Title: Tiger Lily, Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson, Genre: Fantasy, Trigger warning: rape, abuse, suicide, Publication date: July 3rd 2012, Rating: /5
Dark and twisted, this Peter Pan retelling is an absolutely pleasant read – for the first 200 pages or so. Tiger Lily lives with the Sky Eaters, one of the many tribes on the island of Neverland. In the wide forest, between different villages, live the dreaded Lost Boys lead by Peter Pan and his posse.
Tiger Lily, an outcast in her own village, finds refuge in Peter Pan’s burrow. She slowly falls in love with Peter Pan and is swept in the wilderness and adventurous life he leads. Told from the faerie Tinker Bell’s perspective, we see how love and friendship slowly turns sour, and how loss and grief can churn out venom out of the friendliest of souls. In a similar fashion we are exposed to how destructive colonialism and religious righteousness can be.
This book is not one I would recommend to anyone under the mental age of old. Heavy subjects are woven delicately between stories of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan’s love. The first sentences of the first chapter warn you appropriately:
This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win.
Tinker Bell is a mute faerie, like all faerie’s are. It was very interesting and also stressful to read from her point of view. No matter how much she tried to intervene, her inability to speak to the characters, left her to be more of a bystander. It was a perfect representation of how reader’s feel and as she was unnoticeably nudging and stinging Tiger Lily and Peter Pan to warn them of danger I felt my own chest rise in agitation and trying to warn them! I was turning into my dad yelling at football players on TV…
I won’t even attempt to dedicate a paragraph to how perfect the writing was, because I think this book is known for it’s writing style if nothing else. Anderson has a talent in deceiving you with her words into willingly break yourself open and allow her to rip your heart out. For almost the entirety of the book I thought that people had overhyped how sad the book was, because until page 200 it was quite upbeat. Even up until 270 it wasn’t that heartbreaking. But the last 30 pages were a real punch to the gut.
The plot was engaging, although lacking until the very end. Not much happened, I didn’t feel like there were any plot twists or that I had been taken through a journey. The book was more like a wave sweeping over you in slow motion until you’re under water and that’s when it speeds up. And I would have preferred if the characters introduced in the last 50 pages would have been present earlier. Basically, I felt the book was too short for me to get a full impression of the characters but appropriate for the plot that was introduced. It’s like being really thirsty and only having half a glass of water nearby.
I’ve been trying to decide between a 3-star and 4-star rating for this book. It is a very solid 3-star worthy book. But it ultimately gets a 4-star rating because of the beautiful quotes I will carry with me forever.