Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

Image result for tiger queen annie sullivanIn the Kingdom of Achra, a princess has to fight for the right to rule and Princess Kateri has more riding on the line than just the throne.  She must fulfill a promise to protect her people from the drought and windstorms that ravage them.  The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raid 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.

When Kateri’s final opponent is announced she knows she is doomed and in desperation she seeks out the one person she never thought to 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 received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and all opinions are my own.  Tiger Queen is set to release on September 10, 2019.

I don’t know what to say after reading this story besides wow.  This tale was based upon the short story of A Lady, or the Tiger and I feel that Annie Sullivan has done the story justice by creating a world in which a princess learns that life is meant to be filled with family, love, and the strength that comes from the spirit as well as the body.

First, I have to exclaim about how stunning the world building was.  Sullivan brought to life a kingdom in the desert barely surviving a drought.  She builds upon the strength of nature and emphasizes the fact that humans cannot bend the forces of nature to their will.  The creatures and twisting sand dunes seemed to howl and spin before my eyes and the writing created vivid imagery that pulled me into the story.

And if I thought the creation of the world was phenomenal the characters were even more so.  Princess Kateri is a girl who is focused upon making her father proud and becoming the queen he wants her to be.  But when she is forced to seek the help of her enemy she comes to realize that her world is not what she thought it was.  Kateri grows into someone who realizes the power of family and who recognizes her people and sees them as more than mere pawns.  Through mental and physical challenges she grows and prevails beginning as an arrogant royal who knows little of the sufferings of the daily people into someone who fights for her people and understands their daily struggles.  As a reader, it was wonderful to watch the main character become better and wiser.

Image result for great support gifThe side characters added to the tale especially Cion who assisted in the growth of Kateri.  He made her see the shades of gray in between the black and white way she viewed the world.   He challenged and supported her but was a strong character without Kateri.  The other side characters added dimensions to the tale creating strong villains and heroes alike.  As the story continued Sullivan expanded the growth of the supporting characters for in the beginning it was minimal and I was slightly upset by the lack of growth.  However, it was made up for later in the tale when the author truly began expanding her characters.  In the end, I loved all the wonderful people that inhabited the world created in Tiger Queen.

This tale is phenomenal and I would definitely recommend it.  The author lives up to her first book by continuing the creation of wonderful stories based upon previous works.

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A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Image result for a touch of goldKing Midas was able to turn items into gold but he relinquished the power when he almost lost his daughter to this supposed gift.  Ten years later Princess Kora still bears the consequences with skin that shines golden and gifts that continually grow harder to hide.  

Kora remains hidden in the castle attempting to ignore the swirling gossip of the courtiers but when a duke arrives he seems to be able to see beneath the golden skin.  Their courtship is interrupted when a thief steals the golden pieces needed to keep the King alive.  With the unique ability to sense gold Kora sets out on a journey to recover the missing gold learning that everything is not as it seems.  And that gold and the power it holds is more dangerous than she ever imagined. 

This story based on the tale of King Midas and his golden touch was a phenomenal adventure that dragged me through the mind of a girl turned to gold by her father and his curse.  The characters pranced through my mind and the world building painted a vivid story that left me wondering what happens next.

The main character, Kora struggles to find her place in a world that is disgusted by her mere presence due to the golden hue of her skin.  In this story we see her go beyond the girl who is afraid and resigned to the hatred that surrounds her to one finding her acceptance and way in the world.  She begins to realize that her curse does not shape her and that she can be free and in control.  It was phenomenal as a reader to watch Kora’s growth and I loved her character even if I was at times annoyed by the fear that seemed to consume her.

Image result for predictable gifThe other side characters added a vivid array of emotions and flaws that made a complete cast.  I will state now that I knew immediately who the love interest would be and that the Duke (slight spoiler here) was not all that he appeared to be.  In the romance aspect, the tale was predictable but besides that, I loved pirates and their effect on the tale.

Besides the characters, the world building was gorgeous.  We see pirates, a lawless island, and sea creatures which all added to this stunning book.  Not to mention, the evil pirate of this tale who’s obsession with skulls was fascinating.  I will say that this book did not do a good job of sticking to Greek culture or history but if one simply takes the tale out of Greek context and sees it as a separate world it is perfect.

So, in the end, despite its flaws, I loved the tale of King Midas’ touch and the resulting consequences of the golden touch.  A sequel for this book called A Curse of Gold has been announced but will not be coming out for some time.