Title / The Tiger’s Daughter
Author / K. Arsenault Rivera
Publication Date / 2017
Page no. / 512
Series or standalone / Their Bright Ascendancy book 1
Overall Star Rating / ★★
Goodreads synopsis: The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests. Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons. This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.
This was one of my most anticipated books of this year and I’m sad to say I was disappointed by it. Firstly I think it is fantastic that this is a lesbian romance as it’s something that I haven’t seen a lot of in the fantasy genre, especially with the main characters. However for me I found this too romance heavy. When it becomes the driving force behind the plot, I’m just not that interested. I swear every few pages one of the main characters was expressing her love for the other and I just couldn’t – we get it, please stop. As you can probably tell I found that kind of annoying. The plot had so much potential but I felt that it was a little overshadowed by the romance, which really didn’t work for me. The fact that I didn’t really care about the characters didn’t help with the romance. To me the two main characters were kind of unlikealbe and I just didn’t care about them. I found that the characters were underdeveloped and flat, which hindered my ability to connect with any of them. The main issue I had with this though is the narrative style. The majority of the story is told through a letter from one of the main characters to the other. First off it’s very clearly a way to info dump as Shefali (main character) is writing to Shizuka (other main character) about things they both witnessed. Why would you write a letter to tell someone about something they experienced? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, unless it’s just there to info dump. I think it would also take the record for longest letter ever – it seemed like it was never going to end. It dragged quite a lot and at times I didn’t really know what was going on. The writing itself is good but again something about it didn’t work for me. I think at times it was quite drawn out – the slow pacing doesn’t help with this either. Consequently I struggled to get invested in this book. Apart from the narrative style, it was also the plot that let it down. It felt kind of aimless to me and so drawn out, especially the first half the book. The plot did improve in the second half but by then I didn’t particularly care. The premise made it seem like it was going to be action packed with maybe a bit of politics but instead we basically get a very long love letter. That is not what I signed up for. In terms of world building and magic system, I can’t really tell you much as it was pretty vague. These are mostly just personal preference though. One thing I feel I should mention is the appropriation of Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian cultures. I think it’s important to be aware of these things when reading books. For more information about this, please read this review by a Japanese woman who can speak on these issues with authority.
Overall this one just really didn’t work for me. It definitely had a lot of potential but personally I felt a little disappointed by it. To me this felt more of an epic romance than epic fantasy. I seem to be in the minority on this one though as I’ve seen a lot of great reviews on Goodreads. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.