Title / The Tiger and the Wolf
Author / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date / 2016
Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming. Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit. Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?
I have to admit that a big part of why I initially picked this book up was the stunning cover. This cover is definitely one of my favourites at the moment. Fortunately I ended up loving the book too. The first thing that I really loved about this book was the premise of this world. In this world, there are clans that are represented by an animal and each member to these clans can ‘step’ or shift into the animal. So if you are part of the wolf clan, you can ‘step’ into a wolf form. This makes the world incredibly diverse – there are so many different clans and cultures in this world. It also gives the landscape a lot of depth – I imagine there is still alot to discover about this world. I found it so interesting finding out about this world and the many people in it. The fact that the people of each clan end up with mannerisms or personalities that indicate the animal that they are linked to makes it so interesting. For me, this world is one of the best things about this book – it is definitely a new favourite of mine. The world building was wonderfully done. You are given a lot of information, but it was all relevant and it never felt bogged down by the amount. Having said that, there is a lot of set up in this book, so the pacing can be a bit off at times. It is quite slow to start because of that, but definitely bear with it. Basically I very much enjoyed this new world.
The characters are another strength of this book. I loved Maniye as the female protagonist. Her inner struggle to find where she belongs is incredibly related, if a bit heightened by the fact of two animal souls fighting it out inside her. She is an interesting, complex and flawed character. The other characters were also really well written. I thought the use of Maniye’s father as the main antagonist worked very well. His extremely ambitious nature comes across so well – you can pretty much feel it through the pages. Tchaikovsky has managed to create a wide and diverse group of well crafted and complex characters that are all a pleasure to read about. Two other characters I enjoyed were Broken Axe and Hesprec. In reality all of the characters were enjoyable to me. Moving on from my love for the characters now. The battle sequences are, in my opinion, done very well. If you like action packed fantasy, then this book is for you. I personally quite enjoy battle sequences, as well as strategy and tactics. For some, it may be too much as it is quite brutal at times. Others may just not be a fan of battle sequences, so it is something to keep in mind. In my opinion, they worked very well. In a way I think these sequences show how brutal (and even cruel) nature, and there animals, can be. The writing is wonderful and really quite emotive. You can really feel the things the characters are going through, whether it’s the cold, hunger, despair etc.
The Tiger and the Wolf is a fantastic series opener and I am so excited for the release of its sequel The Bear and the Serpent in 2017. If you are looking for a new unique, diverse and just amazing fantasy book/series, then you should definitely check this book out. If you also enjoy coming of age stories set in fantasy worlds, then this may be the book for you as well. It is set in an amazing and unique new world, with fantastic characters and wonderful writing. I highly recommend this book. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.