Title: Tiger Queen
Author: Annie Sullivan
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 10th, 2019 (Blink)
Synopsis: In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an old law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena against twelve suitors to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, losing is not an option because in order to fulfil her promise to her late mother, she must win to keep her crown and lead her people. The situation outside the palace is uneasy. The harsh desert is unforgiving, water is scarce, and Kateri’s people are thirsty. To make matters worse, the gang of thieving Desert Boys, the same group that killed Kateri’s mother and her new baby, frequently raids the city wells and steals water, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is the choice between two doors. Behind one door lies freedom and behind the other is a tiger.
The people of Achra are growing restless and distrustful of the monarchy, and when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In her desperation, Kateri turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. Her future now, too, is behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which will release the tiger.
Thank you to the publisher, Blink, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As per an ancient law, Kateri, Princess of the desert kingdom of Achra must triumph over twelve suitors in the arena to prove her right and suitability to rule. But the situation in the city is far more troublesome. The King has decreased water rations again due to the continuing drought and the people are not happy. What’s more, a group of thieves known as the Desert Boys frequently raid the wells and deplete the already low reserves of water. Kateri has now defeated eleven suitors, but the twelfth she knows she cannot beat – unless she has some outside help. And so she finds herself turning to the last person she ever thought she’d ask, the leader of the Desert Boys himself.
Tiger Queen has been on my TBR only since the beginning of the summer when I heard about it at BookCon and met the author. While I didn’t manage to get an ARC there, the concept of the story was really intriguing and I requested the eARC as soon as I saw it. I had never heard of the story The Lady or the Tiger, so I did some research (look it up, it’s quite interesting!) before reading this book, and was excited to see how the author would choose for Tiger Queen. Kateri is an incredibly strong willed and determined character, and I really liked how despite all the troubles she faces, she never once thinks to turn away from her path and is willing to do anything to fulfill the promise she made to her mother. Her character arc, from the naive princess who rarely questions the world around her, fighting to keep her promise, to having her eyes opened to the troubles of her people and is determined to make things right no matter what, is very well portrayed.
The harshness of desert life is beautifully portrayed, and the struggles the people of Achra face in these conditions are vividly described throughout the book. I really started to connect with the characters only after Kateri joins the Desert Boys, as they show her how to loosen up a little and enjoy life despite all the hardships they face. Cion, while an amazing character, could have used a little more development, or perhaps a POV, as I felt we didn’t really get to know him as well as Kateri.
Tiger Queen is a simple and straightforward story, which is really needed sometimes, and while at times, a little predictable, it was an easy and interesting read. The author does a great job at bringing this desert kingdom to life, beautifully building up both the world and the characters in the short span of time a standalone novel provides. This is perfect for fantasy lovers and I would definitely recommend it!
Tiger Queen releases on September 10th, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!