Tiger Queen

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2020

Member Reviews

I honestly hated to find out that this is a stand alone novel because it blew my mind away! The characters were so easy to follow and become attached too and I loved the atmosphere. I’ve had this book for awhile from Netgalley and I’m glad I finally finished it. Annie Sullivan wrote this novel so beautifully that I felt as if I was on the journey across the desert with the main character. I will be reading more of her work as soon as she publishes it that’s for sure!
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It’s been a long time in coming, but today I finished up Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan.

In full disclosure, Annie and I are friends and co-admins on the YA Fantasy Addicts Facebook group.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be any less honest or true in my review, though.

Anyone feel like a Cheeseburger?

No?

How about a Monte Cristo? Philly Cheesesteak? BLT? Turkey Club?

Still no?

Well, I feel like a sandwich.

So that’s what you’re going to get: the good ole sandwich method.

If you’ve never heard of it, it means I’m going to say something nice, talk about what I didn’t like, and say something nice again.

See, it’s a sandwich.

Though usually the good stuff is the meat, and that it’s in the center, but with the sandwich method, the center is the not so nice and………

Whatever. Let’s hop to it!

The Top Bun

Let’s start with the top bun. What is my favorite?

I like the kind with the little onion bits on top, though I’m not a fan of sesame seeds.

Oh…you meant my favorite part of the book. I got you. *wink*

Tiger Queen starts with a bang and I absolutely love that.

I’ve read so many books lately that start with about 5 chapters worth of information before I get to anything remotely considered exciting.

But Annie Sullivan wastes no time in getting right down to the action in Tiger Queen.

The book opens with our hero, Kateri, watching as a small boy, a Desert Boy (a criminal), is dropped into the arena and given the choice of two doors. Behind one is a tiger and behind the other is some supplies.

Choose the wrong door and the boy is dead, receiving the punishment for his crimes. But choose the correct door and he’ll be set free with some loot for his trouble.

His crimes?
Stealing water from the wells of the city.

You see, Kateri’s city has been suffering through a drought for many years and everyone is limited to a certain amount of water per day. To take more water than you are due is treasonous, endangers the life of the entire city, and is punishable by death.

I won’t spoil what door he chooses and what follows.

But the arena isn’t only used for punishment, it’s also used for sport.

In Kateri’s case, she fights in the arena to win the approval of her father, her people, and to defeat her potential suitors.

Should any one of them best her, they will claim her right to the throne and she will be forced to wed the future king. But should she prevail in defeating all her suitors, she will claim her birthright and her dead mother’s crown.

The Meat

Perhaps in this analogy the meat wasn’t cooked to perfection. Is that how the sandwich method works?

You asked for medium well and got rare or well done? Who knows, and who cares. *shrug*

The part of Tiger Queen that let me down the most was coincidentally the middle of the book.

Maybe that’s why I chose the sandwich method in the first place. Hmm….

It starts off all right. But quickly gets repetitive.

Kateri is training for her final bout in the arena against her final suitor, a man who is stronger and better than her in every way.

And while the training types vary, the situations surrounding them are the same, and Kateri’s progress through them follows the same pattern.

The man that is training Kateri says he has a surprise for Kateri every few chapters and it’s always to reveal some new aspect of the group she’s aligned herself with. And that aspect tends to be frivolous and unrealistic given the rough set of circumstances that have befallen them.

I was actually inclined to enjoy these moments early on, until they kept coming up. “I have a surprise for you.” “Another surprise.”

However, if you can look past the repetitive nature of her training, the story that’s going on in the background is superb and a magical adventure.

The Bottom Bun

I’d say that once you get to the 70-75% mark of Tiger Queen, it’s such a whirlwind of a tale that you won’t be able to put the book down until you reach the very end.

The plot twists, the discoveries, the threads all neatly getting tied up, the action, the sword fighting, the high stakes/high adrenaline moments will keep your blooding pumping and your fingers actively turning the pages.

There were a few twists in Tiger Queen that I saw coming, but even those twists had explanations I didn’t foresee.

So while I was right on the overall outcome, I had guessed wrong on the motivations behind the outcome.

That surprise made for a refreshing twist to the twist.

If you’re like me and you’re constantly making guesses as you read a book, then Tiger Queen might just be the right book for you.

There is a romance subplot for you romance lovers, but be aware that it doesn’t even really begin to take fruition until about the 60% mark of the story.

Hang in there, it’s worth it thought it is a pretty slow-burn romance.

You’ve probably read enough books where the girl and guy are pining for each other in Chapter 2. It’s time for some more realistic romance that takes awhile to kindle, but when it ignites, it blazes strong and true.

Closing Remarks

Anyone else out there love to read the Acknowledgements?

Ooo oo me!

I read them for every book.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the YA Fantasy Addicts Facebook Group is given a shout out in the acknowledgements.

But I was perhaps more astonished to see my name there among a list of many others.

Annie truly is a wonderful author and a fantastic person. If you’d like to get to know her, come join us on Facebook in the YA Fantasy Addicts group.

Tiger Queen gets a solid 4/5 stars from me and is a worthy read for any YA Fantasy fan.
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Thank you to the publisher Blink and NetGalley for this review copy of Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan. 

I love a good standalone fantasy novel and I was really looking forward to reading Tiger Queen. This turned out to be an amazing re-telling of The Lady, or the Tiger. Not being familiar with that tale kept the story fresh and new in a genre crowded with Beauty and the Beast and other European fairy tale retellings. 

I appreciated the detail Annie Sullivan put into building this sand swept world and the character of Kateri. She goes through some realistic and gradual changes from Princess to Warrior to rebel. There is also a slow burn “clean” romance. 
I highly recommend this book to YA fantasy fans of all ages.
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Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Writing Style: 2 stars
Cover: 4 stars
Representation: 1 stars
Enjoyment: 4 stars
Overall: 2 stars

This one is actually a little hard to review, because some things were really good, but other things that I consider important were really not.

First the good: This was a very enjoyable read. Annie Sullivan knows how to spin an adventure tale, and how to give her main character growth (though her MC always starts off a little *too* naive and trusting of the wrong people and comes off as pretty annoying at first for my taste). The cover is also really beautiful. And little things like the sand dancing, and Kateri's relationship with Cion were beautiful and well-done.

The plot was a little simplistic, which makes sense since it was based on a short story, but I wish it had been fleshed out more. In some ways it felt like more of a middle-grade novel in that way. The writing, too, was simplistic and a little flat, but it wasn't enough to jar me out of the story.

The thing that really bothered me once I started reflecting on the story, and that knocked my initial rating down from 5 stars to 3, is the representation. This has 2 parts

First, cultural: There are a few throwaway sentences about people in the city from other cities/countries having this or that custom, but that was it. Every character was described as being basically the same, which is really unrealistic in a city where people come in caravans from other places. There should have been differences in dress, in skin color, in hair color, etc... but there weren't. There also weren't any real cultural trappings or customs, aside from the sand dances. You could have picked the story up and put it down in the desert basically anywhere. The people were bland and could easily have all been white. In a book drawing inspiration from a presumably Middle Eastern or Indian culture... that's a problem.

Second: Kateri is the only female character with any real impact on the story. There are women who show up here and there as minor characters, but every other character with real importance in the story is a man. And it's *incredibly* unbelievable that Kateri is the first woman to be accepted as a Desert Boy but they accept her so easily and trust her. Even though she's the daughter of the ruler who makes their life so awful? Like... only boys are orphans and third children? That's unrealistic. It would have been *so* easy to make a few of the Desert Boys girls. Sigh.

So overall I enjoyed the story but had major issues with the details.
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I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
When I first started this book, it was slow and hard to get into. I actually had to come back to it. I'm happy that I did , though. Once I got into the book, I couldn't put it down! 
I think it's the first person point of view that originally threw me off. Usually, those books are not written well. So when, I saw that the story was going to be in Princess Kateri's POV, I think that's what turned me off. Thankfully the the story was written very well and was fast moving! I loved the way the ending wrapped up!
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I received a copy of Tiger Queen from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. If you're looking for a good fantasy standalone, this is the right pick. 
Princess Kateri must fight for her right to rule her desert kingdom. To rule, she must win in an arena against an opponent that she knows she will not be able to bring down. Throw in added drama from a gang of 'Desert Boys' who are stealing from the cities wells, Kateri's world becomes flipped upside down from everything she knows. This is a great retelling of 'The Lady or the Tiger?' Strong characters and well written.
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Received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley.

I love the original The Lady and The Tiger tale. So, I was very interested to see Annie’s spin on the tale. Gave me the feels of Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Mad Max.
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Huge thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book!! This book just captured my attention from page one and I couldn't stop reading it until I was done. I love how much action there was and I really enjoyed how badass Princess Kateri is. I really enjoyed seeing her character change and progress as she is put in a difficult situations while also uncovering lies that overall change her as person. You also get to see how Cion and the desert boys change her as she becomes one of their own as Cion and Kateri become closer to each other as he trains her to defeat Roderick and bring back water to her people. I give this novel a 5 out 5 star rating.
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This was definitely one of my favorite reads of 2019! I don’t know what I was expecting, exactly, but it swept me off my feet, into a struggling desert land full of misconceptions with a courageous, determined girl. I was SO inspired by our main character, Kateri. She approaches courage in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: she doesn’t hesitate to do things more than once in front of others in order to get better, and when asked to do something, she does it. I mean, she doesn’t say “oh someone else could do it better,” or “no, I haven’t done that in a while, it’s too embarrassing.” She just does it. That may not seem like a big deal, but she doesn’t even hesitate for fear of man, and she actually taught me a lot in the phase of life I was going through when I read this. I hope I did her justice with that description haha.

I also thought the romance was spot-on! Cion was a total book boyfriend, in my humble opinion, and he brought some amazing character development in Kateri - the yin to her yang. And I thought the plot and her character development in general felt very natural considering the impressionable nature of children and the childhood she had. 

Overall, I freaking loved this book so much! It was a relatively simple fantasy read, yet it had deeper facets as well, and I just enjoyed it an awful lot! Totally recommend!

PS thank you NetGalley, Annie Sullivan, and Blink for gifting me with a digital arc of this book in exchange for an honest (albeit late) review! All opinions in this review are my own.





If you enjoyed this review, you can follow me here on Goodreads for more or follow me on my bookstagram @ashton_reads! Love y’all!
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“Tiger Queen” by Annie Sullivan has an amazing synopsis but unfortunately misses the mark for me. The main issue for me is the characters themselves. The main character, Kateri , was definitely a warrior. But everyone else felt flat. The writing was repetitive/ redundant at times. I also felt like the story was pretty predictable. Overall, it was an ok story. 

*I received a digital advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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Tiger Queen was one of those YA fantasies that had the potential to be amazing but ended up average at best for me for what I read of it. Part of that, I think, is because I read a LOT of books in this genre so it's become harder and harder to stand out. Unfortunately this book just didn't and I ended up DNFing.

From the start, I didn't care about Kateri as a protagonist. There was nothing about her that I found worth rooting for. And as a narrator, she continuously brought up the same stuff over and over -- comments about the setting, the whole history between her mother and the Desert Boys, etc. -- which was frustrating because it bogged the story down. Considering Tiger Queen is narrated by Kateri in first person, this became a bit of an issue and I lost focus a lot.

The story itself was... okay, much like everything else in the book. I felt like it could have been more interesting but instead followed a pretty straightforward and predictable path of a girl warrior overcoming her enemy and finding love. Which, okay, I don't get the romance in this book. I love romance in stories and often seek it out but this was definitely one of those cases where it just didn't make sense to me. I'd have much rather the book follow Kateri's journey to defeating the Big Bad of her world and saving her people. Especially when she was already pretty dense and didn't pick up on who the bad guy really was from the start (it was so obvious to me I thought it was thrown in as a red herring before the real bad guy was revealed... which unfortunately wasn't the case).

Nothing about Tiger Queen stood out to me and eventually I decided to DNF it and be done with the book entirely. Good thing too because I was reading some other reviews after and there's apparently a scene later on involving the tigers that would likely have hit my only trigger when it comes to books (animal violence and/or death). I can't speak to the contents personally but it didn't sound promising. First book I've read by this author but I don't know how inclined I feel to check out her previous book or future work right now.
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I think this book was very well written, the characters had wonderful development and the story moved and flowed well. I unfortunately just could connect well, this happens sometimes and isn't because of the book itself and more of the timing and way my mind replayed it in my head. I think if I were to try again I might enjoy it more, but for right now it just didn't have me in fangirl mode. That ending though....
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Princess Kateri has trained her whole life to finally claim her birthright, vowing to have her revenge on the Desert Boys who killed her mother. But a face-to-face encounter with a living legend, turns everything that she thought she knew on its head, as she is forced to re-evaluate her core beliefs and what it means to be queen.



The sophomore novel from Annie Sullivan will not fail to disappoint. Tiger Queen is engaging from the start establishing a strong heroine, the desert kingdom, and the perceived enemies quickly, then skillfully turning what we thought we knew all around. Life in the desert is merciless, as are its monarchs.



Kateri is courageous, never backing down from a challenge, she knows her weaknesses and acknowledges that she still has room to grow and learn. I admired her compassion, and strength.



Cion is a mysterious enigma who over the course of the book becomes more and more flesh. He is a born leader, with strong loyalties to his family, I loved unraveling his secrets throughout the story.



Action-packed, with excellent world building, Tiger Queen is my favorite of Ms. Sullivan's novels so far. I liked the unexpected twists, well paced action and character development. There are many twists and turns that kept me guessing, and many characters who are not what they appear at first. A wonderful read for fans of teen fantasy and strong heroines.



I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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In Tiger Queen is a retelling of “The Lady, or the Tiger?”; we follow Kateri who is a princess of a desert kingdom called Achra. Kateri has to do a battle to see if she will have the right to rule or not. So, when Kateri finds out who she will have to face, Rodric she knows she can't win, she turners to the only person who might know how to win her battle. He happens to be the leader of the Desert Boys who are always braking into her city and stealing water, causing more trouble with her father and the people. 
She makes the choice to risk her life to enter into the desert to find the Desert Boys to help. The Desert Boys is a rebel group who just trying to help people. Cion would have to be my favorite character as he is the 'doing what he must to help people' kind of guy. I enjoy his back story, it was one of my favorite scenes. All the backstory is important and helps wrap the whole story up. Back to Cion and Kateri's relationship, I like the little push and pull they have, the willingness to help each other. 
The story is fast-paced but well balanced. Sullivan's writing is beautiful! I read her other book A Touch of Gold, and really enjoyed it but I loved this one so much more. The world-building is breathtaking! I loved the details she puts into each part of this story. 

I was given a copy of this to review, however, this is my 100% honest thoughts. 

Review is also in Double the Books Magazine - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wLIXN09Hh9qWLQ86ZHBOl7Uz2OBdd7RJ
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Great atmospheric setting with a strong heroine who knows her own strength. This book started off with a bang and kept going. I really liked the heroine and seeing her come into her own during the story. The mythology and setting was something I don't see much in YA so it was a welcome change. Give to fans of mythology and wanting something different
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Annie Sullivan's retelling of 'The Lady or the Tiger?' takes the original story to another level. As a fan of Stockton's famous short story, this version gives a satisfying answer to the question he leaves with his readers. However, you don't need to read 'The Lady or the Tiger?' in order to enjoy Tiger Queen.

I have to say, the concept of this novel is exceptional! Adventurous and inventive, Tiger Queen is a fun desert fantasy with a lot of action. There were nice gladiator elements and an aspect of one of my favorite tropes: found family. I loved Sullivan's personification of the desert, making it a main character and giving it so much life.

While I loved the concept of this story, the execution left me a bit underwhelmed. The characters seemed one-dimensional and underdeveloped to me and the romance fell a bit flat. It also starts off a bit slow in my opinion. But in these instances it's more of an, "it's not you, it's me," thing? I found it to be an enjoyable read overall.

I would definitely recommend Tiger Queen to anyone who enjoys desert fantasies and fun, action filled standalones! The atmosphere and fight scenes will not disappoint!
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I went into this book with certain expectations since I've heard a lot about this title. Unfortunately, I felt that the execution fell flat compared to the premise. Still, it was an interesting enough read.
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This was a really interesting and unique story! I loved the world building and unique atmosphere the writer created. I've never read a book with a world similar to this one, so having that new feel was refreshing! Sullivan did a fantastic job with the world building and it is obvious she did a great amount of planning with everything in this story. The fantasy world was so rich and unique!

I really enjoyed the main character. She was an obvious example of how much planning went into this story. She felt well developed and natural. Her upbringing was apparent through her journey during this story and I loved watching her develop as a character. I wanted to just reach into this story and hug her so often because I cannot even imagine being under the type of pressure she feels.

The writing in this story is beautiful! It truly bring the world to life and makes flying through the pages easy. I definitely stayed up late a few nights trying to devour more of this book! It was just so easy to fall into.

I do have to say, the book is a little predictable. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish I hadn't guessed everything correctly.
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TIGER QUEEN is a fantasy set in ancient history in a land of sand where a princess finds that her world is not as it seems. Highly recommended to ya fantasy fans!

It took me a bit to like Kateri, the protagonist of the story. She comes across as naive and easily gullible, as well as arrogant. However, her character changes as she faces lies, challenges, and finds friends in unlikely places. The villains play their roles quite well and there I really despised them. The romance is sweet and I appreciated that it didn't take over the story. I liked the training and the group of boys that reminded me of Peter Pan and the lost boys. Cion and the boys were probably my favorite part of the story. The action scenes were engrossing and well written. The ending was climatic ending on a sweet note.

There were a few things I felt could have used more development. A few of the characters were one dimensional and I would have liked them to be better fleshed out. Otherwise, I had no complaints about this story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed this one from beginning to end. Definitely worth the read if you're a fantasy fan!

Content: Violence and abuse.
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
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I loved this book so much it is the best book I have read this year so far I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters especially Kateri and Cion they both were well written characters I liked how their relationship developed at a slow pace not too fast or too slow at a more natural pace. I liked Kateri because of how strong she is and I really like how she reacted after she found out all she though she knew was wrong I really liked how determined she was to right the wrongs that was done to the people. I liked Cion because how he was the person to tell Kateri the things she grew up were not right and how it was alright to feel and to show emotions. I really liked the plot of the story it was paced at just the right pace I liked that it went from Kateri trying to find a way to beat someone she could not to stopping a tyrant I really liked how it was all wrapped up with no loose ends it had the perfect ending. So overall I really loved this book I would read more by this author for sure.
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