So you know how whenever you hear words “a touching story for all ages” you expect to get a cavity from the saccharine nature of whatever was being described? Disney movies, kids books, cartoons – you know what I’m talking about.
Ok, now take that association and set it aside – get rid of all those sugary connotations and just take my words at their most literal value: Tigerheart is a story for all ages. I mean it. If I ever (heaven help me) spawn kids of my own, I’ll read this book to them when they’re 5. I’ll have them read it themselves when they’re 10. I’ll sneak it into their Stack when they’re teenagers and hope they’ll appreciate it enough to seek it out on their own when they’re 20 and 40 and 80. I absolutely think Tigerheart has something to offer a person of any age or gender – and it’s the first book I’ve read in ages that I’d be happy to curl up with and read through again and again.
Tigerheart is a variation on a Peter Pan story – it follows the adventures of Paul Dear, who undertakes a quest that leads him to the magical world of “Anyplace.” There he meets The Boy (who everyone says Paul might resemble just a bit) and becomes embroiled in a struggle involving Pirates, Indians, wild animals, and even witches. There’s bravery and cowardice, ingenuity and pride, the best of people and the worst of people. The story is fast paced and entertaining, and really covers the whole gamut of emotions.
The thing that shines the most about Tigerheart, however, is the narrative tone. If you’ve read any other Peter David (Sir Apropos of Nothing, or one of his many many comic book issues) you’ll know that he has an excellent, side-ways wit – sly, wry, and very self-aware. He brings this tone to bear throughout the telling of the Tigerheart story, which really puts the “all ages” shine on what might otherwise just be a really rollicking children’s tale. Add a bit of Victorian flare to the sentence structures, and you’ve got text that’s a hell of a lot of fun to read.
I started this review with every intention of launching into a rant about YA fantasy and how books like Togerheart make the term obsolete – but I find myself in such a good mood after reliving the book itself that I think I’ll refrain from said negativity. Go get this book and consume it – reading it won’t take but an afternoon. Tigerheart absolutely makes my “Top 5” list of this year.