Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Tiger Lily

Release Date: July 3, 2012
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 292 pages

In this stunning re-imagining of J. M. Barrie's beloved classic Peter Pan, New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson expertly weaves a gripping tale of love, loss, and adventure.

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair… Tiger Lily. When fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan deep in the forbidden woods of Neverland, the two form a bond that's impossible to break, but also impossible to hold on to. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. However, when Wendy Darling, a girl who is everything Tiger Lily is not, arrives on the island, Tiger Lily discovers how far she is willing to go to keep Peter with her, and in Neverland.

Told from the perspective of tiny, fairy-sized Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily is the breathtaking story of budding romance, letting go and the pains of growing up.



Narrator: What makes this book so unique is that the narrator is not the protagonist, nor is she the ominous omniscient voice of a traditional third person narrator. In fact for this story the narrator is Tinker Bell, a faerie who plays a very minor role in the overall story, but who is also the best person to tell the story as faeries can listen to thoughts and memories of others as well as be a proverbial fly on the wall and tell the story from many different angles. Tinker Bell is very attached to Tiger Lily and loves her and who she is from the moment she laid eyes on her. Tinker Bell does everything she can to take care of and watch over Tiger Lily, which while not much really does help her out over the course of the novel.

Protagonist: Tiger Lily is a wild and fearsome girl. She is looked at in her tribe as a cursed child and many of the people in her tribe fear her. Tiger Lily is strong and doesn't fit with her tribes views on how a woman should act, much like her adopted father who acts more woman than man, Tiger Lily is more culturally man than woman. Tiger Lily is a fiercely loyal friend and person and over the course of the book she begins to adjust her views of loyalty and promises as she gets deeper and deeper with Peter Pan.

Romance: This is a love story unlike any other, we know right from the beginning that this romance won't have your traditional happy ending. I really enjoyed Peter and Tiger Lily's romance and while there were others that got in the way of their happiness, for a while they were truly happy together. Their roadblocks were two people, a girl that Peter eventually meets and falls for and a boy that was betrothed to Tiger Lily practically since her adoptive father Tik Tok found her. Giant, Tiger Lily's betrothed is more than just an oaf as he is described early on. He can be cruel and at times I wanted to reach into the book and strangle him so that Tiger Lily could have run off with Peter, but due to Tiger Lily's promise to marry him she never really could run out on her tribe. Peter's roadblock is Wendy, who shows up much later in the book, and while I always liked Wendy in other adaptations of Peter Pan, in this one she was just a pretty fluff, she had no real substance, and she was joyfully ignorant of all the dangers in Neverland, that being said she is also a powerful rival for Tiger Lily.

World-Building: I was very surprised when, while reading the book, I found out that the author took on a slightly more realistic approach to Peter Pan. Faeries and Mermaids still exist, and the tribes of Neverland don't age, but Neverland is located within the world we know, Peter and the lost boys don't fly and the tribes of Neverland know about the world outside their island. This new take on the Peter Pan tale was very interesting to read and hearing it from the mind of Tinker Bell was truly an immersive experience. From time to time Tink will go on tangents and possibly info-dump depending on how you look at it, but I found it to be very informative and entertaining to read. 

Predictability: So I have to say that even with Tink straight up telling the reader that this love story doesn't have a happy ending there was still a lot that I was still caught off guard by many points of the book. How certain things were portrayed or how certain characters were reinvented was definitely something that surprised me. The biggest surprise though was how far this book goes in the Peter Pan story and how it changes things from the original source material and reinvents the message and meaning of the story and characters in a fabulous way.

Ending: Another incredible surprise was the ending. Mainly the last chapter and how it wraps everything up so well, while not tossing aside the entire love story that we read, but obviously things didn't end all happily ever after for Tiger Lily and Peter at least not together. While the epilogue does show their lives going in different directions as stated in the beginning, their story is not just something that happened and didn't work out but something that, according to Tink still impacted their lives after they split. So while this is a stand alone I would love to see more classic tale/fairy tale retellings from this author in the future. One can only hope.


 This book was spectacular. It redefines and reinvents a classic tale into a beautiful and heartbreaking love story that I feel can appeal to both men and women a like as it's still full of action and mystery while mixing in the doomed love story you can't help but root for even though their fate is already sealed.


1 comment:

  1. I'm always so glad to hear when people love this book, it's just about my favorite thing ever :)
    Yes I loved how this was a retelling but had bits that were different enough to keep you guessing as well.
    The one thing about this book is that it made me hate Wendy so now the Disney Peter Pan movie is kind of ruined for me haha. I'm like come on let's see some more Tiger Lily :P