Featured Review: The Tiger At Midnight (Swati Teerdhala)
About This Book:
Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.
Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.
Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology.
*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT is a lush YA fantasy that follows two primary characters in alternating points-of-view. Esha is known as the Viper, an almost mythical figure that works against the current ruler Verdaan who usurped the throne from the ruling Queens and has altered women’s roles in society as a result. Through the bloody battles and subsequent, unfair laws, Verdaan and the general (Kunal’s uncle) have made a lot of enemies and killed a lot of common people in addition to political figures.
Kunal has mostly been raised by his uncle in his way of life, valuing control above all else, and functioning as a soldier. This is the only way of life he can really remember, and Kunal is the loyal, ideal soldier as a result. After he meets an interesting girl (Esha) on the same night that the Viper kills his uncle, Kunal is given a task to hunt the Viper and bring him back dead or alive. If he is the first to do so, he will receive his uncle’s title and thus the political power. So begins a journey that will alter Kunal forever and open his eyes to the truth of things.
What I loved: The descriptions of places and people are absolutely lush. The interwoven Indian history and Hindu mythology is beautiful, and the portrait painted throughout the book is absolutely fantastic. The world-building is top-notch in this book. The characters were also easy for me to like, both Esha and Kunal growing close to my heart. There is a lot of cat and mouse in the book with witty banter and entertaining scenarios. The romance creeps up on them, and it made it very believable. The overarching story was really well-developed, and I loved learning more about these characters and their lives.
What left me wanting more: The pacing was very slow at first, and I would have liked things to move faster. Notably, I did find that it sped up in the last half of the book. This may, in part, be because of the world and character building, which was very well done. Regardless, once I got through the first half of the book, I was completely hooked on the story and characters.
Final verdict: This YA fantasy is great for fans of THE REMNANT CHRONICLES and EMBER IN THE ASHES. With strong world-building and intriguing characters, this is a great start to a new series, and I will definitely seek out the next books. While the first half was slow, the pace picked up, and I was completely engrossed in this fascinating new world by the end of the book. It does have a bit of a cliff-hanger, so be prepared to eagerly await the sequel!
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