TIGER’S CURSE Lifted by Anticipation

Sterling Publishing is pretty busy launching imprints this month. In addition to the new fiction imprint Silver Oak, the house is starting a YA imprint, Splinter, with the publication of Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck. The fantasy novel is the first in a trilogy about an 18-year-old girl and the Bengal tiger she encounters while working at a circus.

USA Today mentions the book in a roundup of spring titles that booksellers are excited about, quoting Barnes and Noble’s Patricia Bostleman saying the book “has it all: paranormal, romance, fantasy, adventure, historical fiction.” It’s also been picked by MTV as one of “11 YA Novels We Can’t Wait to Read in 2011.”

But PW says “the attractive premise is let down by wooden dialogue, excessive detail, and wobbly mechanics.”

Originally self-published in 2009, Houck’s trilogy will continue with Tiger’s Quest and Tiger’s Voyage, due later in 2011, according to the publishing blog Galley Cat.

At libraries we checked, modest orders were in line with modest reserves.

Tiger’s Curse (Book 1)
Colleen Houck
Retail Price: $17.95
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Splinter – (2011-01-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1402784031 / 9781402784033

Usual Suspects:

Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer (Grand Central Publishing) will surely be helped by the December 2 debut of the author’s History Channel show, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. However, PW is lukewarm, declaring that “a fascinating look at the hidden treasures of the National Archives is the one strength of this otherwise unsatisfying thriller.”

The Sentry by Robert Crais (Putnam) elicits divided opinions: PW says “heartbreaking ironies, frustrated desires, and violent nonstop action make this a standout.” Booklist say’s “longtime fans may find this one not quite up to the authors high standards, but the demand will still be there.”

Gideon’s War by Howard Gordon (Touchstone) is a debut thriller by the executive producer of TV’s 24.  PW says this “loosely plotted thriller… lurches unpredictably from backstory to frenzied present-day action, employing a 24-hour ticking clock for suspense.”

Border Lords by T. Jefferson Parker (Dutton) gets the thumbs up from PW: “Three-time Edgar-winner Parker, long a favorite of genre cognoscenti, is making the transition to widespread mainstream popularity. His latest, to receive best-seller-type promotion, will increase the pace.” LJ is also keen on it: “Parker’s dark and gritty series takes readers beyond the drug war headlines, personalizing the toll it’s taken on our souls. Series fans will devour this sequel to Iron River.

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