TYGER TYGER (Goblin Wars #1)
November 15, 2010
Received from publisher
Teagan's life is going according to plan. She has a job she loves that will put her on track for a scholarship, a loving family, and a slightly less than sane but loyal best friend. Things are as they should be in Teagan's world.
Only things are about to change. Abby is seeing things in her dreams. Disturbing creatures, terrifying and cruel, bent on finding Teagan. It would be easy to dismiss Abby's dreams as nonsense, except some of the things Abby describes Teagan has seen herself in her mother's paintings. Glorious landscapes and breathtaking scenery shine through her mother's canvases, but that glory is also dimmed by the portrayal of creatures just like those Abby described.
Teagan's world is further complicated by the arrival of Finn Mac Cumhaill, a beautiful Irish distraction she doesn't want or need in her life. His presence is electrifying, and just as Teagan is ready to ignore both his effect on her and Abby's talk of goblins, Finn begins regaling her with his own stories of goblinkind. Surely, both Abby and Finn are playing a joke right? Goblins aren't real, they're just stories.
But Teagan's story is just beginning, and it's rougher, grittier and has more consequences than any of the fables she's heard before.
A truly delightful beginning to a darkly whimsical series. I'm thoroughly encouraged by the prevalence of strong, capable female protagonists in young adult literature lately. Teagan is fantastic, intelligent and focused on her future, with ambition, charm, and wit in spades. Though the presence of a wickedly handsome boy with a delicious accent is distracting to her, she isn't overwhelmed by him. Instead, he seems to compliment and enhance the characteristics that are already present, and the romance takes a back seat to the main storyline. Now, I'm a fan of a romantic plotline, so I'm hoping to see that develop in the sequel, but I enjoyed the subtlety of their feelings in this first installment.
Teagan's younger brother Aiden is an absolute joy. He possesses the blunt honesty of so many children who have yet to develop a sense of tact, and has no qualms about making embarrassing observations about those around him. If he catches Finn and Teagan sharing a blushing, emotional gaze, he's sure to point out their resemblance to different flavors of Kool-Aid. He, Teagan, and Finn all engage in witty banter that keeps the reader laughing at the innocuous while the story becomes increasingly precarious, and provides a levity that is a relief from the depth of their current struggles.
The characters are strong and engaging and the world-building is well executed without being overpowering. My main criticism though would be of our villain. Throughout the entire story we are told of his varying degrees of nefariousness, his torture and incarceration of the innocent, and his manipulation of an entire race. He has killed without remorse, he is a god among the goblins, and he is to be feared for his malevolence. And for all that, Teagan, Aiden and Finn are able to temporarily stymie him with seemingly little effort. I expected a little more conflict for all the buildup, but I know the more epic showdown is yet to come as the story continues.
Additionally, though the mythology and folklore is quite fascinating, it's also slightly confusing at times. There are a lot of names for the reader to keep track of, and sometimes the different types of sidhe and their specific allegiances are difficult to manage. Overall, however, Tyger Tyger is fanciful yet serious, humorous yet sobering, and a beautiful start to what is sure to be a very entertaining series.