Title: Tiger Eye
Author: Marjorie Liu
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published in March 2005 by Dorchester’s LoveSpell
This was not reality, not to Dela at any rate. She was used to the odd occurrences, was being the operative word. This particular occurrence was beyond the pall of what she considered normal in her otherwise unusual life. Seven-foot tall men didn’t just appear in her life-space, and especially not such devastatingly handsome ones. The day started with an odd feel to it, and the trip to the Dirt Market, one of Beijing’s most famous tourist traps was on the list. The savvy shopper can find the best and the worst there, but she certainly wasn’t looking for the kind of trouble this man posed. Sensuality was stamped on his features, his mane of multi-hued hair begged for her fingers to traverse its luxuriously thick and silky-looking strands. She was not immune to the heat generated by his nearness, and that, more than anything else bothered her. He entered her life claiming to be her slave, to do her bidding, and yet his vulnerability and anger aroused her curiosity and her ire. For anyone to be a slave went against her grain, and the fact that he was claiming she owned him was even worse.
She wanted to own her life, not someone else’s, but when the assassin attacked, and Hari was there to protect her, Dela has to reassess her position. Her gratitude not withstanding, she makes up her mind then and there that there must be a way to break the curse that binds Hari to the small puzzle box Long Nu pressed her to buying at the stall in the Dirt Market that day. Things start to come together when she again runs into the man who accosted her outside the gates of the market. The Magi, apparently the enemy who condemned Hari to the life of slavery outside, and an eternity of sleep inside the puzzle box adds another danger to her existence. Fleeing China, and those who wish her harm must be her first priority. Enlisting the help of a family friend and business partner, she arranges their escape. Still shaken, Dela has to face the fact that whoever wants her dead has stolen a weapon forged by her own hand to make the first attempt. The second attack is not unexpected, but that it is tried in a public place speaks to the desperation of the killer. She can only hope they can solve the problem before the assassins are successful, and also free Hari from the clutches of the Magi and his vile puzzle box.
His existence has been from one summoning to the next. The masters and mistresses he has been forced to serve cruel and malignant in their demands, and in their hearts dwells the evil of the world. This summoning is not different to Him, until he is faced with the woman dressed only in tow scraps of material. Scrappy is one word that would describe her, but as Hari soon discovers, Dela is not what he thought. Kindness marks her, death stalks her, and before Hari realizes it, she has heated up a place in his heart and mind that he thought long destroyed. Masters before refused him the smallest of considerations, not allowing him food, or even the comfort of being clean. This woman did not seem to be conscious of him as a slave, but gave him the honour and respect of a free man. The woman’s attitude, and this new world into which he has been called, draw him as never before. In anger he gave her the keys to his “chains” and yet she refuses to bind him. Instead, she feeds him, clothes him, allows him the luxury of being clean, and even worries when he is injured protecting her.
This is not his usual situation when summoned, and Hari begins to wonder if maybe his luck has changed. Only time will tell, and as he becomes more accustomed to the relative freedom he has with this new mistress, the doubts remain. The new experiences and people he encounters when they reach her home lead him into a true acceptance of her as an equal, and not just his mistress. Hari soon finds himself among others who would give their lives for this extraordinary woman who owns him heart, mind, body, and soul. The ownership has nothing to do with the curse on him either. Talented artist, Dela can forge a blade with perfect balance, a keen edge, and make it a work of art. Hari soon finds she is equally adept at other sculpture, including the delicately wrought chains that now bind him to her through love. This is unexpected, and leaves Hari wishing he were free to let loose his inner beast, reclaim his skin, his life, and be able to offer Dela the permanent relationship that she deserves…
Welcome Marjorie Liu! There have been a slew of wannabes in popular romance literature, but I have to agree with Christine Feehan on this one, and say to Ms Liu CONGRATULATIONS on a book well done. Tiger Eye is a spectacular book, done in a style reminiscent of Christine, and filled with all the delicious twists and turns that make a book interesting from beginning to end.. Dela and Hari have some extraordinary challenges to face, and the path to true love is not an easy one for them. Danger dogs their every footstep, and although Hari comes from a long line of shape-shifters, he is held prisoner as a man until he can find his skin, and break the curse. For Dela, the challenge is to follow the whispers of her heart. Steel and metal speaks to her, and she gladly listens, using her talent to sculpt, and imprint her designs on the malleable metals. Her heart is not open, but longs for something she is unwilling to provide.
The changes in both characters, Hari and Dela are the key to the book, the feelings each learns to trust, and share keep the reader riveted to the pages and refuse to let go. Ms, Liu weaves an exquisite and beautiful tale of magic, mystery, and love that I can easily compare to Ms Feehan. The skill she uses encompasses an imagination, a depth of character, and a plot worthy of Christine, and I hope that we will see more like this one on the way. Christine changed romance, and there are few who tried to follow. Some of those who did were only pale imitations, but now, in one book, Marjorie Liu encompasses all the essentials and provides the reader with a story that goes beyond romance, and enters the realm of the great storytellers. Tiger Eye goes a long way to introducing her to the ranks, and we all enjoy a great story, a real page-turner. We need more great storytellers, and Dorchester, and the LoveSpell imprint have found us another wonderful voice in Marjorie Liu and Tiger Eye. Look for Tiger Eye in your bookstores this coming March, and be prepared. I don’t think you will be able to put this book down, I couldn’t….
Yours in good reading,