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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In the 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 the choice between two doors: behind one door lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger. But when Kateri's final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, Kateri 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.…

Tiger Queen

by Annie Sullivan

Overall Book Review:

Tiger Queen is a retelling of the short story “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank R. Stockton. You don’t need to be familiar with the original story before reading Tiger Queen – I wasn’t and looking back I think that made the story more enjoyable for me. I had few expectations when I started reading this, and while I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t blown away either. The primary strengths of this book are the main character and the worldbuilding. While the main character, Kateri, was a stereotypical YA protagonist – a strong, feisty princess who falls in love and learns to care about people – she was an engaging character, and I enjoyed her story. As for the worldbuilding, the desert in the story was more than just a setting; it had a clear influence on the culture, which added a layer of nuance to the world. It had a good balance of familiar elements and fantastical ones and added texture to the story.

The main problem with this story, however, was in the relationships between characters, especially Kateri and her father. There was a lot of room to explore some deep themes and relationships which were introduced into the story, but these were never expanded upon. Most of the relationships between characters remained single-faceted, which often felt unrealistic and disappointing. The story left me wanting more than it had to give. Overall, it was still a fun book, but it played it safe and didn’t quite live up to its potential.

Content Analysis

Profanity/Language: None

Violence/Gore: A boy is put on trial for theft, the trial may result in death and an observing character wants death to be the outcome; report of a character killing another; mention of torture; report of borderline abusive training methods; characters fight in an organized match, results in minor injuries; a mob throws rocks at a character; soldiers fight a group of children thieves; report of a tiger mauling and killing a person; a character chases and attempts to hurt another; a few instances where characters fight, normally with swords; a child dies from a snake bite, not graphic; characters talk or think about killing another character a few times; report of a man murdering his wife and baby daughter, some detail; a character is violently captured by a mob; a character hits another; a character threatens another; report of injuries; a man is bitten by a snake; a character injures and attempts to drown another; a character is stung by scorpions; report of a character murdering another character’s family member; a character is seen who recently had their ears cut off by another character; a character is badly scarred as a result of torture; a character threatens to torture and eventually murder another; characters fight animals, resulting in the death of an animal and some injuries to humans; a character fights a close relative; a character is killed by an animal; characters fight resulting in possibly lethal injuries.

Sex/Nudity: A character wants to bring a girl to his superior who “always had an eye for a pretty face”; a woman is pregnant with an illegitimate child; a few instances of flirting; 7 instances where a character embraces another or touches another’s face, neck, shoulders, etc.; 2 instances where characters kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of family members; tyranny; murder; torture; poverty; arranged marriage; orphans; theft; mistreatment of animals; severe drought.

Alcohol/Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.