Tiger's Quest (Tiger's Curse (Hardcover))

Tiger's Quest - Colleen Houck I am officially BLOWN AWAY. This is shaping up to be one of my all time favorite YA series. My heart is just racing right now and my thoughts are so jumbled up, I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around what just happened. That was without a doubt one of the best cliffhanger endings that I've ever read (though I can only safely say that because I have the next book waiting to be read), the best love triangle I've ever read, and a wonderful, emotional journey of a modern fantasy.Kelsey has left India and Ren and returned to the states to begin her college life. She firmly believes that had this handsome Indian prince not been forced into their relationship, he would never have chosen her to be with. She believes that he needs to experience his new life in the modern world unfettered by their relationship. She, in turn, forces herself to take the plunge and begins what she thinks of as a normal college girl's life. Needless to say, this is not exactly what occurs. One thing leads to another, and dating and school take a backseat to the two Indian tigers that she can't seem to shake. Once again, Kelsey heads to India to try to break the second part of the curse, and to free Ren and Keishan.To say that this book took me places unexpectedly is a vast understatement. The author is fantastic in that she makes me comfortable with Kelsey's normal life and then throws the story in a direction that I never saw coming. Once they get to India and I once again feel like I'm good with THIS direction for the story, she does a one eighty and changes EVERYTHING that I thought I knew about this series!!! THIS OH, MY GOSH moment came out of nowhere and literally made me have to stop reading to process my emotions, to CHECK myself before I started bawling uncontrollably. I am just floored. Confused, and angry and sad and so freaking unrealistically excited about these books! The imagery that the author shoves into my head is outstanding. I expect from a fantasy author to be swept away to another world, to see things that don't exist anywhere but the minds of whimsy and dreams. That's the amazing thing about fantasy...anything goes. NOTHING is impossible! Somehow, Ms. Houck has taken a modern love story and made it fantastical, bouncing around between the world of today and the places that could exist only in this book series. The age level is appropriate for anyone who is able to read this extensive of a series. And I don't say this to turn away my devout romance reader friends, because the story is so magical, the love so pure and passionate between Kelsey and...well, AND... that I don't notice a lack of smexy. This is the type of book that makes me rethink my former opinion of the necessity of heavy romance. The talent of this author is so vast, her characters so complex and well developed, that she doesn't need to add those pesky attention grabbing scenes, hoping to target a larger reading audience. To touch on the love triangle...I must admit I'm a lover of the trope. I like the idea of being so wonderfully irresistible to TWO men that the decision to choose between them is just impossible. I know not everyone feels this way. (Buncha crazies!) But funny enough, this is just one MORE thing that is very well done here. It's weird how the triangle is almost necessary. I already know who will be chosen...it's nearly obvious at this point. But neither guy is more deserving, neither is the better choice. It's all about gut feeling and the magic of love...the importance of following your heart without losing it. If you have this series on you mountainous "to be read" shelf like I did, I can't encourage you enough to take the plunge. First book has some world building, but was still a four star read for me. This book, however, deserves the elusive, nonexistent sixth star. I feel comfortable saying that I like this book better than Mortal Instruments, better than Twilight, better than the many, many adult series that I've read. If I'm this excited now, on book two, I can't even imagine how I'm going to feel reading the next three books.