Ablaze with fiery passions—and sheets of actual fire, too—this conclusion to the Tiger’s Curse quartet brings Oregon teenager Kelsey and the two Indian were-tiger princes who have divided her heart through a climactic battle to a final, bittersweet mate selection.
Her chiseled suitors, Ren and Kishan, must first rescue her from a forced marriage to archenemy Lokesh (“I watched vile ecstasy overtake him as he kissed my palm and licked the red droplets from his lips”). Kelsey then accompanies the sultry siblings on an arduous quest beneath an active volcano for a Rope of Fire that will convey the trio to a decisive face-off with the demonic sorcerer thousands of years in the past. Having privately settled in a previous episode on Kishan as the more rational choice but still gobsmacked by Ren, her “dark Poseidon,” her “warrior angel,” Kelsey nevertheless still rattles between the brothers. They continue to ply her with verses from Shakespeare, Tennyson and other poets as part of a rival courtship impregnated (so to speak) with manly sensitivity. After battling her way past a teeming array of minor deities, vampiric Rakshasas and like creatures from Hindu and other mythologies, Kelsey at last fulfills her destiny as savior of India. Then, in fulfilling their own destinies, one brother dies (temporarily), and to clear the way for a wedding described in protracted, luxuriant detail, the other makes the ultimate sacrifice by going off with another woman (albeit a goddess in the making).
The end is a long time coming, but readers sufficiently hardened by the preceding adventures’ florid prose to survive lines like “After a few seconds of delicious fantasy, I mentally rebuffed myself,” and “[t]ingling bubbles of power coursed lazily between us,” are sure to be left throbbing and misty-eyed. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)