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The Tiger's Daughter (Ascendant, 1) Paperback – October 3, 2017
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"An American Duchess" by Caroline Fyffe
A woman’s heart dares to defy the rules of Victorian society in USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fyffe’s novel of romance, royalty, and a little revenge. | Learn more
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Praise for The Tiger's Daughter
"K Arsenault Rivera turns many of the standard conventions of fantasy on their heads....A love letter... lavishly chronicling how two women fall in love.... thoughtfully rendered and palpably felt." ― The Washington Post
"Rivera’s immense imagination and finely detailed worldbuilding have produced a series introduction of mammoth scope." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The Tiger’s Daughter sinks its claws into a reader and refuses to let them go until the very last page...As a word, ambitious sums up this debut." ―Culturess
“The epistolary tale at the heart of The Tiger’s Daughter unfolds with deceptive elegance, leading the reader to a conclusion at once unexpected, touching, and apt.” ―Jacqueline Carey, author of the bestselling Kushiel's Legacy series
"A layered and mesmerizing tale of love and legends, this fierce story will settle in your bones like a chill and leave your heart aching.” ―Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"Delicate, intricate, inevitable...a stunning debut. It took my breath away.” ―Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Every Heart a Doorway
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765392534
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765392534
- Product Dimensions : 5.51 x 1.54 x 8.21 inches
- Publisher : Tor Books (October 3, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #309,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Three main points which I think anyone looking to read this book ought to know:
1) The romance is the central story here. The fantasy and action elements are the scene and tone in which these two women meet each other and fall in love. The primary plot is about how they lose and find (and lose and find and lose etc.) each other throughout this mythic course of events. While there is plenty of excitement in the supernatural fight scenes and political intrigues, it's not the focus of the story and the arc of the novel deviates sharply from your standard genre fare. The comparison to anime and manga that people have noted here and on Goodreads is apt in this regard - this was definitely not inspired by the story formulae that Western fantasy usually uses. I saw more of modern Japanese genre fiction in the action scenes (decidedly dark), the fantasy (mostly horror), and the romance (tones of desperate tragedy even during its triumphs). I suspect the next books will return to a more typical Hero's Journey, with a more defined Big Bad and the inevitable face-off between the two protagonists and the demonic menace that threatens their homelands.
1.5) The Tiger's Daughter is unapologetically feminist and LGBT. Though characters throughout the story raise eyebrows at the female warriors and lesbian romance that drive the plot, the author never gives any kind of apology to the reader. It is taken on face value that women can fight and lead and fall in love, no matter the culture or circumstances. I know I'm probably going to use the word refreshing a lot in this review, but this whole book is like a cool drink of water in the desert. Just to be clear, there are a few very explicit romance scenes in this book, should that matter to a potential reader or for anyone buying this for a younger reader.
2) This isn't a faithful representation of Japan, Mongolia, or China. I would put it this way: Westeros is to Medieval Western Europe as The Tiger's Daughter's countries are to Medieval East Asia. They are informed and inspired by the mythology, cultures, and histories, but they don't bear any strict resemblance, anymore than the Battle of the Blackwater portrayed accurate historical warfare. That said, I found it refreshing to read a fantasy novel that didn't feel like a clever retelling of someone's D&D campaign. It's nice to take a break from bards, elves, plate armor, and magic spells.
3) This is an epistolary novel, with all the occasionally improbable storytelling that implies. It mostly felt clear and comfortable, but yes, there are some parts where the narrator is describing a scene to someone who was there to see it. It's a hazard of the form, for sure, but I didn't mind. The letter format felt intimate and confessional and gave insight into the characters and relationships. It also lends a kind of antique tone to the story on its own, just because it's not used much in modern fiction, especially the long form epistolary, where the bulk of the manuscript is just one character's single letter to another. It was refreshing to have a different frame than you usually see in genre fiction.
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for female-centric, emotionally-driven fantasy with a strong descriptive voice and fresh approach to genre fiction. I'm looking forward to the next books in the series!
(Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I have since purchased a copy of the novel to support the wonderful work Rivera is doing.)
Admittedly, I had a few concerns when starting the book, first being the various names each characters is called, and this turned out to be a problem as they gain more names as the story continues and some of them are extremely similar (I highly recommend listening to an audio book to hear the pronunciations while reading, at least for a little while). Then next concern I had was that the beautiful writing would be the focus and we would loose the story or possibly even the character connections due to it; that ended up not being a problem, the beautiful writing only added to the story and heightened the intensity of the relationship between Shizuka and Shefali. In fact, the love between these two characters is so strong that it made my heartache and brought me to tears a few times.
Even though I was aware that this is a fantasy, I honestly wasn't expecting the magical elements or the demons. While it did add a little to the story and it does become a major plot point, I like that the focus remained on their relationship and own personal character development.
While the story is supposedly written as letters and present day moments, in truth it is one long letter to the point of being a book with brief moments of present day reactions of the one reading it. I was honestly expecting more of letters back and forth throughout the story but it is just one letter from one character and the other character reading and reacting. With that said I really think that it word well for this story. It is not often that a second person narration works in books and thankfully Rivera really pulled it off in this one.
This book may not be for every reader, and not even for all fantasy fans. It does start off a little slow but it does pick up pace as it goes, but for an over 500 page book it can be daunting. I am beyond excited for the next book and have already pre-ordered it!
My Rating: I absolutely fell in love with Shizuka and Shefali and especially their love story. There were a few hiccups but all in all this was a beautiful story that really pulled me in and held me throughout. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!