Tiger Eye (Dirk & Steele, Book 1)

Tiger Eye - Marjorie M. Liu I actually read this book all in one sitting, all 342 pages of it - it's hard to believe because I haven't really sat down to digest a book in that fast of a time for a story that while part of me was into it, I wanted to see more of how it would progress and end with its respective story elements. I digress a bit, but I think it was the flare of lore that made me want to pick up this title (that and playing the Hidden Object game based on this story) and promise of a love story with adventurous aspects, and it delivered on those standards.Story summary: Delilah (Dela) Reese, while on a trip to China, purchases an antique "riddle box" from an elderly woman while in the marketplace, but finds the box summons a being named Hari, a shapeshifter (half man, half tiger) imprisoned for centuries under a curse. Think of it as a cursed genie out of a box, if you will. It might make you squirm at first because it's been done so many times, but sticking with it actually reveals much more, especially speaking to the dynamic of Delilah and Hari and the cast of characters that are revealed as the story moves forward. I liked the action sequences and the dynamic between the two main characters and felt compelled enough, even considering their clashes with the Magi and other villains that come about in the story to read forward.The skeptical part of me really comes out when I think back over some elements - it has problems in story flow (the China arc was a bit brief, while the latter half of the story seemed to introduce a lot of pieces that were very heavy and came a bit too quickly to digest in full), cliched elements, and plot placing - those are probably the biggest things I could point out in terms of constructive criticism of the novel. However, Liu has a whimsical tone in her storytelling that's hard to resist, and that's ultimately what kept me reading, along with the interesting cast of characters. This was actually Liu's first novel, so I can't hold too much against her for creating this first installment in the series because she does tell, collectively speaking, an interesting story.I may continue reading this series to see what it has to offer, but I enjoyed reading it in consideration for being what it was: a paranormal romance story that was a simple read delivering on what it promised to tell. I hope the other books in the series end up being good, if not better than this.Overall score: 2.5/5