The Tiger's Daughter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

I tried this several times but just didn't relate to or like the main characters much. I gave up on reading the whole thing. Sorry for a blah review but there you have it.
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Unfortunately this was not the book for me, I began it multiple times but simply couldn’t get into it which was quite disappointing as from the blurb it sounded like my thing. I simply couldn’t mesh with the way in which it was told in epistolary format.
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This is a fascinating, spread out high fantasy novel with roots in Ancient Asian culture and focuses on the friendship and love between two princesses- Barsalayaa Shefali and O-Shizuka.

This book is told in a mix of present day scenese with O-Shizuka who we know is now Empress, and letters she is reading from Shefali who is talking about their past, their childhood, friendships, adventures and eventual romantic relationship. Through the letters we find out what happened between them, and why in the present day they aren't together how they should be.

I really enjoyed this, and I found it engaging and easy to read. I loved the relationship between the girls. Their world is violent at times, and both of them can kill a man easily thanks to skills they have learned but the moments between them are tender and pure, and really stand out. I also loved the Asian culture that was seeped in this book, and I personally would have identified O-Shizuka as more Chinese or Japanese in heritage, and Shefali as Mongolian, though that's just how I pictured them and it may be different for others.

I will definitely be reading the next book in this series!
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This book did not do it for me. I truly wanted to enjoy it and love it but I had the hardest time even finishing it. It’s nothing against the author because I am sure the book can have a positive audience somewhere, just sadly not for me. TOR is one of my most favorite publishers and I will almost always read a great book from them and recommend them, but not this one. I am so sorry! Please forgive me! Every book has its place, but my place is not with this book..! It was written very well though!
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I sadly DNFed at around 20% in. I really wanted to love it and tried really hard! The writing is fantastic but it's very slow moving and nothing has drawn me in. I find myself not wanting to pick it back up.
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A solid read throughout - would recommend to all sorts of patrons.
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DNF @ 16%

I liked what I did read, but it wasn't enough to hold my attention. It's been sitting on my "currently reading" shelf for six months now, and I haven't had much of a desire to return to it. Like most, I would say I wasn't a fan of the narrative. The world building was pretty lackluster to me as well.
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What an exquisite book - unusually for me, as I normally prefer a non-narrated story. But the writing! Framing the story of The Empress in the words of the one who grew through all her changes with her and loved her the most gave us an amazing love story that spanned decades.  I also loved that while these were 100% kick-ass warrior women, the author wasn't afraid to show them as women - strong women don't have to become men or cold blooded to be strong. 
I'll be hanging out for the second novel in the series.
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This was such a beautiful book! (It's been 6 months since I read this book, but better late than never, right??)

When you've read a lot of fantasy, you develop a sort of intuition for how the story is going to play out. It's hard to tell a story that hasn't already been told a hundred times before; what makes any story worth reading is the details and the characters and the new voice the author brings to the table. The Tiger's Daughter is one of those rare gems that feels sort of familiar but entirely new at the same time.

The story opens with an imperious, headstrong empress on a throne, but then shifts gears as most of the book is in the form of letters addressed to said empress. I have to admit the "You" thing threw me off (I've never been a fan of second-person perspective in novels), but I thought there was a good reason for it and a good balance between time spent on the letters and time in the "present day". I loved that the cultures described in this book were heavily influenced by Asian cultures (Japanese and Mongolian, I think?), because that's just so rare in fantasy. I also loved that most of the main characters were women. There are women leaders, warriors, noblewomen, and traveling nomads. For once it almost seems like the men are there to advance the plot and character development of the women! Almost is the key there, all characters were very well-developed and had interesting, conflicting motivations.

This is a love story for the ages, and I'm not even much of a romantic! I loved how Shefali and O-Shizuka's relationship developed from friendship to love; we get to see them grow up together so the relationship feels very organic. Neither of them gives up their agency or their pride in their very different cultures and heritage; neither of them is reduced to "the romantic interest" as is usually the case for women. It's just so lovely to see queer representation in fantasy, especially between women of color. 

Besides the stunning characters, intricate world-building, political machinations, and exciting demonic creatures from hell, what really captured my attention was the writing style. I just fell in love with how the words flowed on the page. Rivera has such a strong voice, but so do these characters. Although it ends on a fairly conclusive and satisfying note, I cannot wait to see how this story continues to unfold.
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I actually adored everything I was reading but I do want to point out that the Japanese representation is definitely not good. I know bloggers that are Japanese and they say it better than me and I listen because it's their culture and sadly this book was not for them. So even though I liked it of what I read (I DNFed sadly) I trust these opinions and I hope the next book in the series is more well-researched and on point.
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I initially thought I would put this book on pause because I wasn't in the mood to read a long letter, which is what the first few chapters are. Then I read some reviews and discovered that the entire book is a letter. As if the awkward info-dump exposition wasn't bad enough for those few chapters, it actually takes up the whole book? No thanks.

I love the concept, I just wish it had been written like a normal book. Even if it had begun with the main characters' childhoods I wouldn't have minded! 

Also, as soon as I started reading the book I was leery of the pan-Asian mashup going on here, but I am not Asian and I had not read the whole book yet, so I chose not to say anything. However, other reviewers have pointed out that Rivera does a very messy job of portraying Asian cultures.

I'm really disappointed; this was one of the books I was most looking forward to this year.
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DNF @ 5%

I just... I don't understand the languages and the references... it all made me feel uneasy. 

Present tense kinda throws me, which made the beginning awkward, but then it went into a letter/book. A book (from i'm assuming one lover to another) which is just going to go on and on about their lives? INCLUDING a word for word replication of a letter that one of them sent the other when they were five. Are you kidding me? No. I can suspend my belief only so far. And how long is this letter going to be??? And why?? 

So, I just couldn't do it.
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I really wanted to like this book, but I put it down before I reached the halfway point. It has all of the ingredients to be a book that I'd absolutely adore, but my interest kept fizzling out until I set it down and forgot about it. 

Still; we need more f/f fantasy!
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I was beyond excited to pick this book up, even if the reviews I read on Goodreads hadn’t been very positive. It’s a f/f fantasy epic (the book is 500+ pages long) about warrior princesses. Everything about this book sounded perfect when I requested it on NetGalley...the cover, the story, the fact that it was a f/f romance (we need more of these), etc. and it didn’t let me down. I loved it!

One thing I think readers need to keep in mind when they pick this book up is that it’s a slow burn. There are a lot of pages and the story takes time to build. Yes, some sections were a bit too slow for my liking, but the author took her time building up the world and characters. Everything felt fully formed...as if I could reach out and touch it, which to me is the hallmark of a beautifully written fantasy world.

What I really enjoyed about this book was how the relationship between the two main characters, Shefali and Shizuka, took center stage. Their adventures, challenges and love for each other took hold of my heart. I just wish that I would have gotten to see both sides of the relationship as it is mostly told through letters from one POV. Besides my love for the main characters, the supporting cast was also superbly written. Ren, a little used but intriguing transgender character, really stood out. I hope that she has a larger role in future books.

Overall, I was quite pleased with this book and look forward to picking up the sequel. The author has created a gorgeous character-driven world that completely hooked me from the very start. So, while it may have been a little too long with some slow sections, it’s well worth it! This really is a book that you need to read.
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I'm going to be that person and I'm probably going to get some side-eye for this but. . . I didn't like The Tiger's Daughter. I wanted to. I REALLY wanted to. It feeds into all that I could want from a fantasy novel, at least on the surface, but beneath the cover I just struggled so much.

A lot of this comes down to the writing style. It wasn't exactly strange, but it wasn't what I expected either -- and it didn't work for me. We see the story told through letters back and forth between the two protagonists which details their history. And I was bored. I mean flat out, don't want to keep reading ever again bored.

I made it about a quarter of the way through and prepared to DNF the book completely but I checked the reviews (you know, maybe I was missing some key element) and it had a bunch of 4-5 stars so there must be something redeemable, right? I pushed through to the end which took a while and I honestly didn't like the book any more than I did to start. There was just so much filler and I didn't understand why the novel would be in this format. Obviously I can't say if it would have been better if a different style had been chosen but I have to wonder.

Now I can't speak to the East Asian influence in this story as that is not my place but in terms of looking at it as a reader, the world didn't feel like it had its own uniqueness (if that makes sense). For me, it almost read like historical fiction of sorts rather than fantasy which is totally fine, mind you, but not what I was expecting or how it's been marketed. That may have just been my reading experience, though. 

I don't have much more to say about The Tiger's Daughter. I'm happy so many people enjoyed it but I found it boring to the point of nearly DNFing it which is a shame. Can't say I recommend this book but I encourage you to check out some of the positive reviews before making your own decision!
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I enjoyed this book. I loved parts of it (that ending is magnificent!) and parts of it dragged on for me. It took me almost 2 months to read, partially because of the slow parts, partially because other things kept distracting me, partially because I slipped up and read other reviews on Goodreads before starting and so they were always niggling in the back of my mind.

The two protagonists are both very well characterized, and it's easy to empathize with both of them. Their motivations largely make sense, and I didn't have any believability issues with them. 

I liked the narrative style, with most of the book written as a letter and only little bits taking place in the present. It does take a little bit to get used to in the beginning, but it's not horribly jarring. 

I can see where the rather notorious Goodreads review is coming from with some of the cultural sensitivity issues. I don't know enough about any of the cultures that are so obviously borrowed from to say whether they're accurate critiques, but I will say that it would have made just as much sense to borrow less and make up more, and made people far less unhappy. 

I liked the plot, both all the action and developing romance, as well as the focus on family relationships. 

There's a lot to enjoy about this book, and I'd recommend it for folks who are looking for Asian-inspired fantasy, epic fantasy, LQBTQ fantasy, women-centered narratives, and people looking for non-linear narration styles. 

I was provided a review copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley.
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I really struggle to write this review. I didn’t dislike this book, but I also didn’t really like it either. The story surrounds 2 main characters that live in an Asian and Mongolian based setting where they have to fight demons. The story is told as flashbacks when the Asian-esque Empress reads her and the other main character’s life story written by a Mongolian-esque warrior woman. Did I mention that they are lesbian lovers? But of course, their life is not all rainbows and sunshine because of that (and some other drama that we find throughout the book).  I’m not sure what it was for me, but there was just something off with the whole book.
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I tried. I genuinely tried. But around halfway through, I had to give in to the fact that not only could I not finish this book by the time it would be released, I couldn't finish it at all.  It is definitely a book that I wanted to like. Historical/Fantasy lesfic is definitely up my alley... but nah.

There are a lot of flaws in both the narrative structure and world building of this book. The writing style contributed the most to my being unable to struggle through the book. The author has chosen to alternate between first person present and SECOND PERSON PAST. It is jarring to the extreme, particularly after you realize that Shefali has essentially decided to write an entire novel to her friend Shizuka that recounts their entire lives together, most of which the recipient of the letter was present for. This makes it even stranger when the author infodumps large swaths of text about one culture or the other; both Shefali and Shizuka know all of this already. Why would you compose that long of a letter, breaking the fourth wall constantly to try to drop all of this information you both know in the laps of the readers? You wouldn't. And without any kind of in-narrative reason for Shefali to recount their adventures, there is zero urgency behind the story. 

These writing choices contribute also to a severe lack of action. Occasionally, it picks up but we see so little directly that it is very hard to engage with the characters. Also, because the letters go one way, the story lacks the unfolding interest of epistolary fiction. Trust, I have read epistolary fiction from the 18th century that was over a thousand pages long each. It doesn't work as well when the characters aren't communicating back and forth.

Furthermore, there are other more detailed reviews that can get into this, but the world building itself all stems from a haphazard blending pan-Asiatic cultures, which includes some demons or something, but as far as I've read, neither narrator has bothered to infodump on how magic or demons work. There are plenty of borrowed words from Japanese and Chinese, without any kind of glossary, as you would have even in the event that you made up your fantasy languages (Tolkien).  Thus, it is at once drearily boring and confusing. 

Thus, I am sad to say that I wouldn't recommend this book. I think it's a pity, because the concept is not beyond redemption, but the execution should have been corrected early in the editing process.
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This book blew me away! I loved the writing, the characters and the plot was not what I expected at all. This has lesbian romance, asian-inspired world-building and action-scenes that took me by surprise! This is truly a fantasy book which I will gladly recommend! Thank you so much to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me to read this beforehand. 4.5
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I really wanted to like THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER, but sadly it didn’t work for me and I ended up setting it aside.

Born to the leading houses of two formerly warring empires, the Hokkaran princess Shizuka and Qorin child Shefali shouldn’t have been friends; but destiny has other plans, and the two warriors have many battles to fight together.

I like the idea of the world K Arsenault Rivera has created, but I wasn’t a fan of the execution. The vast majority of the story is told via flashbacks and one massively long letter, which made what little fantastical world building I saw in the first 51% feel like an info-dump. The political and cultural side of things was much more smoothly developed, but I found the representation of Qorin culture particularly troubling, as it is riddled with racist stereotypes and slurs. Your mileage may vary on this, but I wasn’t a fan.

K Arsenault Rivera is clearly a gifted writer, and I appreciate the risk she took with the narrative structure in THE TIGER’S DAUTHER. I get what she was going for here, but I found the combination of Shefali’s letters and Shizuka’s flashbacks distanced me from their stories. I wasn’t able to connect with their characters nearly as much as I would’ve liked to, and I think the use of second person is largely to blame. Normally I’d be all about two badass queer women of colour!

THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER is by no means a bad book, but it isn’t the book for me.
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