Book Review: Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

TIGER’S CURSE by Colleen Houck
Series: The Tiger Saga, #1
Publication Date: Jan 11th 2011 by Splinter

Summary: Passion. Fate. Loyalty.
Would you risk it all to change your destiny?
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Review Overview:

  • This novel will make you cry, gasp, and ache for more
  • Overlaps so many genres: adventure, fantasy, romance, (and a little bit of) comedy
  • Houck is not afraid to tug on her readers’ heart strings

Colleen Houck self-published the first two installations of the Tiger Saga (Tiger’s Curse and Tiger’s Quest) as free e-books. TIGER’S CURSE “claimed the #1 spot on Kindle’s children’s best-seller list for seven weeks” (source). This is how I discovered this brilliant series. Now, months later, TIGER’S CURSE is a New York Times bestseller thanks to its success.

I hold TIGER’S CURSE in the same regard as The Hunger Games (which I think is an amazing series). I absolutely love the different genres this story fits into – adventure, fantasy, romance, and comedy. It is easy to sympathize with Kelsey, the main female character: she’s lost her parents, she doesn’t want to rely too much on her foster family (whom she cares for), and she works hard to earn money for college fees. Although she will always feel the absence of her parents, Kelsey does not close her heart off from other people. She respects her foster family who, in turn, truly loves her which they demonstrate through little acts of affection (such as her foster father’s insistence on driving Kelsey to her first day of work at the circus).

While the circus only needs Kelsey for the two weeks that it is in town, Kelsey puts her best effort into the job since she needs the money to pay for college tuition and books.It is here that her first interactions with Dhiren – the tiger and the circus’ main attraction – made me laugh. She quickly develops a friendship with Dhiren – whom she nicknames “Ren” – as she helps out his trainer as much as possible by feeding the tiger and attending to the needs of the other animals. Two of my favorite moments between these kindred souls are:

  1. When Kelsey visits Ren after work and reads him Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet until she falls asleep in the hay next to his cage
  2. When Ren interrupts his own performance by walking around the floor looking for Kelsey. They share a significant look that does not go unnoticed by her fellow circus workers.

Without giving too much away, this book focuses on Kelsey’s attempt to break an ancient curse and free the Indian prince affected by it. Dhiren – both the tiger and the man – will yank on your heart strings: the tiger favors Kelsey and the man is mysterious and beautiful, both beseeching Kelsey for her help to set the man free. Houck does an excellent job of presenting characters with so much depth that I thought they were real people. Also, she describes India and its culture beautifully – I didn’t know much about either one before reading TIGER’S CURSE – which turns out to be a lesson in sociology/anthropology/history/whatever.

I recommend TIGER’S CURSE to anyone looking for an adventure within the walls of their own bedroom.


Next up: Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman


  1. I’m reading this at the moment! Not too much has happened so far, but I am enjoying it. Although I do find it a bit weird that her foster parents would let Kelsey travel to India alone. And I also think that Kelsey talks far too much :L

    Great review! :D

    1. It gets better towards the middle…I don’t want to be too detailed since I don’t want to spoil it. And yes, I agree, her foster parents seem a bit too perfect. Don’t worry…I think Kelsey becomes more likeable as you get used to her.

      Thanks for commenting!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad my review convinced you to read it. The sequel is now available on amazon and barnes & noble, if that’s more incentive for you.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Wow, high praise if you hold it in the same regard as THG. How interesting that the author self-published the first two books in this series. I have a bad habit of generally assuming that if a book is self-published, it’s likely not as well done as books that are not and I would like to break myself of that line of thinking.

    1. Haha yes, I love this series as much as the hunger games. If you make it to the second book in the series, you will understand (i hope!)

      And yes, the publishing industry has started to look at self-published books with big followings which is great if that helps your thinking

  3. “I hold TIGER’S CURSE in the same regard as The Hunger Games (which I think is an amazing series).”


    Honestly the cover never did it for me (shallow) lol but I’m very impressed by this review :D I’m gonna try and get a copy :)

    1. Haha yes, I love this series as much as the hunger games. If you make it to the second book in the series, you will understand (i hope!)

  4. i read this ages ago!
    and i agree with you.
    ive read the whole series, and the last one is the most frustrating out of the four! (no spoilers)
    can you do a review on the last one, and oh by the way nice blog!

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