Review: Tiger Lily

When I kept seeing positive reviews of a Peter Pan retelling called Tiger Lily, I was quickly intrigued. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Peter Pan necessarily, but fairy tale retellings intrigue me so I wanted to check it out. And after all…

Peter_Pan_wonderfulUnfortunately, I didn’t really feel the magic. I imagined it as best as I could, and apparently I was able to inspire up my first bookish wedding inspiration post that so many of you enjoyed, but as I read, I felt that Anderson was glossing over delightful details of Neverland, and everything just fell flat for me.

GR-tigerlilyI feel the need to point out that each of the characters were unique and complex, they weren’t two-dimensional or flat at all. And yet, I felt zero connection to them. I’m sure part of it was because I couldn’t relate to them, but there have been characters I have connected with despite having nothing in common with them. I think part of the problem was also Tinker Bell as the narrator. She would say exactly what everyone was thinking and feeling (it seemed terribly convenient that she can could read their minds), but even still I didn’t actually feel with the characters at all. I was concerned about Tiger Lily and Pine Sap and Moon Eye in the sense I didn’t want bad things to happen to them because they’re human beings (fictional, but still), but I never connected to how they felt or cared too much about what happened in the end, so long as it was too terribly tragic (though early on I feared it might be, since that is the mood of the book).

And really, what was I supposed to want to happen? Like Seraphina, this book felt like it lacked a direction, a plot, a goal for the main character, except much more so. The world and the characters were much less interesting to me than that of Seraphina (even though had the potential to be so amazing!). I tried so hard to enjoy the ride, but everything felt so somber and flat and strange. What did I want for Tiger Lily and Peter Pan? I understood their connection, sort of, but I didn’t really understand when they formed it or why. *Highlight for spoilers* And I certainly didn’t care about them ending up together (though I did feel bad for Tiger Lily when Peter flaked out on her for Wendy, because really it is just sad in general when such a thing happens). And just when I thought their relationship might be interesting, like they go off on a three day journey, it was boring and felt ultimately pointless.

Maybe the point was *highlight for spoilers* was the betrayal that would come after. But that didn’t really make me feel anything either. It just confirmed both parties were kinda lousy people when you got down to it. I understand not wanting to make every MC a hero/heroine type, but at least make them likable or interesting or something. What happened with Peter Pan did affect me some, and then I was happy that Tiger Lily was finally able to love Pine Sap. But other than that, I just don’t know.Β 

But still, I don’t understand what the reason for the journey was, ultimately. Why did I read this story? What did I glean from it? The answer is I don’t really know.

The writing was lovely in some places. But in some places, as I somewhat alluded to before, I felt like there wasn’t a real richness to the prose. Almost all the character interactions felt so stiff to me, especially with them being explained to us by Tinker Bell instead of us actually getting to watch it unfold for ourselves.

I enjoyed reading it sometimes, but most of the time I felt like I was just trying to get through it, waiting for it to get better. Because of this, I am having a hard time giving it a firm rating. Based on how I have rated previously, it would be 3 stars, but I’m starting to think I have rated some of my 3 stars too high, so this book (and one or two other 3 star books I have rated) might actually be closer to 2.5. So, I’m remaining non-committal. Sorry if that bothers you. It actually bothers me too.

For a similar review (I’m not the only black sheep!), see also: Allie @ Little Birdie Books’ review of Tiger Lily

Content advisory: References to sexuality and rape

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12 thoughts on “Review: Tiger Lily

  1. I have to admit I usually avoid references to Tiger Lily on blogs because everyone loved it and I just …. didn’t. It’s been probably a year or more since I read it but I don’t remember that I found any of the characters likable. I liked that she was trying to be unique with a well known story, but I didn’t really like any of the changes she made. So, it just made it hard.

    I’m grateful I’m not the only one πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, like you, I thought the concept was neat, but it just didn’t work for me. it was hard to get behind the characters, and I probably still could have enjoyed the book without liking them if I had gotten out of their story. And you’re definitely not the only one; I read this for book club and we actually had a wide range of reactions to this one, including someone having similar feelings to it as I did and someone giving up on it.

  2. I’m sorry you never really connected with this one. I’ve also heard great things about it, and even tried to pick it up at one point, but after not connecting after a few pages, I set it aside and never picked it back up. It does sound like having Tink be the narrator creates quite the disconnect. Peter Pan retellings have been huge lately (I know this one is a bit older), but I haven’t actually read any of them. I am excited for Alias Hook which is an adult continuation of the story from Cpt. Hook’s POV. Great review!

    • Yeah, I feared early on I might not love this one, but I wanted to give it a chance, plus it was for book club, plus I had paid for it. I think the narration could have worked if Tink had been a better storyteller, but I didn’t feel she was, so it just made it feel odd and distant for me. I’ll be interested in hearing what you think about Alias Hook and/or any other Peter Pan retellings you might read and review!

  3. I 100% agree! I just couldn’t connect to this book at all..I felt there was no real character arch..it was a let down because I loved the concept.

    • Yeah, I didn’t see much of a character arc either. I mean, she changed some in the end, but that was definitely not where the emphasis of her story was placed.

  4. Oh, finally. I felt like I was some kind of black sheep while reading. Everyone loved it, but I just felt it was meh. I don’t remember much (not a good thing), just that I didn’t really enjoy it. There were a few good things, but still. Great review!

  5. I’ve never read Tiger Lily, nor have I actually heard much about it. Which seems weird now to me. I’ll probably give it a shot. I haven’t heard crazy good reviews about it, so I’m not going in with the hype machine playing it up for me. πŸ™‚ Great review!

  6. I totally agree with everything in this review! Especially the parts about how it was weird that the characters were unique and complex, yet still so hard to connect with and everything felt so stilted. That word is the perfect descriptor for this book…it’s what I felt the entire time I was reading it.

    Great review! πŸ™‚

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