October 24, 2010

Review: Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger, Tyger
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Publisher: Clarion
Series: Goblin Wars, Book 1
ISBN: 9780547330082
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

*ARC generously provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

For more information visit Kersten Hamilton's website.

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures-goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty-are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.


Tyger, Tyger, the debut novel in Kersten Hamilton’s Goblin Wars series, is a must read. A highly action packed adventure perfectly mixed with the fantastical world of Irish mythology. However, when I started reading this book I was under the misconception that I already knew exactly what to expect. It would be geared towards male preteens with a lack of any real depth relying instead on its sense of adventure to capture its audience. Simply put, it would be all fluff and no substance and I was delighted to realize how wrong I was!

While outwardly this novel appears like many other teen fantasy reads it couldn’t be further from the truth. In honesty, I believe it’s the use of the word ‘goblins’ in the series title that’s so misleading. I mean goblins are for kids, right? Wrong! The goblins of this tale are in actuality dark fae, vile and evil creatures to their core, with roots deep in Irish mythology and folklore. But, it’s not just the legends and myths that ensnare the reader. The characters themselves-the descendants of such Irish legends such as Maeve (Queen Mab’s sister), Merlin and Fionn, carve for themselves a new place in our ideology. It was interesting to see the tales twisted into a modern day folktale and I loved the precision and intricacy the author went to explaining the old tales in a very accessable and understandable way while not bogging down the story or making the characters seem larger then life. Instead, she keeps them humble and likeable and essentially human allowing them to have their moments of vulnerability and weakness..

From the onset I was intrigued by the characters of this story. Because the author starts off with a well written introduction to the Wylltson family and Finn before the action truly starts, we come to care about them and become subject to a wide range of emotions throughout the book that they endure-drama, romance, suspense…and yes, lots of action! But, even with the fantastical nature of the book, it still maintains a high level of dialogue and keeps its strength throughout with a pace that is quick and suspenseful. The characters all remain pure of spirit, not letting themselves be drawn into long bouts of depression like so many other characters would. It gives a hopeful feel to the novel that was appealing, making me love the story (and characters) even more.

To offset the action of the novel, the realtionship between Finn and Teagan is potent and fascinating. It’s a sweet romance that’s a little cliché but no less endearing. Teagan, the good girl, falls for Finn the bad boy who hides a heroic streak. But, like most heroes, he feels he can’t involve someone in his life knowing the danger that being around him will bring. However, it’s not just the romantic entanglements of the story that steal the heart. It’s the overall sense of family and companionship that is evident through the novel, starting with Teagan’s family and Finn’s acceptance into it without question and ending with a dangerous adventure into another realm to locate Teagan’s kidnapped father. While the ending has a sense of resolve to it, we are still left wanting more of the relationships to see how they evolve given the information that they found while in Mag Mell, the fae/goblin realm.

Overall, this novel is a truly fantastic read that is highly enjoyable and exciting, perfect for older fans of the genre and those that like novels steeped in mythology. I for one will be eagerly anticipating the 2011 release of the next novel in the Goblin Wars series, Burning Bright.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars

1 comment:

Kat said...

I reviewed this one,too-- completely agree with the five stars! The mythology incredible. :)
I also interviewed Kersten and I'm giving away a copy. Check out http://amyriadofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/special-tyger-tyger-giveaway-interview.html if you like.