Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks

'Tiger, Tiger' is set in one of my favorite periods of ancient history, and is written by one of my most loved authors. Without even opening this book, I knew I was going to love it. Tiger, Tiger follows the story of two tiger cubs separated at birth; one to be trained as a fighter in the arena, and the other as a companion for the emperors daughter. Two brothers, with two very different fates.

I first read this book when I was 10 and doing a history project with some friends. One girl and I were older so were encouraged to read a couple of books alongside the project, that fitted in with the time period we were studying.  In this case the period was Ancient Rome, and the book was 'Tiger, Tiger.' As I often say, I think my enjoyment of this book was heightened by reading it at the same time as my friend because we could discuss the characters and plot. The only slight difficulty with this was that Libby was a lot faster at reading than me and had usually finished the book a couple of chapters ahead -she also wasn't particularly good at keeping the ending to herself!

Reading 'Tiger, Tiger' brought the world of Rome truly alive in a way that fascinating and gripping for my 10 year old self, and is one of the reasons I went on to do Classical Civilisation at GCSE. Whenever I pick up Tiger, Tiger I think of the towering Colosseum in Rome, full to the brim with people eager to catch a glimpse of exotic wild animals fight. I think of the cool marble palace of the emperor with it’s beautiful fountains and stately rooms, and I think of the twin cubs. I think of how different their lives became but how, through it all, they remained close.

As always favourite characters are a familiar question. Often I have so many that it is hard to choose, for example in the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings I will jump up shouting 'Yes! That's my favourite character!' for pretty much every single person throughout all of the books. In 'Tiger, Tiger' however my answer is a lot simpler; Marcus. Marcus is Princess Aurelia's younger, and extremely annoying, cousin. Despite being rather foolish and spoilt at the start of the novel, Marcus develops into a wise and much more reliable young man. At first he takes pleasure in teasing and causing trouble for Princess Aurelia, but after a horrifying event at the Colosseum he assumes his responsibilities. Unlike his old self, he accepts his share of the blame and guilt for what happened, realising that what he did had huge affects on everyone involved. 

I would advise reading 'Tiger, Tiger' around 10-11 years old. Maybe you could find a friend who would enjoy reading this book at the same time as you, so that you can talk to them about the characters and plot. Sometimes reading a book alongside friends, especially books that you might find difficult, makes it more enjoyable. A little while back my friend Dan read the Silmarillion. I also really wanted to read it, so decided to start at the same time. Unfortunately, due to being extremely busy at the moment, I still haven’t finished the Silmarillion however, having a friend to talk about it with has made it easier to read as much as I have and inspired me to finish it when I have time. 

As a final note,  before I go and pack for my holiday, this book is well worth reading and I encourage all of you to give it a go. There is something very inspiring about two tigers, animals we see as strong and independent, struggling to have any say in their lives. Also, who can resist a story set in Ancient Rome? 

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