It amazes me that an author can take a story as light hearted as Peter Pan and make it break your heart wide open, but Jodi Lynn Anderson does it with her latest Tiger Lily, a retelling that focuses on Tiger lily and her relationship with Peter Pan and it’s aftershock. Anderson gives the minor characters of this classic tale nuance and depth and made me, as a reader, care deeply about all of them.
Tiger Lily was abandoned in the wilderness as a baby. Tik Tok of the Sky-Eaters, a shaman who embodies dual genders, takes Tiger Lily home and raises her as his own. Tiger Lily is quiet and strong, not particularly feminine, stoic, I guess is the word. She feels outside of the villagers and is treated as so. When Peter enters her world, he is completely different from everyone she’s known and evokes all kinds of new feelings in her — feelings that put her in conflict with her arranged marriage.
Further, Jodi Lynn Anderson’s latest is narrated by Tinker Bell. I loved her perspective, she brings the fascinating view of someone utterly outside of the events she’s describing, but at the same time, deeply involved in those events. And this is morbid and weird, but I liked reading about Tink’s inability to fix or change the situation, even though she knew terrible things and the outcome they would bring. She is a biased voice with her love for Peter Pan and Tiger Lily, her complex, complicated feelings evident in every word, and I LOVE THIS.
I want to also mention the minor characters. Pine Sap is Tiger Lily’s best friend in the Sky-Eater tribe and is another person who is an outsider. Pine Sap is my favorite because even though he is not physically strong and doesn’t particularly look masculine, he’s on Tiger Lily’s side in all the ways that matter. Then there is also Moon Eye, who is a very minor but key character. Everyone thinks she is breakable, yet she surprised even me. Just, keep an eye out for her character.
If anything, I think Jodi Lynn Anderson has mastered mood. Tiger Lily is a book permeated by a melancholy mood. Each word, each sentence feels so heave and makes my heart want to bottom out after reading. I strangely like reading books where I know it can’t end well. I like being compelled to care about characters despite the odds. Seriously, Tiger Lily has an air of ‘Oh no. Oh, no. NOOOOOO!’ and it is wonderful.Yet it will also surprise you in a heartbreaking and more importantly, heart mending way, too.
I know I could go on and on about all the little pieces that make Tiger Lily great – from the carefully crafted writing to the depth of raw emotions on each page to characters I wanted to reach in and hug or shake. Yet, all of this is best experienced and discovered on your own. If you read Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and feel as I did, feel free to tweet me and we will hash our feelings out.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other reviews of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson:
Paranormal Indulgence – “Clogs the passage to the heart that connects to your tear ducts”
Literary Exploration – “This book broke my heart.”