Firstly, in case you can’t tell from the cheesy cover, this is a romance novel. Not just that, but it is a paranormal romance. I am putting this caveat out there because I haven’t reviewed much romance previously, and it’s kind of tricky. But, thanks to a session at Melbourne Writers Festival that featured Marjorie M Liu and Sarah Wendell of the Smart Bitches Guide to Trash website and books that I have decided to give it a go. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read my fair share of romance and I’m about to put my own novel out there for reading. But to admit this to the world? The one thing that I took away from the above mentioned panel was the idea of the romance genre as feminist. Simpering women being dominated by alpha males is just not what I see as feminist; but then, perhaps this is no longer what romance novels are all about.
Tiger Eye is the first in a series of paranormal romances from Liu. As I am a completionist, I had to start from the very beginning. Here’s the plot run down: Dela Reece is a strong woman who can take care of herself. An artist, specialising in working with metal, her secret is that she has a kind of telekinesis that allows her to read the metal. In China, she is buying from a market when an elderly woman insists she buys an ancient puzzle box. The box contains Hari, a shape shifter who is cursed to live in the box and fulfill the wishes of anyone who owns it. However, Dela cannot bear the idea of ‘owning’ another person, yet she needs Hari to help her fight against enemies who are other than human.
It is most definitely good to have a strong female character, even if it the male is still considerably stronger that her. I liked not only the characters of Dela and Hari, but many of the other characters were a lot of fun. However, I found the constant longing and wanting quite draining, and took from the story. Plus, some parts of the story rang quite untrue. For example, whilst I could believe in the supernatural powers and the ancient curse, I could not believe that after defending against a very gruesome attack, the group would go out to a jazz club. The scene in the club was good and important, but it just didn’t seem that they would do that.
I don’t think I’ll be racing off to read any more in this series, but I may take some time to check out other work by this author.