Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Tigerheart by Peter David

Young Paul Dear stared at his reflection one evening for a very long time. When his reflection began talking back to him, Paul began to think that perhaps he himself was actually The Boy of Legend. [1st paragraph]

Tigerheart by Peter David
Del Rey Books, 2008
Fantasy (YA); 304 pgs

One of the houses my family lived in while I was growing up had a living room (as opposed to the family room) that was free of furniture except for a chair and several bookcases. It served as a playroom for my brother and I. I would often set up cities and neighborhoods for my paper dolls and barbies or my brother's cars (which I loved to play with too). Other times my brother and I would build our own boats and pretend the red carpet was the raging sea. We went on adventure after adventure.

And so it was with those memories in mind that I entered the Anyplace, a world where imagination and belief in a bit of magic are more than just pretend play. When I first heard about Peter David's Tigerheart a couple of years ago, I was excited about reading it. Somehow though I never managed to get to it. Until now. I confess my enthusiasm had waned some and upon reading the synopsis on the back cover, I wasn't sure I was really interested in reading it anymore. The story itself sounded interesting, but the idea of reading a book that is sort of a spin off of another (the author refers to it as a pastiche), more famous story was off putting. Still, I figured I'd at least give it a try and see how far I could get.

I was pulled in from the very first and never looked back from there. This is one of those books that is aimed for all ages. As I read, I could see myself sharing the story with my daughter while at the same time, the novel is written in such a way that appealed to me as an adult as well.

I doubt there are many people out there who have not heard of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. His story is legendary. Peter Pan is the boy who never grew up. His adventures with Wendy and her brothers are known all over the world. I have never read Barrie's book although I have seen various versions of the story in movie form. Author Peter David's love for the story of Peter Pan began in his childhood and extended into his adulthood. He loved J.M. Barrie's story and decided to continue it in his own way, while at the same time paying homage to the original.

Although the familiar famous names are different in Tigerheart, there is no doubting which character represents the original ones. Captain Hook has become Captain Hack; Gweeny used to be Wendy; Tinkerbell is now Fiddlefix; and Peter Pan has become simply The Boy. The hero of the novel, however, and who the story really is about is Paul Dear.

Paul grew up on stories about the Anyplace and The Boy. His father encouraged him to believe while his mother would rather he grow up and forget all that nonsense. Everything in Paul's experience tells him the stories are true--for he has seen The Boy with his very own eyes. He has spent time with the pixies. When tragedy strikes his family, his world is turned upside down. His mother is severely unhappy and Paul is determined to do what he can to make her happy again. With the help of the pixie Fiddlefix, Paul flies off to the Anyplace one night, much to the chagrin of his mother.

What follows is an assortment of quests and adventures. There are pirates and sirens, a great white tiger, the Piccas, the Bully Boys, shadows, and, of course, The Boy. It a wonderfully fun story, full of humor and hijinks. The novel also has its serious side, however, centering around the themes of growing up and of loss, among other things.

In many respects I thought of Paul and The Boy as being two sides of one coin, both so much alike and yet very different. They both love adventure and are brave and imaginative. The Boy and Paul have very different philosophies about growing up. Paul knows it is inevitable and accepts it, even welcomes it. The Boy, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with growing up. He wants to hold onto the magic of childhood forever. He'd been betrayed by an adult and sees adults as the cause of all the world's ills.

The adult in me raised an eyebrow at how the novel came to an end, but the child in me was quite delighted. Still, it seemed fitting for the type of tale it was. Peter David mentioned in an interview that he wrote Tigerheart using a similar voice as the one J.M. Barrie used in his story about Peter Pan, and I'd be curious to know if he succeeded. I haven't read Peter Pan, but now wish I had. It'd be interesting to read the two books back to back. Maybe one day I will.

You can learn more about Peter David and his books on the author's website.

Source: Book provided by the publisher for review.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I think he nailed the tone. I really enjoyed this one when I read it a few years back (thanks to you! :D). So glad you enjoyed it too.

  2. I had no idea that this book was even out there, but I agree that it would be really interesting to read this alongside of Peter-Pan. I loved this review. You were very in-depth about the plot and your reactions to it, and the fact that you came into it with a few reservations (that were happily dispelled) was also very interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. I have wanted to read this book for years and still haven't. I think it is partly because the library only has an audio copy and I don't do a lot of audios.

  4. I never heard of this book before but I love Barrie's Peter Pan, so I might pick it up just to see how close the style is.

  5. I'm not sure this is for me, but I'm glad it delighted the child in you.

  6. Wow, I seem to be one of the few fantasy fans here that has never even heard of this book! It sounds really great, though maybe I should read Peter Pan first... (Did you know that JM Barrie himself never "grew up"? I.e., his body never "matured." His back story is interesting. And very sad.

    On a more shallow note, I like the title and cover.

  7. Now this sounds like one that would appeal to many of my students. They love to read books like this and I will have to add it to my shelves for next year!

  8. Gorgeous cover. I adore Peter Pan so I'm going to have to check this out.

  9. I adored this book! Your review reminded me that I want to read it aloud to my boys. :)

  10. This one sounds like a good one for my boys when they are a little older.

  11. This sounds like a wonderful world to get lost in!

  12. It sounds like a very interesting story, like you I have seen the Peter Pan movies but not the read the book. I'm interested to see what I think of this one.

  13. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I had such fun reading this book. It's definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.

  14. I'd love to check this out too, Wendy. Thanks for the review!


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