Minda’s preg review of Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, out 9/10 (get it here). Received ARC at ALA. We’d like to thank Annie and Blink for the opportunity to review early!
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”
In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: At a party so soooo much lemonade… pregnancy is fun you guys. So. Fun.
Spoiler-free Overview: Princess Kateri is heir to her kingdom—but she has to win all her battles and impress her father first. To prove herself, she engages in a quest to protect her waterless kingdom by taking on her biggest threat by teaming up with the terrorist group of her kingdom.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This was a super inventive twist to the short story, The Princess or The Tiger… or something similar to that title. But just rereading my overview, that’s like a really weird choice, right? To team up with the terrorist league? I mean, ok it’s fine. That said, I really liked the latter half of the story so that plus the inventive story really made up for the obviously bad choices made by the princess to kick off the story.
Characters: Like I said, Princess Kateri made some debatable choices at the start, but went through some great character growth throughout the story. You really got why she wanted to protect her kingdom. Then we have Cion, the super hot leader of the lost boys—I mean Desert Boys—who is like super trusting. Like I-really-don’t-get-how-he’s-kept-his-secret-lair-secret sort of trusting. The proposed villain of the story, Rodric, was basically as advertised. It was mostly about these three.
Plot: Princess Kateri has been trained for the throne by her father and after promising her deceased mother she would protect her people. The kingdom, unfortunately, has been in a drought for the past decade or so, due to a terrorist group called the Desert Boys. After Kateri finds out that her father plans to wed her to Rodric, her father’s right-hand man, she runs off to get trained by the best—the leader of the Desert Boys. To train with the Desert Boys she needs to become one of them (like crazy super fast) and discovers things may not be all they seem.
World Building: I really appreciated the word-building here. As mentioned, it’s an expansion on a popular unfinished short story and it’s really good.
What to pair it with: You’ll definitely get thirsty reading this book so whiskey and water.
Rating: 4/5 shots