Tag Archives: animal

Melvin Burgess: Tiger Tiger

While reading The Hunter’s Moon I decided that I wanted to read four books before they might be swapped at the Book Hotel this weekend. The first of them was Tiger Tiger, which subsequently also became the „book in a genre I don’t usually read“ in BiblioSmile’s Summer Book Challenge and thus the first one I finished (and now reviewed).

What is it about?

2 of 5 stars

Steve is fascinated by the tigers in the nearby tiger-park, he especially has taken a shine on the tigress Lila that hunts quite differently from her conspecifics. One night a group of people break into the park and cause a massacrer amongst the endangered species. A few tigers manage to flee thanks to Lila’s abilities, but not even Steve suspects anything when the young girl with the amber eyes appears in his home.

The reading experience

As the book is not even 200 pages long did it only take me a couple of bus rides to finish it. The chapter structure is quite unusual as the different narration strands switch within the chapter so that one part can be what Steve experiences, the next the hunters and the last one being the tigers.
And yes there were parts that depicted the doings and some of the thoughts of the tigers, which was in a way pretty cool, but also quite strange as the thought-process was described in a different writing style as the one for humans. Of course animals think differently, but it felt like a break of style whenever Burgess wrote from the tigers perspective.

The characters

I can’t remember ever reading how old Steve is, but my guess would be that he is between 14-16 (still in school but already attracted to girls). He has a strange obsession with the tigers – especially Lila – which makes him an unintentional ally of the fled big cats. In a way is he quite simple minded and that’s what makes reading about him quite difficult for me as I prefer character with a certain spark to them.
Lila on the other hand had at least the abilities aspect with her. Quite soon it was clear that she isn’t a normal tiger, the term „magical“ was even mentioned a couple of times, which was fitting for what she was able to do. Still, she was still an animal that thought in an animal-way and as I wrote before was it hard to fully grasp her thought-process. I don’t think writing this was easy either, therefore this is an interesting choice for the narrative. The other tigers were mostly mentioned through Lila’s eyes, so we didn’t really get any inside look into them. Still, the magical tiger wasn’t that much tiger-like, but that comes with the abilities I suppose.
The description of the girl was sometimes quite weird and mostly manoeuvred between utterly ridiculous and what-the-****.  Especially the where-did-her-clothes-go? part was quite confusing…
The hunters and remaining humans were all only briefly mentioned and described, usually when their plot line was about to connect with the one from Steve or Lila, but manly the latter one. Their – and everyone’s except Steve’s beside wanting to help the tigers – motives were pretty much obvious: They wanted money, so they killed and collected the tigers – at least they tried to do that.  Nothing too special about it.
In short: There wasn’t really a character I connected with. I pitied a few (the park director, the dead tigers) and shook my head at others (the hunters, Steve, Lila), but nothing that made them special.

General Opinion

There are three things that bug me the most about this story:
#1: The term „magical“ tiger is used so often, but it is nether explained what it even means. How can such a tiger exist? How does it come into being? What else can she do? Would her powers be passed on to others (offspring, human)? I would have liked a little more insight on that, but instead I had to just accept the fact that she is a magical tiger, whose abilities include being able to let clothes vanish…
#2: The ending is pretty open. We don’t know what will happen to the tiger park, to the remaining tigers and so forth. As it is not a continued story this is something I consider to be quite annoying – though open ends in a series can be worse…
#3: I know Lila wants to preserve her race, but was THAT (I don’t want to spoiler it, but if you read it I am pretty sure you will know what I mean) really necessary for doing so? And was it necessary to describe it in young adult fiction? That is really something I do not want to read in a book like that, even if I’m way beyond the target audience.
Other than that was it an ok read. Nothing special, but still interesting enough to continue.

Stuff I’d like to add

For some odd reason I really don’t have to add anything this time…hmm…strange…
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.

On the Road: Roadkill

On a regular basis I have to drive from one place to another, having a lot of time to think about things. This will be the start of a series of posts regarding them. (They will be added randomly.)
Two weeks ago when I was on my way to my flat from my parents place I did the unthinkable.
I killed a bunny.
By accident.
With my car. With my father’s car…
I did not mean doing so…
As nowadays society works I had to post it to the social networks, of course with opposing results, an example:

A: Great….now I’ve killed a bunny…:(
I didn’t mean to! XD
Sa: NOOO! He certainly was on his way to the Weißhirschpark* 🙁
Ri: öy poor Hopalong 🙁
A: I think he thought himself to be a car…sat in the middle of the road, facing straight ahead and then he dodged in the direction of the wheel…
Sa: fail bunny^^
A: I think it’s not enough left for that…
Ro: it would have certainly still worked as ragout 🙂
A: Roadkill-Ragout? Doesn’t sound tasty…
Ro: but the term is good
K:  Don’t you only have to pick out the stonies and asphalt crumbs…?! 😀
A: Naaah, I think it would taste too much like gum…
K: Then it is, selling it as patent remedy to Haribo**!!! 😀
Ro: with a scattered shot you have to pick out every bullet as well
A: This is getting more and more tastier here XD
Scraped*** shot is something different then wheel shaped…-.-…
Se: Do you already have enough for a Roadkill-Quartett?
A: The half…bird and bunny…the rest hopefully doesn’t add too soon…and stays in this dimension…
* Weißhirschpark is the German name for „White Deer Park“, the place the animals from the old cartoon series The Animals of Farthing Wood wandered off to.
** Haribo is the most famous producer of gummy bears here in Germany.
*** In German the words for scrap (Schrott) and scattered gun shot (Schrotschuss) are pretty similar, only differing in the number of „T’s“

Morbid isn’t it?
But as said: I do not wish to repeat it.
Especially not with a deer, boar or any other car damaging animal.
The bureaucracy surrounding it is just to troublesome…
Have you ever heard of how this stuff is handled around here?
Let me tell you…
If you come into the bad situation that you have hit an animal, let’s say: deer, you have to do as follows:
After overcoming your initial shock you will have to stop your car, turning on your warning lights. The next thing you do is calling the police, somewhat like this:

„My names Jane/John Doe. I’m on the road to Nowhere and I just hit a deer. It’s probably dead.“
„Stay calm we will be sending someone as soon as possible.“

All you have to do now is set up a triangular warning sign 100m behind you and waiting for the police and an forest official to arrive – which could take from 10 minutes to some hours. Those two parties have to make a report regarding the accident. Taking in the condition of the car, removing the deer from the street, etc.. With this report you then can go to your car insurance and try to get the repair company to do their job and the money for paying them and so forth.
So let’s just hope to not be involved in an accident like that…
I could tell you more about starlings and engine hoods, sheep and trains or deer acrobatics, but that would get morbid again…
As negative as this might sound don’t get me wrong: I do like animals.
But their suicidal tendencies are most unwelcome.


Most fascinating creatures.
Just this morning I watched one trying to swallow a stick shaped thing.
It looked rather funny.
The animal alternatively tried lifting it’s head to gulp it down and bowing it’s head to grab the food with it’s claw.
Unfortunately it seemed to be a size where neither worked.
Bad thing if you can’t bite off something.
One would need teeth for that.
Which crows obviously don’t have.
Poor things.
Beside the lack of gnawing tools they manage well to live in those busy cities of ours.
They find their food on the street or in the trashcans.
They made it into the civilization and are a common sight.
Just like a lot of other animals like foxes, boars, seagulls and so forth.
Speaking of seagulls.
Like crows they tend to live in swarms.
Every now and then you have masses of either around you.
Reminding you of one of the oldest Horror movies.
Alfred Hitchcock’s „The birds“ from 1963.
It’s a classic.
A movie that in it’s time and still now scares a lot of people.
Using one of the utmost fears of humankind.
The fear of animals, birds in this case, who gather in groups, swarms, and then randomly attack and kill (innocent?) people.
There was no CGI to display this.
There were only birds and people.
Though, you could obviously see that they used puppets – even more so in the awful color version.
Yet I think it’s one of the most interesting and well remembered movies – at least the „fear“ for bird swarms.
If you haven’t seen it yet.
Just give it a try.
And please: The black and white version!
It just has a way better atmosphere…(and isn’t as ridiculous as the other.)
But back to the crows.
They are used in a lot of Horror movies as they symbolize death or are even a sign for it.
Either as scavenger who will devour the dead or as a bad omen that someone will die in the near future – so this is even worse with owls, but that’s another topic.
No surprise there was a whole movie/comic series called „The Crow“ where they are used as guides from the underworld or something like that.
To my regret I have to admit that I haven’t had the chance to see any of the movies yet. I only heard or read about them and the accident involving Brandon Lee.
Doesn’t it make it an even more authentic Horror movie if the main actor dies during the shooting? 😉
Just kidding.
Aside from movies crows also have a huge folkloric background.
There are for example the Karasu-Tengu from the Japanese myths, who have somewhat humanoid bodies or can even change between animal and human form (differing from source).
And of course Hugin and Munin the Nordic god Odin’s…wait…ravens!
See? I just made a common mistake.
Mixing up those two species.
Though they belong to the same family the terms that are used describe different being.
Crows are the small „Corvidae“ – as the family is called – while the ravens are significantly larger, who also are even more clever then them.
During my childhood there was a common raven (which  is an awful translation for their German name „Kolkrabe“ or the Latin „Corvus Corax“ – which by the way is a pretty interesting German medieval band) in a near zoo, who was able to say it’s own name.
Much like a parrot would do.
Fascinating right?
Why not explore it some more?
Have fun with that. 😉