt because I knew she wanted me to enjoy it and I was really hoping for something good to happen in life.
You can see how this book was great foreshadowing for this entire year of 2020.

There should be a zero-star rating option on goodreads. If I rate this book one star, it’s too high, but if I remove the star, then it looks like I didn’t rate the book. So FYI, that one star is meant to be a zero.

This book is about an Indian prince who was cursed 300 years ago involving some incident with his brother, his betrothed, and an evil wizard. Dhiren, our main prince man, fails to do something simple and winds up cursed to become a tiger for the rest of his life until Durga’s chosen one breaks his curse.
That’s about all I remember. The clichés and that failure of an introduction.

Into this mix comes Kelsey Hayes, the Chosen One, blessed of the goddess Durga, befriender of the cursed white tiger, and literally the dumbest fucking white girl I have ever read. This bitch nicknamed a tiger “Ren” (because Dhiren is sooooo hard for her American dumbass to pronounce) and apparently, despite not having half a brain cell, is the one chosen to accompany said cursed tiger to India to break his curse.

I CANNOT deal with the stupidity of this bitch, and coming from me, that’s saying a lot. At one point, she calls a pretty Indian girl “exotic”.

Back the FUCK up.

“Exotic” is an outdated, flowery word used to describe plants, foods and animals that come from foreign cultures. It is not a word used to describe people. Describing someone as exotic means telling them “I equate you to an animal or plant because you look like you come from somewhere lesser than my white supreme country”. It is a derogatory word that is never used as a compliment by an educated individual.

Which actually makes sense since clearly Kelsey has no education whatsoever.

Colleen Houck made the most obliviously racist, skewed plot I’ve ever seen through the eyes of the dumbest white bitch I’ve ever read. What else am I mad about? Let’s make a list.

The romance misogyny. What romance? Where? Did it die along with Kelsey’s brain?
The entirety of this book is Kelsey feeling attracted to a Tiger Prince with muscles. Said Tiger Prince with muscles is an overprotective dick whose mission is to find a thing with Kelsey so he can break his curse. Or something. I don’t know.
This romance was ACTUALLY worse than Twilight. I mean that. Twilight was semi-decent. This book is literal death.
Kelsey, being the stupid little girl with no skills other than staring at Ren’s muscles, is protected by Ren and his muscles. Ren ~protects~ her with his overpossessive pigheadedness and his job as the big manly misogynistic prince. Oh, and did I mention that he has muscles?
Oh, and Kelsey recites poetry to a tiger while working at a circus. Because THAT’S normal. And then to make the romance more trashy spicy, Ren has a brother who is also cursed and also has muscles.
No. Stop.
We don’t need a love triangle between two brothers who are both competing for the same dumb bitch. We don’t need a love triangle at all. But I guess this book has an excuse since there’s no real romance in it anyway.
What happened to real chemistry, understanding and character development?

Basically, the romance went like this:
Kelsey: OHMYGOD he’s so hot and tall and cursed and he has
Ren: I’m a cursed tiger prince and you are a weak little girl, I MUST PROTECT YOU LIKE THE STRONG MAN I AM
Kelsey: he’s so HOT
Kelsey: but he’s so hot and I’m plain, and I’m going to break his curse and we’ll NEVER BE TOGETHER [insert melodramatic Billie Eilish song]
Kelsey: you’re an animal and I don’t want anything to do with you
Ren: what the fuck why are you being a bitch?
Kelsey: *staring at Ren’s biceps* what why are you being so meeaannnnn?

“A girl can still admire, can’t she? Even those who can’t afford to go in the store can still window-shop. Right? Knowing he wasn’t for me didn’t mean I couldn’t covet the merchandise.”

Get over yourself. And while you’re at it, get a brain.

The convenience. Please, please, please, if you are writing a book, at least make it somewhat realistic. I don’t care how fantasy it is, even Celaena has to pee in Throne of Glass.
This is how the beginning went: Kelsey interviews for a summer job at a circus to take care of a tiger. Despite not having any qualifications or willingness to actually do something useful, Kelsey gets the job. Her foster parents don't know that she went to interview for the job. When she gets home, she just goes “I got a job at a circus with a tiger” and their reaction is “cool, see you after work!”
When Kelsey is picked by some mysterious Indian guy (whose name I have forgotten) to accompany Dhiren, aka Ren, aka the asshole with muscles, to India, she tells her parents “this older Indian guy wants me to accompany him and this speshul circus tiger to India” and her foster parents’ reaction is “Have fun!”

Is this...actually how lax American parents are? Or is this as bullshit as I suspect it to be?

At one point, Kelsey made a guess about some thing that she and Ren were trying to escape. I don’t know. Again, I don’t remember anything because the brain blocks out traumatic memories.
But what doesn’t make sense is that Kelsey was actually right? That cannot be possible. Kelsey doesn’t have half a brain cell. How would she be right about anything?
It would’ve actually added something to this pile of trash book if there had been real obstacles, real challenges, and realistic setting. But no, Kelsey obviously got it all right because the uneducated white girl who doesn’t even know who Durga is understands everything.

That brings me to number two on my list. The racism. I’m sorry if it sounds offensive when I keep emphasizing how white Kelsey is. That’s not how I mean it at all. I’m just trying to make my point.
First, the racist shit that comes out of Kelsey’s mouth. Exotic is the bare surface of that.
Second, there’s also the general characters and setting that are completely skewed. The Indian guy who takes Kelsey to India is apparently a “fluent English speaker” because he’s been learning it for 400+ years. Yes, I complain about how much the language sucks, but I’ve been learning it for fifteen years and I have a fine handle on it.
And then the prophet guy who talks like a broken Yoda and lives In ThE tReEs™.
No. Just because he’s not a white native English speaker does not mean he can’t speak English. I’m not a white native English speaker and look at me ranting to you about this bullshit! Do I sound like a bad caricature?
And then the Italian guy from the circus. What the fuck was that? Why did he sound like a dying cartoon pizza chef? Why?
I would like to very clearly explain to you that NON-WHITE PEOPLE CAN STILL SPEAK ENGLISH FLUENTLY. We do not sound like cartoon characters. We do not sound like Yoda. We sound like people. And for someone whose job is literally to create characters...this was disgusting.
And then the fucking setting. India is not a disorganized country made up of unruly drivers and dust roads. It is not an uncultivated forest. It is not an uncivilized third-world country.
The sad part is, after elaborating so much on how primitive the civilization (also known as a major city) was, Kelsey breezes right on into a modern glass mansion owned by the older guy who took her to India. A MODERN MANSION in a rainforest, because obviously you can find so much Western “culture” in the middle of such an uncivilized country.
And THEN Kelsey goes camping in said forest because for some reason that I don’t remember, she and Ren have to go survive in the wilderness. And GUESS WHAT, it’s a hell full of...tree roots and mosquitoes. But it’s GORGEOUS because there’s a WATERFALL and it’s WILD and EXOTIC [imagine this said in a white-bitch-voice].
This is not how forests and culture work.
Oh, speaking of culture. Why does Kelsey wear a sari to go out to dinner? I’m sorry, does every Indian woman and girl in the entire country wear a sari? No, right? I don’t know anything about Indian culture, but I’m willing to guess that something about this is off (please someone correct me if I’m wrong about this). This little bitch does NOT get to breeze into India and play dress-up with cultural fabric.

I could go on. But I’m running out of characters here, so I hope you already understand how problematic this book is. If not, I will gladly continue ranting in the comments.

My third point. Kelsey’s brain cells. Are they real? Are they just another myth? No one knows.

“Just so you know, I hate camping. I'm not so much appreciating the fact that there's no bathroom out here. 'Nature calls' while walking in nature is on my list of least favorite things. You tigers, and men in general, have it so much easier than us girls.”

She said to the man who had been cursed for 300 years. Bitch, it’s not that hard to survive if you have a brain. You don’t need a big strong man to protect you. You don’t need a backpack that is conveniently full of supplies. You don’t need more magical supplies. You need a brain.
Kelsey is so spoiled and annoying, I don’t even know how to deal with her. Not only is she the epitome of a clueless white bitch (I would know what that looks like), she’s whiny and makes stupid metaphors.
Like her “crush” - if you can call it that - on Ren. She refers to it as a “love-plant”. Why? I forget that too. Maybe the expression “nip this in the bud”. Or maybe just because it’s an illogical growing organism.
Kelsey, take your “love-plant” and shove it up your ass.

Fourth point. Kelsey.
Well, all of the characters.
Kelsey was selfish and annoying. She didn’t know anything about anything. And don’t even get me started on the fact that she’s the ChOsEn OnE™.
Why did Durga, an Indian goddess, bless this bitch? Why an idiot white girl with no brain cells and no skills other than being stupid? Why not an Indian girl who actually knows her mythology and actually knows who Durga is?
There was no legitimate reason for Kelsey to be the one to save Ren, other than the fact that she is the Protagonist™ and therefore is the Chosen One™ because obviously the Indian people need a white bitch to save them all.
Do I think Colleen Houck intended to be racist about this? No, because she probably didn't think about this at all. Kelsey is speshul. End of story.
This girl is so selfish and whiny and clueless. Worst protagonist ever, and I've read City of Bones.

“I was indignant. This was too much! It was so awful to see someone I cared about broken down into nothing that I became furious. Someone or something was playing games with us, and I hated it. What was worse was knowing that the same things were happening to Ren somewhere in these tunnels. Who knew how they were representing me!”

Dhiren, aka Ren, aka an asshole with muscles, is as possessive as TimTam and as stereotyped as Edward. He’s the brooding cursed guy with a Tragic Backstory™. But his backstory isn’t even that tragic because it’s literally just him failing to do something that he should have known how to do and getting himself and his brother cursed, and then watching his unknown fiancée die. This dickhead is misogynistic and disgusting.

“As a man, I instantly became aware of the gold in her hair, her height measured against mine, and how easily she'd fit in my arms.”

Please, no. If there is a man reading this, please tell me that you aren’t this condescending and sick. Please tell me you’re not this shallow that the first thing you notice about a girl is how well she would pair with your shoulders.

“Thanks, now I have a wet T-shirt.”
I felt his smile on the back of my neck. “Perhaps that was my intention.”

Okay, I get that Ren hasn’t seen a girl since he got his fiancée murdered, but...this isn’t how you treat a woman. It is NOT romantic that you make her shirt wet so that you can see her. It is NOT romantic to intentionally objectify her. It is NOT romantic to be so sexualized that you would pull something like this.

“Pulling the chair out for me, he invited me to sit.
I stood there wondering if I could sprint for the nearest exit. Stupid strappy shoes, I'd never make it.
He leaned in close and whispered in my ear, "I know what you're thinking, and I'm not going to let you escape again. You can either take a seat and have dinner with me like a normal date," he grinned at his word choice, "or," he paused thoughtfully then threatened, "you can sit on my lap while I force-feed you.”

That's...even worse. How the fuck is this romantic? He's fucking abusive and toxic and disgusting. And Kelsey is fine with it because oh she's such a delicate little girl and he's her prince with muscles. And it's so sweet that he offered to shove food down her throat because she wanted to run away from him. Red flags, anyone?

That adult guy who took Kelsey to India. I forgot his name. But yeah this guy was mysterious, mature and a little suspicious at first but he was decent. I’d say he was smart except that he believed Kelsey had the mental capability to do shit.
Ren’s brother who was also cursed to be a tiger due to Ren’s failure to do something basic. I think his name was Kishan? He was also a masculine jerk, and annoying, but he was actually polite and somewhat understanding (if anyone can understand Kelsey’s bullshit, because I can’t). He was useless and annoying but better than Ren.
Ren’s dead betrothed princess. I forget her name too. She was okay. She was the only character I actually liked, since she had enough of a brain to try to run away from whatever shit was happening with Ren. Unfortunately, she was the typical “damsel in distress” and was consequently killed.
Also the victim of another terrible love triangle.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews576 followers
July 5, 2013
I’m white. Being white means I have a certain level of privilege that people of colour are not afforded. I’ve never had to experience racism, I’ve never been slurred based on the colour of my skin and I don’t have to live with the extreme social and economic gap that people of colour do in terms of employment, higher education, sexual assault, health issues, etc. Sometimes when I’m looking at an issue, it can be very easy for me to look over the experiences of others. This isn’t deliberate but it is a sign that my race has levelled the playing field in a way that just isn’t open for people who aren’t white. I make a conscious effort to see the bigger picture, take into account the experiences of others and to check my privilege at every possible turn. Frankly, every white person should do so.

I say all this now because I think it’s important for me to put this disclaimer before my piece, wherein I discuss what I saw as the gross ignorance and cultural appropriation present in the book “Tiger’s Curse” by Colleen Houck, a white American YA author. The novel, which takes place primarily in India, centres on a young white American woman called Kelsey who, through a series of laughable and increasingly convoluted events, finds herself looking after a cursed Indian prince who is stuck in the body of a tiger. She accompanies him back to his homeland in order to accomplish several tasks to break the curse, and through this process finds out that she is the chosen one of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Before I can even tackle the cultural issues of this book, I have to discuss just how terrible it is on a basic storytelling level. The book, which was originally self-published on Amazon before being picked up by a publisher and becoming a NYT best-seller, is abysmal. There’s no other word for it. The prose is childish and juvenile, often reading like an essay by a fourteen year old who has just learned how to speak English. Throughout the extremely padded story, the irritating narrator Kelsey displays the emotional and intellectual maturity of a tween, one who is far more concerned with describing every single meal she eats or piece of clothing she wears over the action packed tasks she is set to accomplish. We are subjected to list after list of every single thing Kelsey does, from her morning routine to her showering. Any potential for excitement in the more action packed scenes is quickly shot down because of the stilted prose. I don’t ask for much realism in my books with cursed tiger princes but when I’m rolling my eyes on page 4 (when Kelsey literally walks into a job centre and is given a job helping to look after a tiger in a travelling circus despite a total lack of qualifications), that’s not good.

Supporting characters make no impact beyond their broad offensive stereotypes (the Italian circus owner speaks like the pizza chef from “The Simpsons” while most of the Indian characters speak in the broken English style reserved for racist jokes – shockingly, people in India can speak English, many of them very well. They’re not uneducated simpletons who need a nice white lady to fix their problems). The romance is essentially insta-love but Kelsey is at least smart enough to acknowledge that an Indian price deprived of female contact for hundreds of years may just latch onto the first one he sees. Overall, I was actually embarrassed by the quality of the novel. There is basically no villain until the cheap cliff-hanger epilogue, and the story really could have benefited from some actual antagonism beyond “Baww, Ren is so hot and I want to kiss him!” I was dying for the opportunity to find a paper copy and take big red pen to it. I easily could have removed 20% of that padding and it wouldn’t have made an ounce of difference to the story.

Of course, the real issue with this novel is the portrayal of India and its culture, particularly its religious mythos. The moments where facts about India are shoehorned in feel like Houck just googled random Indian facts and copy-pasted them into the document. People recite stale facts as part of the dialogue and it sounds as though they’re just reading from Wikipedia. I even googled several passages to make sure they weren’t plagiarised from websites because I just couldn’t be sure otherwise. Whenever Kelsey stays in a hotel in India, she stays in the lap of luxury, conveniently avoiding the poorer areas of the country and even the more middle-class areas. This is tourism for the spoiled White Kelsey. It’s like colonialism never happened.

Then again, these moments aren’t anywhere near as offensive as when Houck just makes stuff up. For instance, a character mentions an Islamic belief that Allah sends tiger’s down from heaven to protect his devotees. That’s completely untrue. No such legend exists. While Islam is one of the main religions in India, its origins lie to the Middle East, and there aren’t a whole lot of tigers there. My GoodReads friend Nessa covers this in more detail, including Houck’s inability to keep the mythology of any country straight (kappas?!). This isn’t Hindi culture, this is Disney’s Hinduism for beginners, completely stripped of all the complexities and less then PG rated aspects.

I really became angry when White Kelsey is declared the chosen one of the goddess Durga. The population of India is over 1.2 billion people, yet the chosen one of Durga is a white American girl. Even she questions whether this is right! This brief moment of clarity only serves to aggravate the sheer insulting nature of yet another appearance of the white saviour. Remember in “Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom” how Indy, the very obviously white guy, was the one the poor helpless villagers said was sent by Shiva to save them? What about Kony 2012, a white saviour project so smug and misinformed that it went from online sensation to public joke in about a fortnight? Let’s not forget every single movie set in an American inner-city high school where the nice white lady/man comes in to teach those black/Hispanic kids how to improve their lives, then she gets down with their urban dancing! And, of course, Bono. It is not the job of white people to swoop in on some moral mission and save the poor unfortunate non-white souls. It’s depressing enough that we’re still trying this shit in 2013, I don’t want to have to see it deployed as a cheap exploitative plot device in order to make an irritating and poorly developed Mary Sue be made even more special.

Two things came to mind while reading “Tiger’s Curse”. One was “Temple of Doom”, since the action scenes and general narrative felt very much like Indiana Jones fan-fiction, only without Short Round, and the other was Selema Gomez. Lately, Gomez has been on the receiving end of a lot of justified controversy for her repeated wearing of the bindi in her performances. Gomez seems to be wearing the bindi for no other reason than it looks “cool”.Iggy Azalea’s latest music video “Bounce” is set during an Indian wedding for no apparent reason, with Azalea in traditional dress. Gwen Stefani wore the bindi in the past, as have many other white pop-stars. They took something that wasn’t their culture, stripped it of its cultural and historical context and made it into a fashion accessory. The Aerogram put it best here:

“The political context in which cultural symbols exist is important. Cultural appropriation happens — and the unquestioned sense of entitlement that white Americans display towards the artifacts and rituals of people of color exists too. All “appropriation” is not merely an example of cultural sharing, an exchange between friends that takes place on a level playing field.”

“Tiger’s Curse” uses Indian culture for no apparent reason other than it’s “cool”. The food is tasty, the clothes are colourful, the gods and goddesses are interesting and it’s all there for white people to cherry pick for cheap artistic purposes. Houck at least doesn’t white-wash this version of India, although the two love interests (yes, love triangle) are essentially blank slates who exist to push a plot forward and fawn over the extremely irritating White Kelsey. This should be their story and it’s not. It’s the story of the white girl. It’s yet another tired narrative where the white people come in to save the day from those poor locals with their non-white skin and lack of privilege. Keep in mind just how few mainstream YA novels feature heroines of colour and then look at this book. Why is the supposedly relatable heroine white and why is she so special to an Indian goddess when she has absolutely no connection or understanding of said culture besides the plot telling us she’s special? There are many reasons why you should avoid “Tiger’s Curse”, but if you need to pick one then avoid it because Hindi culture is not Houck’s to fetishize.

Originally published on The Book Lantern. Go give us some page views!

Profile Image for Holli.
155 reviews
September 4, 2013
If you are looking for a good YA paranormal romance series, look no further. SERIOUSLY. You will read, re-read, and then read some more ... until your entire life, lives, breaths, screams, TIGER, and your family threatens to have you committed. Just start collecting everything Tiger now, and save yourself some time. :)

Now that I've got that out of the way, lets start with the review.


The first thing I noticed when I spotted this book was the detail in the cover. I'm not a shallow woman, but I do admit that a pretty cover will catch my eye. I love that the cover is textured, and that when you turned it in the light, it picks up multiple colors. The way the design is blended gives it an almost smokey, or misted image, that is haunting.

Which makes it all the more appropriate, because this story sticks with you, long after your finished reading it. It will invade your dreams, your waking thoughts, until you find yourself drawing little hearts encircling the name, Ren.:)))

The second thing that impressed me was the weight of the book. Call me crazy, [If you've made it this far into my review, I'm sure your already questioning my sanity], but when your a dedicated reader, you love the feel of the book in your hands, the texture and smell of the pages. So when I picked up this book to take a peek at the content, I was more than impressed with how solid it felt in my hand.

Content, getting to the story line ...

Colleen Houck did a fantastic job, thinking through the world she created for this series. It is very apparent while reading, the dedication she put into the research supporting the plot. The amount of detail intricately woven into the story, made it easy to visualize what the characters were seeing. It was like sitting front row center of the ultimate movie. [without the stiff neck]. :) FANTASTIC!

The series is unique. We have seen many series based off Angels, Nephilum, Vampires, Werewolves, Fey, Mermaids, Shape shifters, Ghosts, Zombies, ...ext. However, this is the first series I have ever read based on Tigers. It was fresh and took me into uncharted territory.

I really learned a great deal while reading this book. It was laced with Indian culture, history, and religious practices, that were simulated beautifully. I felt like I was vacationing in foreign land while sitting in my living room. Kudos Colleen. You went above and beyond making this story believable to your readers!

I appreciate the balance between the history, action, and romance. It didn't matter which direction the book was taking, I continually found myself turning the pages needing to know what the outcome was. Once I started, I found it impossible to put down. Once I was finished, I found myself flipping back to the first page. I promise you, this will be a book you read multiple times!

The characters ....

Wow, where do I begin? ....
Kesley is the heroin of this book. She was well built, and I found it easy to connect with her. I appreciate her strength, and integrity in following through on her word. I also relate to her independent nature, and hesitance in allowing herself to be vulnerable enough to get hurt. Though there were times I was screaming at my book for choices she made, ... I appreciated the suspense it built, which was what kept me diving deeper and deeper into the story.

Mr. Kadam ... how awesome is he? In many ways, Mr. Kadam was Kelsey's rock. He was always there to teach, help, listen, and most of all, support her with the hard choices she faced. He loved her like she truly was his family. Not to mention his devotion to the Tiger brothers. His character is solid, and grounded. He is unwavering and has true integrity. Mr. Kadam is every little girls dream for a grandfather.

The brothers ... [insert dreamy smile here] :) Ren, oh Ren, how much I love thee! LOL Tall, dark, handsome, strong, genuine, dependable, determined, HANDSOME, ;) .... those eyes! Sigh* :) His character also has a high level of integrity that is swoon worthy. Ren is a man of his word! He surpasses all other Princes in whatever fairy tale happily ever afters you can muster up. You can not help but fall hopelessly in love with his character! Kishan ... whew! Kishan is also a man of his word, only he is more hands on. Kishan sees what he wants and he takes the front line. He is also as attractive as Ren, with the bad boy air tacked on. A guilty indulgence. Colleen did not go easy on her readers! :)

There is only one thing I can honestly say about Lokesh. I hope he gets swallowed whole by a dragon in Voyage. The end. :)

Overall .... This book is magical. It is full of action, adventure, true friendship, and a romance so breathtaking, you'll want to revisit it again and again. Have a box of tissues handy! Go get you a copy NOW! You won't regret a minute of it! :) FIVE STARS

Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,124 followers
October 21, 2015

Just look at my status updates to see why I abhor... ABHOR... this book.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit E:

I am DONE!. I wouldn't wish this book even upon my worst enemy.
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
772 reviews1,497 followers
September 27, 2014
Edit: 9/27/2014 Retroactively reducing my ratings for these books because when I first read them I did not notice the racism/cultural appropriation.

Okay, I just cannot be bothered to write a long review for this book. I can barely be bothered to write a review at all. The writing was terrible and the pacing painful from beginning to end, but the characters weren't a total waste (well, until Kelsey suddenly and inexplicably decided to be stupid and push Ren away. You know, I was sort of enjoying watching the slow build of her relationship with him and it was kind of sweet, and then - what the fuck, girl, is all I really have to say) even if they were generally cliched and pretty silly. The plot is pretty far from mind-blowing but it serves its purpose. That being said, the writing is really so abysmal that if it hadn't picked up a bit at the end, this would have been a one-star read for that reason alone. There were times, especially in the beginning, when I could barely get through half a page without hitting a sentence that made me cringe.

Anyhow, at this point I really just don't give a fuck anymore. Other than its writing (and really, has this seen the eyes of a professional editor? Because if it has and it still came out this way, they should be ashamed and possibly fired for not doing jack shit) this book didn't really make me angry. It didn't make me happy. Reading it was... not suffering, but drudgery. I could not in good conscience recommend it to someone, except maybe on April Fool's Day and then only if I didn't like them.

Two stars for apathy instead of anger. I cannot fucking believe that I'm still going to read the sequel, but it was a gift.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,768 reviews1,768 followers
August 3, 2016
When I was nine years old, I wrote a story called "The Two Trees," which in addition to being basically plagiarized from a number of sources (most notably The Ordinary Princess, but also a smidge here and there from Aladdin the film and The Farthest-Away Mountain), was obviously written by a nine year old. Like, if you would have picked it up and read it completely out of context and then somebody asked you to list off three things that described it, the list would look something like this:

1. Princesses are neat,
2. Good handwriting,
3. Obviously written by a nine year old.

Unfortunately, Tiger's Curse reads like it could fit all three of those descriptors, too. Publishing is in a really sad state if someone who writes like I did at nine years of age can get published, when so many really talented authors receive rejection letter after rejection letter. If the industry was working the way it's supposed to, this book never would have made it to print.

You guys know I mean business because this is a one star review, and I NEVER do that. Pretty much if a book is even halfway competently written and I enjoy myself while reading it, it gets four stars. It's really not that hard to get four stars from me, even three if I can appreciate what an author has done, but it's just not my thing. Two stars is usually reserved for things that I'm morally opposed to or repulsed by (i.e. the anti-feminist awfulness of New Moon). But one star? One star means something went wrong on the chain of command. One star means this book never should have seen the light of day.

Let me be clear here: I don't have anything against Ms. Houck as a person. I'm sure she deserves wonderful things. She's a very nice woman. I know this because I met her, and she signed my book. This is actually why I bought the thing in the first place. She happened to be at my Barnes & Noble doing a signing, and I just happened to win a free t-shirt* in a raffle, so I thought what the hey, let's get a signed copy, you'll probably love this, you big sap. I certainly didn't anticipate having the reaction that I did. Because let me tell you something: this book is worse than Twilight on just about every level**, and that is not an exaggeration. In terms of characterization, description, plot development, pacing, and my God, dialogue, Twilight looks like Shakespeare in comparison to Tiger's Curse.

I mean, where to start with this book? I had such high mediocre hopes. The plot--eighteen year old American falls in love with an Indian prince who's cursed into the form of a tiger--sounded suitably ridiculous, and I appreciated that it was set in India, and that there were no vampires in it***. From there, it went downhill fast: The book has no overt structure, scenes do not flow one into the other with any kind of purpose, and there is no regard whatsoever for what I'm going to call "depth of time," for lack of a better term -- events in the novel just happen one after another, because the author needed them to, not because they fit organically in with the story. One minute something is happening, and the next, something else, with no connection in between. All of the characters come off as shallow and two-dimensional. We hear what they're thinking very literally, but we never feel it. (This is how I know my issue with this book is the writing, and not the story: good writers are supposed to make you forget you're reading.) Our main character Kelsey is emblematic of everything that is wrong with this book. Ms. Houck seems to think that telling us what color ribbon she ties in her braid every morning is riveting, character-telling stuff. But it just comes off as immature. What eighteen year old ties colored ribbons on the end of a braid? More importantly, what narrative would ever think that was important? But the biggest problem with Kelsey is that she comes off as incredibly stupid, when she's not supposed to. She travels to India with a man she's just met, she gets incredibly close to a dangerous wild animal with almost no narrative justification, and her decision making skills when it comes to prince-in-disguise Ren are non-existent****.

I think it's important to note that I'm 100% positive that Ms. Houck did not mean for her characters or her story to come off this way. Unlike Stephenie Meyer--who Ms. Houck not coincidentally lists as an influence--Ms. Houck has no agenda to push, and her characters are attempting to stand for something important. I can tell that she wants Kelsey to be viewed as a strong, independent young woman. She just has no conception of how to WRITE her that way. Or write at all, really. Reading Tiger's Curse, I was actually BORED, and there was some crazy shit going down. It was like reading a bad fanfic. Description, inner monologue, dialogue, all of it: flat. Immature. Just plain bad writing. I don't know of any other way to convey this without sounding like an asshole.

So how did this book get published in the first place? Ms. Houck self-published it as an e-book on Amazon, and enough brain-dead pre-teens downloaded it to draw the attention of movie studios, at which point Barnes & Noble's new YA imprint, Splinter, bought the rights to what they obviously perceived as their chance at the next Twilight, the next Hunger Games. And to that I say, good luck to you, but you know what might actually be a good idea? Publishing someone who can actually write. Also, stop trying to find the next "_____". FIND SOMETHING ORIGINAL AND GOOD AND PUBLISH THAT INSTEAD.

There is no next Hunger Games. Publishers aren't even going to see that next thing coming, and when it does, they're going to copy the hell out of it, too, because it's easier, less risky financially, than taking a chance on something that might actually be good. At least Tiger's Curse, as poorly written as it was, was attempting to be original (as original as the teen supernatural romance genre can be, anyway). There's a lot of good information about Indian culture in here; Ms. Houck clearly did her homework. However, her characters spout it off at the most awful moments. It's never organic -- hello, Expositionville, Expositiontown, located in Exposition-nation. And that's really the biggest problem the book has. It's all concept, but no follow through. Don't even bother trying to read this for kicks, like I did with Twilight. It's not that kind of bad. Don't believe me? Pick up the book at random and turn to a page, any page at all. Chances are, you'll see what I mean.*****

- - -

*So I won this t-shirt, and I was like YES. FREE T-SHIRT. And when I went to claim my prize, Ms. Houck asked me which t-shirt I would like: the one with one tiger, or the one with two, and OBVIOUSLY I picked the one with TWO TIGERS, because why would you have a shirt with just one tiger on it, when you could have a t-shirt with TWO TIGERS instead? No brainer.
**No fictional character will ever do as much harm to the cognitive development and cultural landscape of teenage girls as Bella Swann has in the past five years. If this book had been well-written, Kelsey would probably whip Bella's ass five times in a row. As is, she's nothing more than an empty, shallowly disguised author stand-in.
***Unless you count kappas.
****Let's play a game called PREDICT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT FOUR BOOKS: 1) Each book will involve finding one item to break the curse, 2) Kelsey will become confused and fall "in love" with Ren's brother, Kishan, and Ms. Houck will spend multiple books with her puzzling her way out of this "dilemma," 3) Ren will become either insanely jealous and fight with his brother, or nobly fall on his sword to give his lady love what she wants, or both, 4) Somebody will be coincidentally related to somebody else, 5) Kelsey will coincidentally be the reincarnation of somebody we've heard about, or at least be related to them, 6) Kelsey will save the day, 7) Ren and Kelsey will get together and live happily ever after. See? You don't even need to read the rest of the books. Ten bucks says I'm right on this.
*****I feel bad about this review, but I really needed to say it. I'm incredibly frustrated that some editor didn't sit down with Ms. Houck and try to help her salvage something out of this, because I really think it could have been a great story in the right hands.
Profile Image for Adri.
986 reviews799 followers
August 14, 2020
This book sucks ass. There, I said all you need to know.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,021 followers
June 14, 2017
Trigger warnings: Basically everything in Twilight is equally applicable here. Except for the chewing a baby out of a uterus part. Thank fuck.

So a colleague told me last year that this series was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing. Usually I trust her opinion because, like, she reads a ton of YA stuff, but she's a grown ass adult and she's been a high school librarian for about 40 years, so she KNOWS YA. So I figured I'd finally pick this one up and see what the fuss was about, because our students do seem to like it.

This was...I don't even know what this was, to be honest. It was Twilight with tigers, I guess? Let's do this in bullet points because my brain can't handle anything more.

- The main character somehow gets a job at a circus, looking after a tiger. She has zero experience in anything on account of being 17 and giggles through her interview. Still gets the job.
- The job requires her to live at the circus. Her parents are dead and her foster parents - while clearly decent people - are all "BYE, SWEETIE. HAVE FUN BYEEEEEEEE"
- After two weeks of doing a super brilliant job with the tiger, a mysterious middle aged Indian dude turns up and is all "Hey, so I bought this tiger and I'm going to take it to a tiger reserve in India. Want to come? You're really good at reading that tiger Romeo & Juliet, so obviously we'll need you around." (No, for reals. She reads the tiger Romeo & Juliet)
- She agrees to this, and is inexplicably allowed to leave the country without a passport????
- She lives in Oregon. They fly to Mumbai via NEW YORK. Like...the fuck. Does Colleen Houck know that you can fly around the planet in the other direction?? (I'm sure in terms of readily available flights, it's easier to fly that way. But they have a private plane. So...?)
- The tiger - obvs - turns out to be a handsome Indian prince who was born in like 1650 and when he was 21, he was cursed and so now he's a tiger all the time, except that for 24 minutes a day, he's allowed to be human.
- Personally, I'd use that 24 minutes to, like, clean and floss my teeth and poop and scroll through Twitter. But noooo, Ren decides to spend that 24 minutes talking to our brainless heroine.
- Kelsey, incidentally, is about as interesting as watching paint dry.
- Much like Bella Swan, she overdescribes EVERY SINGLE THING that she does. I put a pink sock on my left foot. I put a pink sock on my right foot. I put my hiking boot on my right foot. Then I put my hiking boot on my left foot. Then I tied the shoe laces on my right boot. Etcetera. Rinse and repeat for 400 pages.
- Okay, let's deal with the fact that Kelsey - a white, white bread American teenage girl - is, according to this book, the chosen one of an Indian goddess. Like...???? We couldn't have even had an Indian-American girl?? W.H.Y.
- Despite the fact that the love interest is an Indian prince, we're repeatedly told that he's got blue eyes and lighter skin than you'd expect on account of his mother was "Asian". Um. Care to narrow that down to a country?? Also, he turns into a white tiger. And when he's human, he wears all white.
- The whole time that Kelsey's in India, she seems to stay at fancy hotels. Even when she's driving on backwater highways where there's no one to comment that she's driving around with a tiger in her Jeep?????
- One of the hotels even manages to rustle up turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple pie for her. Girl. No.
- There's masses of infodumping. Infodumping about the narrator. Infodumping about Indian mythology. Infodumping about tigers. Infodumping about Ren's fucking house. Infodumping about why Kelsey always ties her hair back with a fucking ribbon oh my God why.
- The mythology doesn't make a huge amount of sense. Like, Houck has cherry picked which parts of Indian mythology she'd like to use, and when she can't find anything to fit the bill, she borrows something from another culture (Kappas are Japanese, honey) and claims it's Indian.
- I was pretty excited to read a YA paranormal book set Not In The Pacific Northwest, but this is SO CLEARLY an example of Exotic Location(TM). Probably 80% of the book is set in India, but pretty much all we learn about India is descriptions of food and that the traffic in Mumbai is bonkers.
- As many other reviewers have said, the way that people who don't speak fluent English speak is pretty effing gross. The Italian owner of the circus is very..."it's-a me, a-Mario!". Various people at roadside stalls and hotels in India are all "You want food? Sit! I cook for you". And the most ick-tastic of all is the reclusive monk who lives in the middle of the jungle and speaks like Yoda.
- The antagonist turns up LITERALLY ON THE LAST PAGE.
- The romance was super boring for the vast majority of the book.
- Right at the end, Ren got SUPER controlling and jerky and "I'll MAKE you love me!"-y, which made me want to stab him in his stupid tiger face.
- If I never have to read another description of how perfect Ren is and how good he smells and how warm his body is, it will be too soon.
- Honestly, I'm kind of skeeved out by the fact that she's 17 and Ren was 21 when he was cursed. Like, I get that it's squicky as fuck anyway because really, she's 17 and he's 350 or whatever. But if he was 21 and romantically interested in a 17 year old? THAT'S FUCKING GROSS, GO AWAY. The fact that he's been a tiger for the last 300 and whatever years makes no difference to how gross it is. Dear authors: please stop telling teenage girls that guys in their early 20s are totally swoonworthy love interests.
- I honestly could keep going forever because the more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get.
- To end this review on a positive note, I will say that this book is very readable. It's fast paced and the pages fly by. Largely because NOTHING IS FUCKING HAPPENING.
Profile Image for Zuleeza.
404 reviews259 followers
August 23, 2012
This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty

I had a high hope. A very high hope. As high as Charlie Sheen on crack.

Yup, you got the idea.

I like how the overall concept based on an Indian myth. Hmpphh...I just like stories from India in general. I can watch Hindi movies without subtitles.

I kid you not.

I like cats. Tiger, leopard, cheetah, puma, they are ALL cats to me. I'll risk my life just to pat their heads.

Unfortunately, I had risk my sanity because this book has cats tigers.

It wasn't plain bad. Fallen was plain bad (Hmm...I never get tired of making fun of this book). In fact, I should give the author credits for doing an extensive homework on the background of the all the legends and myths and the elaborated descriptions on each settings.

One thing for sure. This book has a plot.

Well, I would say that the editor did a terrible job because the first three chapters and the last two chapters were just a waste of papers.

Seriously. Who wants to read this? "There were mounted pumps full of shampoo, conditioner, and soap"

Here we got two well-characterized male leads, Dhiren and Kishan and we, the readers had to read the story based on the most annoying female lead I ever came across in my whole reading life!

If you think Lucinda Price was annoying, I think this Kelsey was gazillion-fold more annoying.

Like Luce was annoying because she was dumb as soup but Kelsey was just plain annoying, you wouldn't even feel guilty feeding her to one of those bloodsucking monkeys, Kappa.

Here, lemme tell you why:

1. She is useless. She can wield the gada easily (because somehow the gada becomes lightweight in her hands) but not even once, she used that gada to destroy any upcoming obstacles. Like, Ren had to do all the dirty job by himself.

2. She could not even pack for herself. It was Mr Kadam who had to pack her foods, clothes and EVEN shampoo and conditioner. If she is real, I'd lost faith in humanity.

3. She is whiny, pessimistic and ermm..ANNOYING.
Ren: Are you ready?
Kelsey: No! Give me a minute to mentally write a last will and testament.
Ren: It'll be fine.
Kelsey: Sure it will. I want to make sure I can record every minute of this experience in my journal. Of course, that's probably a moot point because I'm assuming that I'm going to die in the jump anyway.

Ren, you should just push her off the cliff.

Oh wait, not before you deliver her a good bitchslap first.

Oh dear Ren, why did you have to comb Kelsey's hair and massage her back. You are not her butler or her servant, you are a freaking prince.

Pardon me but I didn't find the combing and massaging as romantic.

*sigh* Why didn't I just give up on Young Adult genre already! I'm sick of all this cheap romance.

Mooooooving on.

4. Kelsey is a disgrace to the female population as a whole. I'm aware that women can be difficult and complicated. They tell you that they're fine but they're not. They tell you that they're okay but they are jealous.

Why didn't I use we instead of they anyway?

Whatever. The thing is, Ren is treating her well, too well even. At some point in Kishkindha, Kelsey suddenly thought she was no good for Ren, Ren would find other girls once he is free from the curse yada yada. Seriously, Ren didn't do anything wrong and she suddenly broke down and ignored him!

5. Ren: Faster, Kelsey. Run faster!
Kelsey: I can't go any any faster, Ren!

6. Kelsey's dying thought 'That's okay. Looking at his gorgeous face one last time is enough for me. I'll die a happy woman.
Me: Die, bi*ch die!
(few lines later)

7. Ren pulled Kelsey's closer. Kelsey's thought: I had almost died after all. I deserved some kind of reward for surviving, didn't I.

8. Kelsey's thought: My poor, knobby, blistered, sore feet. Oh well, maybe Mr Kadam will spring for a pedicure later.

My job here is done. *Walks away*
Profile Image for Inday.
89 reviews39 followers
January 26, 2012
WARNING: This book has the ability to make you succumb to constant daydreams and irregular bouts of hopeless romanticism while reading. So word of advice? grab that pillow and head for your room, cause someone might think you've lost it when they see you squealing around like an idiot. haha!

oh my....is it so wrong to think that Alagan Dhiren would probably look like this?

or maybe this?

While I, on the other hand is looking like this...

Initial reaction.

yousexy Pictures, Images and Photos


lol! Im swept all over!! :)
okey, enough with my drooling- I mean ranting. So where do I even begin? Right.

The whole story unfolds when Kelsey, the seventeen eighteen year old heroine of this story decides to take a two-week part-time job on a circus. Not knowing that this is the start of a major change in her life when she meets the mysterious white Tiger (Dhiren) owned by the circus troupe. Heck, turns out the Tiger is actually a prince from thousands of years ago doomed to take the tiger's form and Kelsey is said to be the one to help the prince break the curse. Together they fly to India in order to find a way to break the curse. Along their numerous perilous ventures, Kelsey finds something more than she could possibly handle: matters of the heart?. It could have been easy for her not to fall if only Ren wasnt so PERFECT?


and Im dying to read the next book woohoo!! :)
*runs off with book 2*

Profile Image for Erica (storybookend).
372 reviews286 followers
January 16, 2011
NO! No no no no! Kelsey, go back, go back!

Oh my gosh, this book, this breathtaking, thrilling, romantic, utterly perfect book. It swept me away in blissful awe. The India setting, the mythical lure, the enchanting curse, the charmed aura of India’s 300 year old prince. I was completely captivated by the story, the characters, the setting, just, everything! And the romance, oh so swoon. So completely gush worthy and butterfly inducing and breathtaking. This book is so original and creative. A 300 year old curse turning bitter brothers into tigers, and one girl, one strong, determined girl who is the only one who can break the curse, and free these two Indian princes back to their steady human form. But Kelsey didn’t expect to fall in love, to fall completely in love with her white tiger, the oh so dashing prince, who’s love for her is unbreakable. Ren, oh Ren. There is no one more swoon worthy, and so amazingly perfect. They share a connection, they know they love each other, but it’s not solid, hence the nerve wrecking, speechless ending. Gahh! Why must authors do this to us? My nerves are all on edge. I turned the last page, silently screaming in frustrated anxiousness. Stupid Kelsey, stupid stupid Kelsey. He loves you! You know it! You love him, you belong together! Go back! I can almost understand her feelings of inadequacies. But if a breathtakingly perfect man loves you, wants you, wants to kiss you and be with you, then there must be something wondrous about you that speaks to him, leaving him in breathless wonder. Perhaps there’s more to you than you think, something that others can see, that you can’t, or refuse to see because his love for you just seems too good to be true, and you make yourself believe that you’re not deserving of it, that he could have any gorgeous woman he wanted, and yet he’s chosen you, and you can’t understand why. But then I realize that sometimes people need to take a step back to know what they truly desire and need. When it’s right in front of you, begging you to acquiesce, loving you utterly, you become lost in the fantastical lure and beauty of it, and you can’t see anything else. And then one tiny doubt is seeded in your heart because of the surreal perfectness of it, and you wonder if this is real. If it’s just a fabrication of your mind, deluding yourself into thinking that he could truly want you because he deeply loves you. Sometimes, a breather is what you need, to think back of what was, to try new things, make mistakes, and become a better, stronger, more confident person who knows what you want, and when presented with that love again, with the one person you love and thought leaving was better for both of you, you will be able to gauge your true feelings for him, and his true feelings for you. If your love is still there, it will be stronger and deeper, more passionate and beautiful than you thought possible. And there will be no more doubts, just love.

Well, I didn’t expect to go so deep, but this story, the ending, Kelsey’s choice, it just affected me, and I so desperately wanted her to stay with him, to let him love her. After finishing this book, I am just so anxious to find out what happens. What Kelsey and Ren will do, how they’ll grow, how this change could affect them, and I hope bring them closer together.

Tiger’s Curse was breathless and beautiful. I was captivated and thrilled through the whole story. I am so glad I read this, and I cannot wait to read the next two books. Thank you Colleen for such a perfect, romantic, amazing story.

Edit 6/2/11 It's going to be made into a movie! http://www.ineffablepictures.com/ That just made me so incredibly excited! If done right, it will make an incredible movie, with some fine men in it ;) *swoon*
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,207 followers
January 23, 2015
What a huge disappointment! If I could give the book zero star, I would have.

When I first read book's description on the backcover of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse, the first book of an adventure fantasy series which roofed itself both in the modern day India and the Hindu mythological world of curses, demons and deities; I was intrigued and wanted nothing more than to read the book. Adventure! Hindu mythology! Goddess Durga! What can possibly go wrong with all these supposedly epic setting?

But oh boy, I'm so wrong! As it turned out, almost everything in Tiger's Curse leaves a bad taste in my mouth after I finished reading it.

Our problems begins with the 'heroine', Kelsey Hayes. One of the main reasons I dislike her is that she sounds like she's an airhead teenager for most of the time, and I don't find her to be interesting or likable. Since most of the book is narrated by her first person viewpoint, I also found that her brain is filled with nothing but "Oh he's so hot! Oh he's so good-looking! My heart is breathing fast! Is he really interested in me!? Oh no he can't really be interested because I'm not good enough!" and some other similar nonsense. All these remind me so strongly of Bella freaking Swan from Twilight.

Plus instead of showing her strength and strong will, for most of the time Kelsey plays her part as a useless damsel in distress who needs to be saved by the powerful male lead (namely Ren). God damn it! What really makes me angry is that according to the author, Kelsey is supposed to be Durga's Chosen One! And I don't believe for one second that Durga, a warrior Goddess, would favor a weakling such as her!

The cursed brothers, Ren(Dhiren) and Kishan play their parts as the eye-candies who drool over the 'heroine'. Ren, the male lead of the story, is one of those Too Good To Be True characters. I don't have much to say about him because spending time to comment on such a paper-thinned character would be a wast of my time and effort.

We are also being introduced to Kishan, Ren's younger brother who was always viewed as the second best, who also once fell tragically in love with his older brother's bride-to-be in the past. With such a backstory and the conflict he had with Ren, Kishan could have become an interesting, three dimensional character, but sadly the author did NOTHING about his potentiality throughout the entire book. He does nothing but being The Bad Boy who flirts with the main girl, what a waste!

The first part of the book does little to build up Kelsey's character and her relationship with Ren--neither as a tiger nor a young man. Supposedly there's a bond between them but I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IT FOR A SECOND. The bond between them is supposed to be so special to the point that Kelsey becomes willing to entrust herself to a dangerous tiger and a mysterious Indian man (Mr. Kadam). But sadly there's no special event, no development to make the bonding actually happen. So how can I believe Kelsey, an untrained 18 years old girl, comes to know Ren-the-tiger FOR JUST TWO WEEKS, and then the next thing we know she's flying across half the glob to India with Ren, with the invitation from an Indian man whom she barely knows!? And her foster parents (who supposedly care about Kelsey) just said 'yes' to the whole thing? SERIOUSLY NOT REALISTIC.

Then when I looked Tiger's Curse up on amazon.com I saw that the author mentioned she likes Twilight. OH HELL! No wonder the romance in her story is just as badly written and ridiculous.

It also bothers me that it is never explained why Ren and his brother can live for 300-plus years after they were cursed. I mean, what's the point of cursing them when said curse actually gives them immortality and an ability to heal fast? Wouldn't it be too sweet a deal? Why would the baddio NOT curse them to live their lives as tigers and then grow old and die within a normal human's lifespan? Why would the baddio be so damn stupid?

Talking about the baddio, he has been nowhere in sight throughout the whole book after he cursed the brothers. He only showed up again VERY BRIEFLY in the end and he does absolutely NOTHING to shape the plot. As a villain, this man's presence is too thin within the story and he's not threatening in any sense.

Another thing which pisses me off to no end is that the Hindu Mythology in the book is so water-downed to the point of being silly and unrealistic. The mythology in the book is a very bleached, tamed, simplified one it makes me feel like I'm reading "Hindu Myth For Kids", every aspect of sexuality, brutality and bloodshed in the Hindu mythology and religion is being totally wiped out and ignored by the author, from start to end. Plus there is zero mention about karma, reincarnation and caste, why, just why? Even Goddess Durga, the most powerful goddess in the myth is being reduced to a very tamed Disney style of a fairy godmother. This entire bastardization of the Hindu myth and deities makes me sick to my stomach!

Not to mention that the description on India doesn't look the slightest bit realistic to me. So Kelsey only hangs out with rich folks who live in perfect luxury and comfort when visiting India? There is not a single poor person or even a middle class one in sight? I know Ren is a prince, but still......Hello? Are you kidding me?

The Final Words:
As an adventure fantasy novel, the adventure parts of the story do nothing to engage me with neither the plot nor the characters. The danger which is faced by the main characters doesn't look real to me for even a second. On the romantic aspect, Tiger's Curse has nothing other than some Twilight level crap to offer. It's not a truly horrible book but I'm still very, very disappointed.
Profile Image for Sakina.
277 reviews
September 29, 2014

Oh goodness...reading this was pure torture!!!

When I was recommended this book, I saw the cover and the title and thought, "wow interesting" then I read the synopsis: A 300-hundred year old Indian curse? A trip halfway around the world? Magic, Dark Forces, Risk, Ancient prophecy? And along with the fact that many of my friends gave this book a 4 or 5 star rating. I was exuberant to start this. When I started reading this book I didn't know I was setting myself up for MAJOR disappointment!

First off the writing was horrible. It bears startling resemblance to something a 9-year old or 13-year old would write. The characterization is terrible, so is the info-dumping and the unnecessary length of the book.

Kelsey Hayes our MC is a fucking-irritating-idiot! For her Summer vacation she finds a 2-weeks job at a circus. She has to help with tickets and cleaning and feeding animals..that includes our fucking ass-hat-prince tiger Dhiren or Ren. She reads Shakespere and poetry and talks about her life and blah-blah-blah...to a Tiger! Normally well-educated people also sometimes have difficulty understanding Shakespere and she is reading it to a tiger!

Somehow Kelsey turns out to be the special one that Goddess Durga has chosen. Because hey, who wants Indian girls, who are aware about Indian culture and are attached to it and who also worship Goddess Durga? I mean surely not the Goddess. A completely idiot foreign girl with no connection to India whatsoever is so much better right?

Then comes Ren, our 300-year old prince, burdened by an Indian curse which has turned him and his brother Kishan into tigers and only allows them 24 min a day of their human forms.

Ren, was let's see: dumb, annoying, irritating, an ass and immature...and oh fucking clueless!

For people who don't know much about India, let me tell you, India is a country with many religions: Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Parsi's, Jain's, Sikh's, etc. I am a Muslim, never been to a Mundir or temple and yet even I know after 17 years of living in India, how to worship a goddess. At least the basic. And yet after living for about 300-years, Ren doesn't know how you worship a goddess. His reason? He hasn't worshiped Durga before and that his parents gave him the freedom to choose his religion. I was like, "Dude, where is your basic common sense?"

Not to mention the fact that Collen Houck seems clueless about Mumbai and it's people. First thing, I live in Mumbai and we do have traffic signals, vehicles don't just turn left or right whenever they want and people in India DO speak English! Not broken-English. Proper English! I think Mrs. Houck visited a village in India instead of the city.

And also the Hindi in the book..oh God!
Eg: He pressed his hand on top of mine. "Aap ke liye. For your sake, anything."

Ugh!!!! "Aap ke liye" is NOT proper Hindi!! The sentence is incomplete..it would have been more appropriate if it was something like: "Aap ke liye, kuch bhi" or "Aap ke liye, hum kuch bhi karne ke liye tayyar hai"

Oh and there is also the fact that Ren calls Kelsey, Sundari, prema, iadala(even I don't know what that one means), Rajkumari and all these other names that I have yet to hear an Indian boy/man use for his girlfriend/wife. But Ren is an ancient prince, so I may let this slide.

BUT what is not forgivable is Kelsey's bitchiness that suddenly comes in the second half of the book! She kisses Ren, quite a few times then thinks that he will probably break her heart and starts to avoid him and act all bitchy and whenever he tries to touch her, even if it is to help her, she moves away as if he has some disease. Then when Ren gets angry because of her behavior, she is like, "Ren why are you angry? Is something bothering you?" And I was like: WHAT THE HELL? If that isn't enough when they are having dinner? lunch? in a restaurant, the waitress starts flirting with Ren (because obviously that's what majority of waitresses do since they don't have any other work), Kelsey get's all jealous. By then I was drained.

By the end I was like this:

I am glad it's OVER!
Profile Image for Jen.
111 reviews12 followers
July 26, 2011
I'm so mad at this book I'm writing this review before I finish listening to the last hour, which has been torture to listen to.

I started out loving this book which is the only reason it does not have 1 star. I loved the strong, brave, kind main character Kelsey, who got stuff done without whining about it. I loved the Indian mythology and the curse-breaking premise. I was willing to look past the somewhat sappy and cheesy romantic dialogue because unlike certain other books *coughtwilightcough* this book had an actual PLOT and it wasn't ENTIRELY fluffy bullcrap.

And then halfway through the book, Kelsey starts to shift between nasty bitchface and disgusting lovesick puppy. FOR NO REASON. NO REASON AT ALL. She decides on her own that there is no way Ren will ever stay with her and decides to nip her "love-seed" in the bud. Sure, the plot part is still good, but now this extra crap is making the plot hard to get through.

She actually says that "it's not fair" how hard it is to reject him after talking about how stupid a girl would have to be to do so. Oh boo hoo, it's not fair that a freaking hot Indian prince says he would rather die than live without you but you're too much of a pussy to stay with him.

After at least a week of her being a frigid bitch to Ren in between kissing him passionately when he coaxes her into doing so, she has the audacity to say that she'll just have to tell him "the truth" because she's the kind of person who faces things head on and gets past them. Because yeah, going weeks without telling Ren why you're being a bitch is really facing things head on. What happened to my strong female character from the beginning of the story?

And might I add that she is flabbergasted when Ren says he knows she reciprocates his feelings. Is she a complete moron? She's been obvious about it since even before she started to push him away. Jesus.

I just feel like the book is ruined for me.

I mean. Okay. Fine, it's awesome that she questions her feelings and how their relationship might work out, but she goes about it the wrong way entirely.

I will likely not pick up the next book in this series. I don't want to see what travesty the author makes of this character I initially loved. I bet she ends up in some sort of weird tryst with Ren's brother or something. There's no reason for Ren's brother to be there at this point other than to screw with Kelsey. Ugh.

Edit: Finally finished the book. Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.

Also also, how many times are these guys going to "pick up her hand" and "play with her fingers"? Bleh.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
477 reviews252 followers
May 7, 2018
This book just pissed me off.


Love triangle

Profile Image for Μaria Vrisanaki .
189 reviews134 followers
February 28, 2019

Δύο αδέρφια,


Ο Ντίρεν και ο Κίσαν, πρίγκιπες από την Ινδία είναι καταραμένοι να ζουν σαν τίγρεις εδώ και 300 χρόνια. Ο Ντίρεν βρίσκεται σε ένα τσίρκο, ενώ ο Κίσαν είναι ελε��θερος στην ζούγκλα.
Η Κέλσι θα βρεθεί στο τσίρκο, όπου τυχαία έπιασε δουλειά, και θα αρχίσει να έρχεται πιο κοντά με το άγριο ζώο. Σιγά-σιγά θα ανακαλύψει πως εκείνη είναι το κλειδί για να μπορέσει να λυθεί η κατάρα! Και η περιπέτεια ξεκινά!

Με μάγεψε!
Με ταξίδεψε σε ζούγκλες της Ινδίας, σε σπήλαια με παγίδες που θύμιζαν Αιγυπτιακούς τάφους, σε υπόγειους κόσμους με επικίνδυνα πλάσματα και φυτά! Ζωντάνεψε μύθους της Ινδίας!


Άλλαξε τη βαθμολογία από 4 σε 5 αστέρια επειδή, παρόλο που στις τελευταίες 100 σελίδες η Κελσι ήταν απίστευτα εκνευριστικη, η πλοκή είναι απίστευτη και το θέμα αγαπημένο! Ακόμα θυμάμαι πόσο ξετρελαθηκα διαβάζοντας το!
Profile Image for Muse-ic ♬.
397 reviews113 followers
January 7, 2018
2.5 ( minor rant alert: proceed with caution...... )


I really wanted to love this. I mean, with a beautiful cover like that, I had high hopes. How can you not fall prey to those encahnting blue eyes?! And it has good ratings so I gave it a shot.

It half delivered.

I found the idea quite intriguing. But it was the idea alone that kept me going.

The other half fell so flat it's flatter than a sheet of printer paper.

First of all, the pacing, especially in the beginning, just did nothing for me. It was fast, but not in a good way. It was fast in a way that seemed rushed with little good development.
I also wasn't feeling the writing style. It was very cut-and-dry and a little too straightforward for my taste.
And I like neither Kelsey nor Ren. I don't hate them by any stretch of the word, but I can't bring myself to root for them.

Kelsey is so immature and such a simpleton that half the time, I was thoroughly annoyed by being in her head.
Allow me to present you with an example:

When she first arrived in Mumbai, India on page 69:
"The men began talking very fast to one another in Hindi."

Simple quote, right? Why would I have issues with it? Allow me to explain;

Hindi is not the most spoken language in Mumbai; that honor goes to Marathi. Aside from that fact, there are at least 6 or 7 different languages spoken in Mumbai. From what we've seen, Kelsey has zero knowledge of the Indian culture, so how on earth was she able to recognize the Hindi language? How on earth did she know that the men were speaking in Hindi of all the options?? There is no way she could have or would have known this based on prior knowledge. Unless she just guessed because "Hindi" sounds like "Indian". That's almost like saying that all Asians are Chinese by default!! Culturally ignorant much!?!

Now in general, this wouldn't be the hugest deal, but why would someone like Kelsey, who knows diddly squat about India, be the key to breaking an ancient Indian curse? Part of me doubts she had even heard of India before her stupid quest.

There is nothing great or special about her, not even remotely. She displays no unique qualities, NOTHING to make me root for her.
She is also one of those characters that look down on her physical appearance, especially in the presence of a handsome man.
She's constantly like oh I have no unique appearance and who me?? Oh you must be mistaken! whenever someone pays her a compliment. If she is wearing a beautiful dress, she credits the goddamned dress. In fact, she's convinced she can't be with Ren because he'll quickly lose interest in her because she's not supermodel gorgeous!
Like, you poor baby! Here's a troll playing you a violin:

Page 92:
"Who was I to reject a handsome man..."

What. The. Actual. FUCK!
If this kind of submissive mentality isn't breeding insecurity in girls and the worship of a man based entirely on his appearance, then I don't know what the fuck is!

She's also naive, and apparently doesn't recognize it, whatsoever!

Page 251:

"Mae West, a famous vaudeville actress, once said, 'A man's kiss is his signature.' I grinned to myself. If that was true, then Ren's signature was the John Hancock of kisses."

Like, dude that was your first kiss. How could you possibly compare his kissing skills to any other?

Then when Kelsey realized that she was falling for Ren (why, I don't know) she decided to put distance between them---in the most immature and bitchy way possible---because she didn't see any way for them to have a future together after having broken the curse.
Is there a legitimate reason for Kelsey to act like such a bitch to Ren??
I mean, I don't like Ren that much; I find him waaaaay too fake to be attractive. But he genuinely has feelings for Kelsey, even though it's pure insta-love. The "romance" gave me no warm fuzzy feelings.

At one point, Mr. Kadam sends Kelsey a dress to wear to dine with Ren (an event she did not know about at the time). Kelsey immediately put on the dress for no reason. She wasn't confused or thrown off that she received a gorgeous dress and pair of heels from an old-ass man, albeit a good friend. She didn't go ask him what it was all about and she didn't even question how the fuck he just knew her size. She just puts it on then says,
"A dress like this required makeup, so I headed to the bathroom and finished getting ready." (358)
Bitch, for WHAT exactly?? They could require a virgin-in-a-beautiful-dress sacrifice to a volcano to break the curse for all you know!!

Page 368:
"I can always tell where you are, Kelsey. You smell like peaches and cream."

What the fuck. Bro whatchu smokin'?? No one smells like peaches and cream of all things. Maybe after a shower with specifically scented wash products, but not on a regular basis!

I didn't realize that I was annoyed as I was until I started writing this review and putting my thoughts into coherent words!
Although I gave it 2.5 stars, I was going to give it 3 stars on Goodreads, but after writing this review, I'm demoting it to a solid 2 stars.

P.S. I don't know why this irked me so much, but every time she introduced herself she goes:
"Kelsey. Kelsey Hayes."
Like who do you think you are, James Bond??
May 13, 2017
Η συγκλονιστική κατάρα του τίγρη που σε μαγεύει και σε ταξιδεύει σε ονειρεμένους κόσμους.
Μια παραμυθένια ιστορία αγάπης γεμάτη δράση αγωνία τρυφερότητα ρομαντισμό και μαγευτικές εξελίξεις.
Βασιλιάδες παλάτια ναοί θεές πρίγκιπες μυστικά αιώνων δυσεπιλυτοι γρίφοι ινδική κουλτούρα αρχαίος πολιτισμός κατάρες προδοσίες και παρα πολλή αγάπη ειναι τα στοιχεία του βιβλίου που το κάνουν απίστευτο συναρπαστικό τρυφερό και αξιόλογο σε σημείο να κατέχει επάξια μια θέση στην καρδιά του αναγνώστη.
Απολαυστικό και τρυφερό ελαφρύ και αγνό σαν παιδικό τραγούδι σαν παλιό παραμύθι γραμμένο με έντονα συναισθήματα χρώματα αρώματα ήχους και γεύσεις της μακρινής Ινδιας εκεί όπου ένας αθάνατος πρίγκιπας αμφισβητεί το πεπρωμένο και αναμετράται με μια αρχαία κατάρα σε ένα μοιραίο παιχνίδι αγάπης !!

Καλή ανάγνωση!!
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Anoolka.
343 reviews27 followers
October 21, 2011
Where the hell did my review of this book go?! Who's deleting the reviews? It's a good thing I remember what annoyed me in this book and will write this review yet again. I might have given it a 2 for actually interesting setting, but..no.

Non-western country in urban fantasy YA lit. I'm there! Only it just does not live up to the potential. All the bits and pieces that are supposed to show us India and it's culture/mythology feel like lifted from Wikipedia. And I just don't get the hype. I gave up halfway.

There's too much suspension of disbelief needed to read this book. the protagonist acts in ways that make me want to smack her. Go to a country you've never been to, with people you just met, as a tiger handler - which you've been doing for days without any training hat so ever, yeah, sure. How stupid are you?

And then we meet the 'guide'. The foreign guy who speaks with broken English - lacks the basic grammar knowledge (but of course) but manages somehow to know words like 'hasten' or 'bestow'. Learning foreign languages, how does it work? As an ESL I am very annoyed reading such 'broken' English.

There's a phrase like "My father was of Indian descent, but my mother was Asian." - kind of like saying 'My father was French, but my mother was European." totally makes sense. But then the writing is not all that great. There's lots of infodumps so the pacing is very uneven. The action on their journey, though feels like taken straight from Tomb Rider/Indiana Jones or something- feels same old same old.

I do not get the connection between this girl and the tiger. He's a tiger! as far as she knows- at the beginning. And he's old; what could he possibly find interesting about this girl (I don't find anything interesting in this girl)? or is it just supernatural something that's on his part? Still, that's very flimsy basis for any relationship and I'd require some more interesting interaction to be sold on it. It's lacking here.
Profile Image for Cndbooks.
14 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2011
I can't say this really captured my attention. In all honesty I couldn't wait for it to be finished.
I realize this is a young adult book, but I feel like the writing is rather juvenile. There are a lot of descriptions that don't need to be in there. Some of it was beautiful and the Indian mythology was interesting, but there was dialogue and events that could have been scrapped. There were things mentioned that I thought must have only been in there because it was going to come up later, and then never did. The writing was quite simplistic and sometimes irrelevant.
The idea of the novel was interesting. I enjoyed the topic of the cursed brothers and the Indian legends which were intriguing but I think the construct of it could have been better. I also had a very hard time believing that this girl's foster family was going to let a kid who has just barely turned 18 go wandering off to a foreign land with someone they met once, on the premise of taking care of a tiger! She has absolutely no animal experience, never mind being the sole guardian of an exotic species that could easily kill her.
The romance in the novel (which there really wasn't much of other than holding hands and the occasional kiss which she fretted about for pages afterward) was incredibly cheesy. I'm sure there are many people who will enjoy this type of writing, but it just wasn't for me, and I probably won't be reading the next in the series.
Profile Image for Dana.
5 reviews81 followers
September 7, 2016
Something that happens all the time in YA novels:



WHHHY Kelsey! Even after

Other than that, I loved the book.
Profile Image for Myth.
204 reviews153 followers
November 16, 2021
I mentioned it elsewhere, but this will be the first time in a while I can't start a review with 'well it wasn't as bad as Throne of Glass'.

This book is objectively worse than Throne of Glass, though it admittedly has fewer fragments, em-dashes, and ellipses. It is much more in-your-face racist, even more so than I originally thought, especially given the friends in India who kindly commented on my posts giving more information and context (link coming, but I continue to have technical difficulties. Suffice it to say that if you look up longsightmyth on tumblr and look for the tag 'other people rag on tigers curse' you'll get a lot of info)

I don't think I can do a 'good, meh, and bad' section here, because I cannot recall anything good about this book. The writing was juvenile where it wasn't straight up incorrect, everything was deeply racist, everything was deeply sexist, Ren was an adult man creeping on Kelsey every step of the way, and Kelsey was a teenager interested in a tiger before she knew the tiger was merely a person who was tiger-shaped. You add Kelsey's incredible sense of entitlement and the Sudden Angst at the end, and it adds up to really unlikable characters all around. For a character who is supposedly smart, Kelsey is extraordinarily stupid, and I don't mean in a life-choices kind of way.

In short, don't read this. Like, I know in other reviews I've said 'read things if you want' but I genuinely believe that reading this book left me worse off. Everything from Houck's gleefully admitted westernization of Indian mythology, her cherry-picking of other mythologies, her butchering of actual languages, and her sheer bloody-minded ignorance on the subject of everything means you can't even learn what not to do from this book. There simply isn't anything in this book worth wading through. I feel stupider from reading this book.

Wait no, I have one good thing I can list: reading this book can give you hope for publication. Surely if someone read this book and decided it was worth purchasing, anyone really can be published.

But seriously don't read this. Go read Throne of Glass if you must. Do not read this.

Also, for those who followed the tumblr read-through:
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Profile Image for Μαρία Αλεξοπούλου.
Author 2 books146 followers
June 18, 2019
Aν και είχα αποφασίσει να κραδαίνω το ‘’Μαχαίρι’’ του Jo Nesbo το παραμέρισα για να ξεκινήσω το δώρο της fairy μου (@booklittledreamer) που μου χάρισε στην 5η βιβλιoσυνάντηση. Το στόρυ περιστρέφεται γύρω από την Κέλσι Χέις που ξεκινάει δουλειά σε ένα τσίρκο και αναλαμβάνει να φροντίσει μία μυστηριώδη τίγρη με διαπεραστικά γαλανά μάτια. Δεν μπορούσε να φανταστεί πως θα κατέληγε το κλειδί για να σπάσει μια ινδική κατάρα τριακοσίων ετών στην άλλη άκρη του κόσμου.

Τίγρη, τίγρη, με λάμψη σαν φωτιά
στα δάση τη νυχτιά,
ποια αθάνατη μαεστρία
έπλασε τη φοβερή σου συμμετρία;

Μέσα στα χρόνια έχω διαβάσει αμέτρητες ιστορίες για λυκανθρώπους, αιμοδιψή βαμπίρ, μαγεμένα πλάσματα γι’ αυτό ανανεώθηκα διαβάζοντας και μόνο την πρωτότυπη περίληψη. O τίγρης αποτελεί σύμβολο δύναμης και αθανασίας αλλά τον αποκαλούν και ζωοδότη, φρουρό. Μου κέντρισε το ενδιαφέρον η ινδική μυθολογία γιατί μου ήταν μέχρι πρότινος τελείως άγνωστη. Οι περισσότερες ινδικές λέξεις ηχούν μελωδικές όπως πριγιάταμα, ρατζκουμάρι και σουντάρι.

Tην υπόλοιπη κριτική μπορείτε να τη βρείτε στο One girl, one pen!
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,739 reviews1,307 followers
November 2, 2016
This was a paranormal/fantasy story about a prince cursed to be a tiger.

Kelsey was an okay character although it was a little odd the way she talked to a tiger all the time, especially before she knew he could understand her.

The storyline in this was about Kelsey travelling to India with a tiger whilst he was being rehomed, and then discovering that the tiger was in fact a 300-year-old prince who had been cursed. Kelsey then spent the rest of the book trying to break the curse, and falling in love with the prince while she was at it. This book felt really long though, and there seemed to be a lot of stuff in there which didn’t need to be in there which made the book drag quite badly.

The ending to this was okay, although the epilogue left us with a bit of a cliff-hanger.

6 out of 10
July 21, 2017
Review first posted HERE

This was written of GR and on the back of my copy:

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Yes, this statement is correct (well for me anyway) it was very mushy and romantic, it was exciting and I finished it desperate for the next volume. I read this book while on holiday in Bali and yes that really enhanced my reading experience and made it more enjoyable because of the Hindu/Asian setting.

Many people were criticizing this book saying it was a mess and that the whole concept of Kelsey going to India with a stranger was really far-fetched. Not to mention the question of why Kelsey was chosen to break the curse when she doesn't have a drop of Indian blood in her. And I will say I agree that those things as well as the insta-love did sound ridiculous which is why I've deducted a star.

But pretty much everything else made for a quick, immersive and enjoyable read. One thing I must mention is the characters. I could not stop thinking of them throughout the time I was reading and even after I'd finished reading :P This became embarrassing when I was distracted during the daytime and I don't know why I couldn't stop thinking of them but it must be due to good writing or something cause not a lot of books have this effect on me.. On that note I must add that Kelsey was annoying for a lot of the time due to her vain behaviour and her pushing Ren away later on.. there, once again I could not stop thinking of the characters!

Another thing I must mention was the part where Ren looked for his brother (who was also cursed) and guess what happens when he meets Kelsey? That's right he's also attracted to her and a love triangle forms, two brothers banging heads over one girl...


That was a bit annoying but once again I've got to give credit to the author for making characters and situations that stayed in my mind.

The other thing I liked was all the Indian mythology and how the author really brought the setting to life as well as all the action and suspense. Like I mentioned before the romance was a bit too much on the mushy side for my liking but I am genuinely curious as to where things are going to continue to especially after that ending...

Who I'd recommend this for:

I'd say this book is for those who like cultural fantasies with quick action, suspense and descriptive mythology but don't mind mushy romance and love triangles.
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