Review: Tiger Burning Bright


I feel like an idiot. I realized the other week, I haven’t reviewed this one!! So I have to do this: Tiger Burning Bright by three of the most amazing women authors ever Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Mercedes Lackey.

I first picked up this book from my local library when I was in middle school. I can still remember where it belonged on the shelf. I knew this because I think I checked it out of the library 10 tens times in the next three years or so. Then I stopped. Then I went to college. Years passed.

I never forgot this book. One day, when I had a little money in my pocket I went looking for it again. It took me a minute, but I found it. And I bought it.

Why do I love this book? Well, there is definitely some sentimental attachment for sure. I remember loving this book, and when I read it, I return to that place of pure, simple child-like happiness that can only be captured in nostalgia. But as I re-read this book with the plan to review it. No, this is just a damn good book too.

This book is also one of the last Andre Norton worked on. According to Wikipedia only 2 came out after this and one of them was published almost a month after she passed away (so I am sure it was all done when she passed, but still!). The fact this book – at the pinnacle of her career – is so rarely known makes me sad.

The book is both straightforward and not. The bad guys are generally bad, the good guys are generally good people. But there are some fun grey spaces and twists which really add a depth and layer to the book and the characters. No one is perfectly evil or perfectly good. They may make choices which are good and evil, but it is not necessarily pure nature – there is choice. It changes the dynamic,

There is magic, but it isn’t big flashy spells (usually) or waving hands. It takes time, effort, and will to use magic and as the reader you really feel the depth of the strain the magic requires. It is woven into the world without taking over the world, which I really love. I think for a book published in the mid-90s this was even more rare. This is the height of high-fantasy worlds like Wheel of Time, Pern, and Valdemar books which all have so much magic (generally speaking).

The plot is straightforward, a port-town is being threatened by a conquering empire. The queen, her daughter and her grand-daughter all must use their wits to outsmart the might of the empire – ending it’s conquest and uncovering the driving force which has darkened the hearts of the emperor and his leadership.

This is also a book which I think would make an amazing movie. I think it could be brought down to 2-2.6 hours. Of course it would be better as a shmovie (tv show which is really just an uber-long movie). But even in a practical light, this would be amazing. You really only need one “location” because everything happens within the city (unless you filmed flashbacks, but you don’t need to). Everything happens in the course of several weeks, so again – you don’t have to worry about aging actors (looking at you Narnia and Harry Potter movies). Helps the characters are all “adults” (the grand-daughter is 16. Arguably not an adult but the actress could be). There isn’t a ton of strange things you need to explain. There isn’t a lot of thinking – most things are revealed through dialogue and the few that are not could easily be converted.

Now, I would gander this book couldn’t be converted into a movie for the simple reason of rights – which makes me crazy. HBO, seriously, get on this. Hells bells, you don’t even have to pay the actors for nudity or excessive violence! It’s the perfect young adult schmovie chance which will suck in adults too!