Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A little about how I came to discover Tiger Queen. Prior to BookCon, I started following some of my fellow book lovers in the Facebook Group for the convention. Among them was Annie Sullivan who was promoting her new book Tiger Queen. I feel like I had been vaguely aware of her previous novel Touch of Gold, but I hadn't read it.
Over on Annie's Instagram, she read a few lines from chapter one and I decided that I would see if I could get the ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) while at BookCon. The story was pretty fresh in the YA world from what I could tell and I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed. While I didn't get a chance to meet Annie or get the ARC at BookCon, I was able to get a digital copy from another ARC source online.
The novel follows Kateri as she battles for the right to rule the kingdom that is meant to fall to her. Set in the desert after a lengthy drought, there are water rations keeping the population thirsty and hungry. There aren't a ton of YA novels set in the desert in general. The only other one that I've come across that I can remember right now are the stories that make up Assassin's Blade; most everyone else goes with a forest or a seaside town. The desert proves to be its own character throughout the story as it helps to layer the plot with additional sources of fodder for the storytelling.
I enjoyed the fact that Kateri was strong and willing to train. She didn't have a doe-eyed entitlement or a "god given talent". She just seemed like a regular ol' princess fighting her way through the evil that was consuming everyone's lives. She wasn't the best trained assassin in the world, but she was willing to learn to be as good as she could be
One of the other things I really loved about the novel was that romance, while nice, was not the main character's sole goal. She's trying to save her kingdom. She barely even notices another person in a romantic light until maybe half way through the book, and even then she doesn't sit around obsessing over it. Maybe I've just been burned by YA before to where I can't stand that trope (I'm looking at you Dorothy must die and Alice in Zombieland).
Tiger Queen is a great adventure tale with enough twists and turns to keep you intrigued and interested as to where the story is going to take you. My only real complaint is that it wasn't long enough! Definitely would recommend that you pick this one up if you get the chance.
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