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4.4 out of 5 stars
Tigerheart
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Peter David's dazzling imagination shines again in this timeless story of a boy, Paul Dear, who wants to make his mother happy after tragedy strikes. Paul's journey to solve this dilemma leads him to the Anyplace, a fantasy realm inhabited by many colorful characters including The Boy, the pixie-with-a-potty-mouth Fiddlefix, Gwenny, the Indian Princess Picca, and a wise snow tiger. The bad guys, Captain Hack & his sister Mary Slash, and their merry band of pirates, are also interesting and scary adversaries for our hero. As Paul and his allies fight Hack, Slash and the Bully Boys, their struggle leads them to several surprising discoveries, The Boy facing his worst fears and the transformation of Paul over the course of this journey into a hero.

David creates a world captured perfectly through the eyes of a child: the naïveté of Paul, the arrogance of The Boy, the overly-responsible Gwenny, the distrust of all adults and the fears of growing up and losing your imagination all infuse the story with a sense of wonder and magic of the Anyplace while still making you scared of the bad guys, curious as to what will happen next. The characters are deep and richly created, with their emotions and motivations grounding the story while allowing them to drive the story forward without it feeling forced. The decisions the characters make are true to themselves and you feel for them when they are in danger, making a funny remark or feel touched by their perceptions of the world they live in. It mixes all of these elements well, along with a witty narrator breaking the fourth wall, talking to the reader and making you laugh out loud in between filling the reader in on what's happening.

David has a wonderful knack of writing humorous material and incorporating it into the story. I particularly enjoyed little asides, like how the origins of the eensy weensy spider, liars whose pants are on fire and chickens who absolutely, positively, must cross the road, all come from the Anyplace. The Boy's opinion that people don't know what they want because children want to grow up into adults while adults just want to recapture their youth was also funny, yet rings true for many people. It also represents the core philosophy of The Boy and his inner motivations. Gwenny contemplating being a social worker when she grows up was too perfect for words and a great character beat for her as well.

While many of these characters and situations appear to be analogous to certain aspects of "Peter Pan", the classic upon which this tale is based, the novel stands on its own as a wonderful work in its own right. As someone who hasn't read "Peter Pan" but is familiar with the characters and the animated Disney movie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, as it is engaging and original. David excels at taking something familiar and uses it as the foundation to create something new and different, effortlessly moving the story in unexpected directions into an exciting, touching and fitting climax.

At its heart, amidst all the adventure of pirates and flying children, is a boy who just wants to make his mother happy and to have a complete & happy family, a story I think we all can relate to. This is a tale for all ages to read and enjoy, whether you are reading it to your children curled up in your lap or by yourself under a nightlight, conjuring up images of distant and magical lands as you explore a world made of dreams.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tigerheart is NOT another rendition of the Peter Pan story as "The Boy" is not the main character. Paul Dear is the star of this tale! Paul is an imaginative young boy encouraged to believe the impossible by his fun-loving, whimsical father and yet grounded by his no-nonsense mother.

When his baby sister dies and his parents marriage is dissolving under the stress, he decides that he, Paul, must do something to save his family and make everything right again. So Paul travels to "The Anyplace" to find another baby sister for his mother to love and make everyone happy again. Of course things don't exactly go as Paul plans and that is where the adventure comes in-with a white tiger, wild Indians, wicked pirates, and of course "The Boy."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tigerheart and have started reading it again with my 10-year--old son who is also enthralled by the imaginative tale. This is a marvelous book to read with your children. Author David narrates Paul's tale with a lot of humorous and enlightening asides to make sure the reader gets all the details straight. The story is filled with charm and wit as well as suspense and adventure.

This is truly a story for all ages. The adult reader will have no trouble understanding the underlying messages and humor while the children are wrapped up in the trials and tribulations that Paul is experiencing on his quest to find a little sister in "The Anyplace."

There are some new and entertaining characters in Paul's tale. "The Boy" had gotten rid of Captain Hack in the old stories, but not his vengeful sister, Captain Slash. And I particularly liked the white tiger, which is only associated with Paul.

Go ahead, grab a comfortable seat, gather your family, and enjoy spending time together reading this book!

Armchair Interviews says: Another excellent book for middle reader/young adult.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Paul grew up with stories of pirates, fairies, and The Boy (aka, Peter Pan), but when he began to realize that perhaps, just maybe he was in fact, The Boy, his world changed. Pixies began to visit him and he started regularly visiting the land where Pan ruled. Yet, things are not what J.M. Barrie, much less Disney, made it out to be. He finds a world darker than his dreams, where he needs courage, and he finds he is not sure he wants to be The Boy.

**** If I had to pick only one word, I'd review this with the word unusual. Mr. David mirrors the linguistic style of Barrie and of Frank Baum, both writing intelligently and keeping it simple enough for young readers to comprehend at least the superficial meanings. Though there are parts that are unclear, this seems to be the author's intention, so I will not quibble. There is a psychological profundity like unto Alice or to the classic movie, Labyrinth, which may be explored or not, but you can enjoy the story without pondering it. ****
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
There is nothing better than a weekend with lots of reading time, especially when the books you spend your time reading turn out to be terrific. I don't give out 5 stars to books very often. I've read 54 books this year, and Tigerheart by Peter David is the 5th book I consider a 5-star read. It is based on Barrie's Peter Pan, but it's not a sequel or a prequel - more of Peter Pan in an alternate universe. A re-telling of the story. David was gutsy to take on one of the most beloved children's stories of all time - it could have failed in a big, big way. Fotunately for him, it works, and works brilliantly.

This book is everything you could possibly want in a novel: adventure, magic, love, danger, truth, tragedy, and triumph. The best thing is that this is a children's novel in the same way that the Harry Potter books are "children's books." By which I mean that anyone who loves a good story will appreciate this book.

Tigerheart is the story of Paul Dear. Paul's father has regaled him with stories about The Boy and his magical land, Anyplace, where The Boy fights pirates and saves Indian princesses and has a pixie for a sidekick. When Paul's new baby sister dies, his mother changes, and Paul is determined to find a new baby sister for her - in Anyplace. His adventures with The Boy, Fiddlefix, Gwenny, the White Tiger, and the Vagabonds demand more of him than he ever imagined, and make more of him than he ever thought he could be.

After reading the first chapter, I knew I wanted to read this aloud to the kids, but I needed to read it quickly so I could comment on the book's forum for Del Rey Books. I will definitely be coming back to it in the next few months so that I can share it with the kids. The author's style is not as much narrator as it is storyteller, complete with asides and advice to the readers. This is all done delightfully tongue-in-cheek, and makes for many laugh-out-loud moments.

I hope that this won't be Peter David's only adventure in Anyplace.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While reading Tigerheart I experienced many things. I saw the world through reasonable but incorrect explanations that made more sense than anything in the real world. I dealt with the psychiatric implications of "The Boy" to a child. I also nearly curled into a fetal position when misfortune struck Paul's family. That was all in the first 100 pages.

I was reasonably interested in the plot summery of the book and found I liked what I read inside much more. I can't explain it without giving too much away, but it's one of the most depressingly noble quest I've read in a book. Tigerheart is a beautiful blend of both the good and evil that exists in Paul's world, a character who is surprisingly reasonable for his age, sympathetic, and just plain likable.

I give it a 4 out of 5, only because it switches moods so frequently that there is no safe stopping point. Any interruptions were completely unbearable, I just wanted to be rid of my world until I was finished with Paul's world. Though a welcome change from many books I've read lately, the level of addiction I experienced was probably a bit unhealthy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm a barrie junkie as well as anything related to Peter and Neverland. About five years ago I stumbled upon this book and forgot the name and ever since I've attempted to find the book. Once it arrived in the mail I devoured the book within days being delighted by the pages and the story.
Well written and playful! I recommend to any lover of Peter Pan!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Paul Dear is a sweet boy whose family is a perfect portrait of happiness. But that picture is broken with the disappearance of his baby sister. Through the ambiguous suggestion of the narration, one can guess that she was fatally ill. Overwhelmed with anguish, Paul's mother began to neglect his needs. And with increasing tension between the Dear's spouses, his father also moves out of their house. In solitude, Paul seeks comfort from the animals and from his dream. Yes, he is a special child who can speak the language of animals and go on adventures within the boundary of dreams. If that is all the story offers, isn't it just another Where the wild things are kind of book. But that is not the case. Paul's devotion to his mother urges him to take on the quest of finding another newborn baby to replace the one they have lost. And where else is a better place to look for a child than the Neverland, or the Anyplace as it's called in this particular book?

Tigerheart reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth; it's a story about children, if not necessarily for children. It leads readers to a world full of vibrant, never-ending adventures with insidious fairies, talking animals, valiant native tribes, salvage pirates, and not to mention, The Boy that never grows up. Yet at times, that world is so grim and violent. More often I found myself overwhelmed with melancholy or at loss at the cruel realism the story displays. "Oh gosh, no child should go through such heart-breaking or horrible experience" is what I kept thinking. Therefore, despite that many critics have praised Tigerheart as "the book for all ages", I am still uncertain whether it makes a suitable bedtime story for children under 10.

That is not to say Tigerheart is a bad book, more likely the opposite. It's one of the most creative retellings of the ever-loved Peter Pan. Although in the book, Paul is the hero, Peter Pan is the second lead. Unlike the children travelling to the Anyplace to avoid adulthood, Paul's adventure is mature and selfless as his ultimate goal is to make his mother happy once again. Tigerheart flows effortlessly with creative narration and witty comments, lending subtle wisdom to the story without being preachy.

I came to the book with an expectation for a conventional children lit. You know, the type of books with carefree escapades and triumphs awaiting the heroes at the end. And this fixative belief is what constantly shook me up. Tigerheart is nothing as such. As I've mentioned above, there is more than a grain of realistic symbolism in the story. Paul's quest is not always joyful; it's plagued with regret and somewhat violent death of both friends and foes. It turns out that David Peter is an avid comic writer, now that explains a lot about the warfare-and-violence feeling I've been sensing throughout the book. However, at its very core, Tigerheart is a beautiful story about both the pain and the joy of growing up, and yet know that your day of adventure will never stop just because you're an adult. It's a heartbreaking yet profound sentiment I can relate to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A delightful journey into an alternative Neverland with all the humor and adventure you'd expect from a Peter David novel. An absolute joy to read... I highly recommend it to anybody wanting a great story, whether they're young or young at heart!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This retelling of the Peter Pan story is simultaneously entertaining and thought provoking. The vocabulary is clearly that of a very well educated person and will be a bit challenging for younger readers - but that's a good thing. I especially enjoyed the point of view from which the story is told with the narrator's insightful musings along the way. I highly recommend this book to parents who want something interesting to read to their kids. It's also good for a plane trip when you're stuck in a middle seat between two fat people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The original Barrie tale of a boy who would never grow up is charming and has appeared onscreen in a variety of incarnations. Peter Pan, Pan, Finding Neverland, and now Tigerheart joins the creative interpretations of the simplistic/moralistic tale.

Peter David possesses an amazing ability to write at a variety of levels. His comic book work is outstanding as are his adaptations and more adult oriented original work. Like any 'true' writer, he can morph his style into licensed and inspired properties. 'Tigerhear' is no exception, and it showcases the brilliance of a man who will someday win a Pulitzer.

'Tigerheart' is not just about Peter Pan, but it is inspired by the grand themes of the classic novel. Paul Dear wants to make his family whole again and travels to 'Anyplace' where he encounters pirates, 'the Boy', Fiddlefix, Gwenny, an Indian Princess, and Captain Hack and his sister Mary. At times resembling a Disney production, and at times a serious treastise on psychosis and fears, his novel brims with themes aimed at readers of all ages. Mathematically speaking, his is a 'manifold' work.

It is charming, yet thought provoking. It is adventurous, and still grounded enough to appeal to all ages. Invoking the spirit of Frank L Baum and J M Barrie, adds to a book that is truly a book for our time.

Read it to your kids. Read it yourself. Add it to your Peter Pan Collection. You will feel like a child once more.

[...]
Tim Lasiuta
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