Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publishing Information: July 3, 2012 by Harper Collin’s Childrens
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Retellings
Series information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 292 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, Peter Pan and fairy tales
“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case…”
I have never been a huge fan of Peter Pan. I like the premise and sure, Hook is one of my favorite movies of all time but there were always pieces missing for me in the story. A few weeks ago I even listed Peter Pan as one of the characters I’d like to switch places with so that I could learn more about what’s going on inside his head. This might be why Tiger Lily called to me, though it also might be the fact that I never could stand Wendy and really longed to hear more about Peter before she came in and babied him. Thankfully, Tiger Lily was exactly what I needed in regards to Pan’s story. I have actually been struggling with this review because I found the book to be so brilliant that I haven’t been able to put into words how wonderful it truly is.
First, the characters: Tiger Lily is told not from her point of view, but from Tinker Bell’s. Tink (so named by Peter) does not belong to Peter; she is actually enamored by Tiger Lily and has watched Tiger Lily grow since she was just a baby. As Tiger Lily and Tink spend time with Peter, Tink does develop love for him as well but ultimately her loyalty lies with Tiger Lily and she does all she can to keep her safe from harm. One lovely thing about Tink is that as a faerie, she is able to “hear” people’s feelings. She can read their minds to some extent but more specifically she is able to hear their hearts and therefore understand their true feelings for situations. Tink describes this, “As a faerie, you can hear when something tugs at someone. It’s much like the sound of a low, deep note on a violin string.”
Tiger Lily is strong, daring and at times, heartless. The village shaman, Tik Tok, found her abandoned under a flower from which she gets her name. Tiger Lily is different from all members of the village. When the village girls scream and run from something they deem dangerous, Tiger Lily grabs her hatchet and runs toward the danger. She is quiet and contemplative and does not give herself completely to anyone, until she meets Peter.
Peter is a complicated character. He is brave on the exterior yet cries at night from his utter fear of the pirates and letting the lost boys down. He falls in love easily and acts before thinking in many circumstances. It is his openness, courage and devotion that Tiger Lily falls in love with.
The secondary characters were also written wonderfully. Tik Tok was rather unique as Jodi Lynn Anderson wrote him in a way that blurs the lines we are used to seeing. Tik Tok is a man, who dresses and acts like a woman. He is completely devoted to his craft and loves Tiger Lily as if she was his real daughter. Aunt Fire and her son, Giant were both grotesque characters and were written in a way that really made me loathe them as much as Tiger Lily did. Both Pine Sap and Moon Eye were lovely contrasts to Tiger Lily and I appreciated the way that they represented her connection to her village and a sort of grounding as she was falling for Peter more and more. To be honest, I sort of had a serious crush on Pine Sap from the beginning. He was the character who understood Tiger Lily like no one else, the perfect best friend.
Though the pirates played a significant part in the plot they weren’t really “on stage” that much but it was interesting to see Captain Hook portrayed as an aging drunkard and Smee as a rather sinister murderer. Like the pirates, Wendy of course had a strong impact on the conclusion of the story. However, she was not a major character throughout the novel and I am glad of it. I did not love her, but I don’t believe we were meant to. She was childish and silly and was a wonderful presentation of everything Tiger Lily was lacking in her character. The duality was as vivid as day and night.
“Watch that boy,” she said. “You’re stronger in many ways, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take you apart.”
The Setting: Gorgeous and vivid, Jodi Lynn Anderson portrayed that forest as lush as I had imagined. The “cave” in which the lost boys lived was dank and was so described that I really felt as if I could smell the earth surrounding them. I found myself cringing away from the lagoon in my mind, wary of the carnivorous mermaids and longing to stand with Tiger Lily and Peter at the top of the mountain, looking out at the wild horses. There was one scene that really stuck out for me, in which Peter had the lost boys bring out their bedding and light the trees with candles. He told Tiger Lily they were sleeping in the trees because he thought she would enjoy it and I felt myself become giddy with excitement. Imagine how gorgeous it must have been and how amazing it would have felt to sleep in the trees by candlelight. Gorgeous all around.
The Story: Honestly I still don’t know how to write this. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I loved how the author looked at different forms of jealousy through different characters and she showed each characters vast strengths and weaknesses. As a reader, it made me invest even deeper into the story. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal.
The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.
“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”