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Rayne's Book Realm

I'm a fierce book lover, mainly of YA, and here's where I'll share my thoughts and impressions on whatever I pick up next.

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

I spent the majority of my reading experience with this book completely sure that I was going to give it 3 stars because of how frustrating some characters and circumstances were and how infuriating and unfair it all seemed. But when the ending came along, I had to move past my anger and see the book as it was. And it is beautiful and simply brilliant. I loved Tinkerbell's perspective and the heart-breaking reality behind the circumstances, because not everything goes according to plan and not everyone lives up to be the good heroes we want them to be. The book got slow at points and some characters needed a bit more time to fully develop but, overall, this book is simply fantastic.

What I feel for Tiger Lily is erratic, ever-shifting and slightly schizophrenic. I started the book really immersed in the story, liking it very much, even if not exactly loving it. Then, about half-way through, my eyes began to narrow in dislike and my interest started to dwindle. A bit farther, I was begrudgingly appreciating the book, but sure it would never make it to my favorites. And then came the ending and everything utterly changed. It took a few pages short of the ending for me to realize that I absolutely loved everything about this book. It is heart-breaking, beautiful and painfully realistic. Because love doesn't always have a happy ending and heroes are not always pure. Because things don't always go as planned, we all not all entirely good and we all make mistakes, but life has this way of always working out, for better or worse.

This book is told from Tinkerbell's perspective, which I thought it was simply brilliant. Her narrative is simply beautiful, even if it lulls at points and drags at others. Tinkerbell's voice is genuine, honest, sassy, even snarky and jealous at points, and entirely real. I jumped into the book not remembering that it was her voice the one to tell us the story, and while at first it was confusing, it ended up working fantastically. Tiger Lily herself is a bit of a mystery throughout the book, but Tinkerbell's observations brought her sharply to life. Tiger Lily is a complicated character. There's a quiet strength to her, a subtle power around her that makes her interesting, but that she chooses to accept and comply with the terrible things thrown at her is simply confusing, which ends up making her a very unforgettable character. Peter is endearing in his childishness, and even though I didn't see much chemistry between the two, I completely understood their attraction thanks for Tinkerbell's insightful narration. Their relationship was complicated and challenging, but it worked, because it was the union of two lonely people that needed each other desperately.

Not many other characters had as much of a chance to develop in the story and I was sad about that. But the book is full of unforgettable and unique characters that tug at your heart, particularly Tik Tok and Moon Eye. But there's also a lot of complicated bad guys, some not even bad guys in the traditional sense of the word. That's something I deeply loved about this book, the contradicting, ambiguous morality of some of the characters. One might be doing something considered good, but end up doing bad. One might do a bad thing, but coincidentally end up doing something good. It translates to the characters and their natures as well. A strong character doesn't necessarily mean that they will not let anyone walk over them or that they will make their own rules; sometimes strength manifests itself in other ways. A true friend is not perfectly loyal or not envious or always in agreement with you, and someone may truly love you, yet end up hurting you and that doesn't make their love any less real or their friendship any less honest.

This book is not exactly a thrilling ride. Like I said before, it drags a bit and most of the story is passive, the pace rather slow, but that is mostly due to the fact that things in the story unfold naturally by themselves and with a certain degree of realism that adds up to the effect of the raw and heart-breaking ending. The world-building is fantastic and the writing breath-taking. It was quite difficult to tear myself from the book, as slow as I claimed it got at points. The pulsing emotion behind the characters, the narrative, the very core of the book, was riveting and impossible to resist and that's what carries the whole book, because let me tell you, this is hardly a pretty story, but it works. It is bittersweet and terrible and beautiful. This book is simply marvelous, because a book that makes me feel so much and so many polarizing emotions and ends up lodging itself in my head despite having gone through several other books afterward, can be nothing short of amazing.