Iris and the Tiger… Magic Realism In Middle Grade? YES!

Still on camp. Will reply to comments when I get back and recover from the mental trauma.

Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for a free review. Thank you to Text Publishing!

Hmm. Yet another “meh” book. This has to be the fifth one in a row or something (I’ve written a lot of book reviews recently that I’ve just kept in drafts and so you might not have seen too many of the meh reviews but trust me, they’re there and one day, they will rise up and revolt and burn our cities and steal our children be posted eventually.)

Leanne Hall is a great writer. There’s no denying that. I actually haven’t read any of her other books, but I’ve done a bit of research, and apparently, she writes YA Books and this is her first Middle Grade.

I haven’t read Middle Grade since… uh, Middle Grade, but this book seemed intriguing, the author was reputable, and so I requested it, and although I enjoyed it, I still found it a little lacking of what a YA reader would usually expect in their books.

That’s not to say that all YA books are philosophical and full of deep life questions, for example, there are a few books that are written only and purely for entertainment, like Throne of Glass, which, while I enjoyed, I found pretty superficial. Iris and the Tiger was just a little too straightforward for my tastes.

I do think, however, that for many people, the simplicity of this story would be a major selling point. The story is very easy to follow and not confusing at all. Let’s go over it.

Iris is sent by her greedy parents to make friends with her super rich aunt, so that when her aunt finally carks it (and trust me, the parents are waiting eagerly for the day), she’ll leave her ginormous fortune to Iris and her parents. While there, things start to go a little off topic and suddenly, Iris finds herself embroiled in a funny and wacky adventure to find the true story behind her uncle, and his mysterious paintings.

What I liked most about this book was the magic realism. It was written extremely well, but that’s not the only reason I loved it. The reason I loved it was because it was included in a book aimed at younger children.

Middle grade books nowadays just don’t seem to include magic realism at all. It’s either full on fantasy, with things like fairies and mushroom rings and pixies and gnomes, or its stories set in the real world with no magic, and instead, stories about having adventures and solving mysteries.

It’s incredibly refreshing to have a book like this come out and completely shatter all expectations of a magic realism book, and for that, I commend Ms Hall!

I found it hardest to connect to this book when it came to the motivation behind the characters’ actions. Some of them did things where we weren’t really sure why they did those things, and I was just sitting there like: “Wait, so why is she doing this again?” I needed to be transported a little more into the minds of the characters, and the motivation behind their actions needed to be fleshed out a little.

So while this book has its high points and its low points, all in all, I quite enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend it for any young reader – and not so young reader ;D

Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents.

But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There isan odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows.

Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding?

But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger.


Goodreads / Book Depository

Rating: 3/5


14 thoughts on “Iris and the Tiger… Magic Realism In Middle Grade? YES!

  1. I read a fair bit of middle grade and this one read a little young for the genre for me too Paul. Keeping the age group in mind, it was so well written and the magic realism introduced that wonder of exploration and adventure into the storyline. I did enjoy aspects, but overall I think it was a little too bland for teen or adult middle grade readers and I didn’t feel that pull into the storyline unfortunately. Perfect for kids between 8 – 12 though, who will really enjoy the storyline without being thrown into a complex world. Great review Paul, really enjoyed it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My MG knowledge mostly revolves around Rick Riordan 😅 The cover for this book looks gorgeous!
    This may seem like a dumb question but what is magic realism exactly? I’m not able to grasp the concept well. Feel free to ignore it, if you want.
    Great review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Magic Realism is when the author writes magic in such a way that it seems accepted. It’s confusing, I know. It’s a lot more subtle than your general Harry Potter, etc, and sometimes, it’s possible to feel as if the story could actually happen in real life – despite there being giants, flying people, etc. It’s incredibly difficult to write, and one of the greatest writers of the 20th/21st centuries, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (a winner of the literary Nobel Prize), was a master of his art. I definitely recommend you read one of his books, especially “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, translated from the Spanish, and greatly acclaimed by reviewers and authors all over the world. Tell me what you think of it, if you decide to read it! Thanks so much for dropping by 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger Award #2!! | the orang-utan librarian

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