Author: William Richter
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 21, 2013 (Penguin – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided finished copy
Summary: A vigilante fights for justice at any cost. Wallis Stoneman isn’t like other teenage girls. She’s beautiful, fearless, and deadly.
Wally lives alone in her Brooklyn loft. She’d be a regular teenager, except that she’s the daughter of a Russian assassin. Crime is in Wally’s blood, but she uses her legacy for good: she solves missing persons cases for the Ursula Society, an under-the-radar organization that uses oft-illegal tactics to find people the police have given up on.
The person Wally most wants to find? Tiger, her own fugitive brother. But the closer Wally gets to finding Tiger, the more dangerous her search becomes. And Klesko, Wally and Tiger’s sadistic father, is again at large. With two highly-skilled con men against them, Wally and Tiger band together to destroy a conspiracy in which they—and their hearts—are mere pawns.
☆: 4/5 stars – a great follow-up to “Dark Eyes”!
Review: While this isn’t quite the same constant tension and heart-poundingly exciting story as “Dark Eyes”, “Tiger” takes us to a quieter, softer place within the head and heart of Wally and her brother Tiger, and also sets us up with a merciless and shameless cliffhanger for book three. And while Wally is still the same badass we saw in book one, she’s also grown quite a bit, and continues to grow all throughout “Tiger”. If you’ve started your journey with “Dark Eyes”, you simply must continue with book two in the series, “Tiger”.
In this book, we get more introduced to Wally’s brother, Tiger, who we meet in the denouement of book one with the shootout at Shelter Island. While we don’t get a whole lot of character development on him (compared to Wally – though to be fair, Tiger is just joining the main cast), I’m hoping that will happen more in book three. However, Richter sets up Tiger very well – a simple character, with simple objectives but with a lot to build on. His want for a sister, a mother figure, a real life without working as a death dealer like he has for so many years alongside his father – all of this makes Tiger a very good, malleable character. Just watching his development in this book alone was incredibly fun, as were his scenes with Wally. It took awhile for him and Wally to get together, but it happened, and by that point, I was pretty much cheering in my seat.
As for Wally, she was a little more complicated this time around in terms of her development – especially with a certain (pseudo)romantic entanglement that comes up early on in the book (but I won’t spoil anything more on that point). I feel like she’s still very emotionally fragile after Shelter Island, and Richter does everything in his power to really emphasize that in everything Wally says, thinks, and does in this book throughout the entire arc. Some of her actions are definitely going to raise readers’ eyebrows (I know mine went up to my hairline at some points), but Richter does a lot of bait and switch, so that when you’re at the end of the book, everything will make sense.
However, all of this emotional development with Wally does make for some uneven pacing, which is what kind of threw me off and why I feel this book isn’t quite as strong as book one. While the non-stop tension and action that kicks in at the start of the second third of the book does make up a bit for that uneven pacing, it wasn’t quite enough. While I loved the emotional highs and lows (as well as the awesome chase scenes and fight scenes), I feel like it could have been a bit smoother and still manage to keep hearts pounding at the same time in terms of Wally’s development and how that guided her actions.
But it’s not all feels, guys. There’s a lot of violence, and fun violence, at that. There’s a ton of action, and even though it’s not quite as much as what we saw in book one, there’s still more than enough to excite thriller fans reading this series. I think you’ll find yourself standing and cheering Wally and Tiger on toward their sneaky cliffhangery end. And we see the return of two beloved friends from book one, so it’s definitely a must-read if just to see how all of this chaos comes together.
Final verdict? While not as galvanizing as book one, “Tiger” brings it hard and heavy and full of character and world development that will make any fan of book one very happy. I know it did for me. “Tiger” is out March 21, 2013 from Penguin in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance. Also look forward to an interview with the author on the blog soon!