Secondarily, her heart is burning for revenge against the Desert Boys, who she believes murdered her mother and baby brother. The Desert Boys are a mysterious group who live in the desert and fight off soldiers to steal water from the ever dwindling water supply. The king continues to tighten restrictions on water, rationing it to very low levels for the townspeople, and restricting the number of children a family can have to two, to also promote conservation of water. As the value of sons is very high- signifying virility and strength of the father, this limit leads to unfair practices and sometimes the death of women who bear daughters. Kateri knows her father would have rather had a son, and he can be cruel in his lack of care for her- until she wins the fights easily, but any sign of weakness can bring his anger.
However, when her father announces that the last challenger will be a viciously cruel man who also was responsible for her training and so will likely beat her, Kateri knows she needs to find someone new to train her- and who better than the Desert Boy who bested her in the past? Her journey will be both physical and emotional as she comes to see her life and that of others through new eyes.
What I loved: Lush, beautifully crafted, and lyrically written, the world of Achra and the desert is built wonderfully. This story pulls the reader in right from the start. Kateri shows a lot of character growth throughout the story, and I loved watching the way she changes and finds herself. She is a fantastic lead, and readers see the world through her first person point-of-view. The whole plot is completely engrossing and will certainly have broad appeal. I also loved the twisting takes on the short story that really make this unique. The romance is just the cherry on the sundae that is this delicious read.
Final verdict: TIGER QUEEN is a gorgeous, lush YA fiction that will hold a lot of appeal for fans of THE REMNANT CHRONICLES, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, and THE WINNER'S CURSE. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a beautifully crafted stand-alone book.