Teagan's life turns upside down one day when her best friend Abby, who believes she is psychic, claims that in a dream, she saw goblins from the paintings Teagan's mother creates for her children's books attacking Teagan. Abby is so convinced of the danger that she drags Teagan to St. Drogo's church to ask for the saint's protection. Abby is not a regular churchgoer. Teagan dismisses Abby's fears but then receives another shock when her parents tell her that there will be a new addition to their family. Finn, Teagan's cousin who has been missing for several years after the death of his parents, has been discovered by social services. Finn gives the authorities Teagan's mother's name and her parents agree to take guardianship of the boy who has been living on the streets.
By most standards, Teagan's family is eccentric. Aileen is an orphan with a mysterious past who was taken in and raised by Mamieo--Finn's grandmother and a member of the Irish Travelers. She writes and illustrates children's books set in fantastical lands populated with fantastical creatures. The Wylltson's basement is filled with paintings. Aiden has a remarkable ability to remember and regurgitate songs. He also finds the tooth fairy and Elvis impersonators scary. John--Teagan's father--is a librarian by trade with a great love for poetry, especially old poetry like that of William Blake whose poem "The Tyger" informs the novel's title. Mr. Wylltson reads to the family after dinner most every evening.
|Finn Mccool Comes to Aid the Fianna,|
|by Stephen Reid (1932).|
Hamilton populates her story with a vast array of fantastic creatures. Some are hopelessly evil; others are charming. A quote from Hamlet, which comes up several times in the novel, does well to sum up Hamilton's story.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Hamlet Act 1, scene 5)
The narrative--told entirely from Teagan's point-of-view--is fast-paced but not hurried and Hamilton further flavors the story with her sense of humor. Some scenes are as amusing as they are terrifying. In one case, a pair of hell hounds chase a vintage truck through suburban Chicago. However, unlike the proverbial dog chasing the car who doesn't know what to do with the car if he catches it, these nasty creatures know exactly what to do with the occupants of the truck. Hamilton also makes some subtle plays with names if you read carefully. Finn's guardian angel for example is named Raynor Schein, which could be read as "rain or shine." The novel ends with a satisfying conclusion that answers the questions posed at the outset but leaves room for more adventures to come. This reader is looking forward to another trip to Mag Mell.
I received an advance copy of Tyger Tyger from the publisher through NetGalley.