Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

Title: Tiger Queen
Author: Annie Sullivan
Publisher: BLINK
Release date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

I actually just recently became an Annie Sullivan fan after reading A Touch of Gold. A book that I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. So when I saw The Tiger Queen, I was like yes! Sign me up!

I loved Kateri. I love her because you see so much growth in her character as the story progresses. We start with her living a typical royal life. She has no real idea of what the people’s suffering is like and just blindly follows what her father tells her. He’s her father and the King. Why would he lie to her. When she finally ventures out and sees more of the world outside of herself, she really starts to realize that she can’t rely on others to see her. She has to understand what is going on if she truly wants to fulfill her promise to her mother. She tries so hard in the beginning not to be weak by her father’s standards and then by the end see that she can find her own strength and that she doesn’t need to measure up to anyone but herself. Well being that she’s trying to be Queen, her people too. I really enjoyed seeing her grow.

I loved the setting. It’s such an interesting world. This is a city surrounded by desert and suffering from drought. The only reason they haven’t made the trek to leave the territory is there is not enough water to make the journey. They strongly believe in the spirit of the desert and that the changing sands will show them the way to live. In a way it’s their religion. There are also sandstorms and vicious poisonous creatures that if you are not experienced in walking around the desert you might end up dead. I really shouldn’t call them vicious, it’s a if you irritate them they will attack you kind of thing.

The romance is very subtle and does not distract from the plot at all. I actually kind of wish there was a little more because it was so cute. I also really like that kind of relationship. It always reminds me of Final Fantasy VI (yes I’m really off the range here) and the cute general/thief kind of thing. Or even Robin Hood. Who is actually good and who is actually bad.

All these pieces make up the plot. Kateri is battling for the throne. Having to defeat each suitor in order to avoid marriage and take her rightful place as Queen. During this, due to the drought, the water rations keep getting lowered. Which is causing mini revolts and uprising. When Kateri’s final contender is not only someone terrible but someone she can’t beat. She needs to find a new way to win. Which sets the wheels in motion for the rest of the events of the story.

I loved The Tiger Queen. It’s a great standalone and a really enjoyable read.

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

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Prize: Tiger Queen poster and signed bookplate (USA only)
Starts: 9/4/19
Ends: 9/13/19
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