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…
Unfortunately, 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.
I 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.
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