Cover Image: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

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Member Reviews

This. Was. So. Good! I loved the tiger/women in this book. I know they aren't necessarily the characters you are supposed to like, but I loved them. They were great. I really enjoyed the storytelling and what all went along with it; the back and forth with the tigers and our main character Chih. I loved the first book as well, and how there will be more soon! 

Thank you to Nghi Vo, Tordotcom, and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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With enchanting lyrical prose, Nghi Vo weaves a new tale that lives up to the heights of “The Empress of Salt and Fortune”. This time we join Chih north of the snowline as they climb aboard the back of a lesser mammoth and head unknowingly into the jaws of danger. When the journey leads them directly into the path of three tiger sisters, Chih must keep their wits about them and transform from a recorder of tales into a storyteller. Their only hope lies in keeping the tigers enthralled long enough for rescue to arrive. 

“When the Tiger Came Down The Mountain” manages to be both a comfortingly familiar fireside tale and a transportive journey to a vibrant other world. While “Empress” showed that Vo was a talented wordsmith, “Tiger” proves that she is a master craftsman. Words in Vo’s hand transmute from the familiar into the magical. The simplest seeming turn of phrase leaps strikingly from the page and transforms into a marvel.  Evocative and lushly written, this novella is, to put it simply, beautiful.
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Yes! The sequel to The Empress of Salt and Fortune is here! And somehow, I think it's even better than the first (is that possible?). Either way, Nghi Vo's When the Tiger Comes Down the Mountain is not a novel you'll want to miss out on.

Chih is a cleric, and as such, they travel the world recording stories and legends. Both for recording purposes, and so that everyone has a chance to share their story. This is a job that Chih has put their entire heart and soul into.

It's also the reason why Chih has found themselves in a very interesting predicament. While off on a journey to gain new stories, they were trapped by three tigers. Those tigers have an opinion on one of Chih's stories – and the warping ways of history - and want it to be known.

“Well, at least Almost Brilliant isn't here to make fun of me.”

When the Tiger Comes Down the Mountain is arguably one of my favorite novellas of 2020, and trust me, I've read a lot of them. Then again, I knew that I would love this tale, as Nghi Vo has a way with words.

Chih is such an endearing character, whether they're telling a story or recording it. This is the second adventure we got to learn about in-depth, and there's little doubt in my mind that it's one of the most dangerous encounters they've had to date. That in itself probably means Chih should start recording their very own story.

I adored the Chih's telling of the tale, and more importantly; the three tiger women's interjections with their version of events. It was fascinating, it flowed so wonderfully, and it snuck plenty of commentary into the mix. In short, I loved every single minute of it.

Obviously, I'm going to give even more bonus points for representation here: Chih is non-binary, there's a scholar/predator romance (with a sapphic twist, love it), and so much more. This whole world is vibrant and inclusive, and I simply cannot get enough of it. I need it just like I need my air. Or chocolate.
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Chih returns in a new tale. Threatened by tigers, they tell a story in an attempt to prolong their life (as well as the mammoth scout and her mount). Occasionally, the tigers provide commentary, giving Chih a fascinating glimpse into tiger culture. 

It's all about storytelling- who tells the tales, what the audience is expected to understand, and how the same event can be interpreted very, very differently. It subtly builds the world introduced in The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
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This is an absolutely wonderful and compelling addition to this world. I was sold when I found out there was a non-binary character and they are handled woolly mammoths!
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I had already read the first book the Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, so I already knew what to expect from this book. And again I was not disappointed. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is again told in dual perspective by two women recounting the love story of a human and a tiger. I know sounds weird, but hear me out. The tiger is not only able to take the form of a human woman but she's also a queen. It might sound crazy like that but in the world that Vo creates in these books it makes perfect sense.
This is a short story about the love between two women, distorted by history and retold by a cleric and a tigress alike.

4 stars.
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Thank you Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the ARC in exchange for an honest review! 

	After reading and loving Empress of Salt and Fortune earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to pick this one up! When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is a beautifully written, compelling, and mythic queer tale. This novella was utterly absorbing. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down; I got wrapped up in the world and story that Nghi Vo created. This story is a fantasy epic wrapped up in a novella. Vo is a fantastic storyteller. This is a queer love story about saving each other, abandoning family expectations, and being with the person you love. This story features a story within a story as we follow Chih on their journey when they find a band of tigers who want to eat them. The only way for Chih to survive is to tell the tigers the story of Dieu and Ho Thi Thao, about a tiger and a human. 

	I read this novella in one sitting, and it was a joy to sucked into this beautiful story. Nghi Vo is a master storyteller, and I hope there are more novellas to come in this series! Everyone needs to read The Singing Hills Cycle!
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It's hard to say if I loved this more than the first book.  They cover similar themes, but they approach them quite different.  While Empress was about the stories that are hidden, discovered by reading between the lines, Tiger is about how the true tale is lost somewhere in the midst of different points of view.  Either way, this will be a book that I'm recommending all over the place!

I love the cleric, I love the mammoths, I adored the tigers (even if I wouldn't want to meet them).  I am definitely hoping that this becomes a long series of novellas that reveals another piece of the world, something I can look forward to each year for a long, long time.
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Included as a top pick in bimonthly December New Releases post, which highlights and promotes upcoming releases of the month (link attached)

2020 Fall Bingo (#fallintorombingo🍁): Set in Another World 

How is Nghi Vo so good? Gah, truly the best of what fantasy has to offer. I didn’t love this as much as Empress of Salt and Fortune (which, honestly, is a freaking high bar to cross since that was phenomenal). So I’m rating When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain lower in comparison, but I still recommend this novella. RTC.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Lovely little novella! I liked this quite a bit better than the first, which was THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE.  The pacing was better, the dialogue more natural, and the storytelling reminded me a bit of something you might tell by the fire or as a bedtime story—might listen to this when it comes out as an audiobook. 

This continues the story of Chih, a cleric from the Singing Hills, which is a monastic order that collects histories from all over the world. Chih finds themselves being escorted through a mountain path when their group is attacked by three tiger sisters. To forestall becoming the tigers' next meal, Chih tells an old story about a tiger and her scholar lover—sort of a Scheherazade situation.

Vo achieves more effectively what I think she intended in the first book, which is to complicate the reader's idea of how stories are constructed, altered, and recorded—how they are never complete reflections of the "truth" because those telling it have their own expectations about what a story really "means." 

Thank you to Tor and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Nghi Vo has done it again with another gripping tale designed to make one question the very heart of storytelling. Cleric Chih has met their match in a trio of tigers, with the threads of one singular tale being re-woven thread by beautiful thread.

Able to grip you with the opening pages, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain manages to effortlessly balance fable and legend beside the narrative present in a manner that delights and demands page turn after page turn.
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Hello! I am still in love with Nghi Vo’s writing 😀

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain had a very different vibe from the first novella, but it was still so wonderful! I loved how Vo developed the narrative and wove two stories, from very distinct perspectives, together as Chih embarked on this new adventure. It was an amazing way to show that history isn’t the same to everyone and can change from culture to culture.

I really did miss Almost Brilliant, but! I loved the tigers SO MUCH. One of my favorite things in Fantasy is when predators are predators and behave accordingly, and the tigers did just that. I honestly don’t think I would’ve been even a bit upset if they ate someone.

And once again, the complexity of this world and its characters showed just how great of a writer Vo is. In a few pages she was able to transmit so much emotion and history and personality and that made it impossible for me to put this novella down. Pls, everyone, read this series.
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Nghi Vo has a gift for novella writing, and this standalone follow up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune continues to prove it. Once I sat down to read When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, I didn’t get up again until I finished because I was so immediately drawn back into the world of Chih and their travels. As has been commonly the case for me this year, I loved this follow up even more than the initial novella and was delighted with every turn of the page.

Like in The Empress of Salt and Fortune, this novella tells a story within a story, and the structure is well utilized to support the narrative. Queer in a visceral way with sapphic romance as a focus, an ode to the power and hunger of women in all the infinite ways they exist, laced with sensuality, and an interesting examination of stories differing based on who does the telling, I highly recommend this for a short yet incredibly impactful read.

Thank you to Tor and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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As with this book's predecessor (the stunning The Empress of Salt and Fortune), this book captivated me, and I finished it in one exhilarating sitting. Vo is an expert at weaving together stories that feel timeless and myth-like, and I find her worldbuilding endlessly fascinating. What I particularly enjoyed and found interesting and distinctive about this book is the way that it embeds a story within a story, and thus offers a kind of meta commentary on the nature of storytelling. The way that the details of the plot then emerge from these different storytelling perspectives is great.
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Earlier this year, I was gifted a copy of Empress of Salt and Fortune, the author’s first book set in this Asian-inspired world, and I adored it. (Review here). Nghi Vo takes a unique method of telling a story, looking at perspectives not often examined. With The Tiger Came Down The Mountain, that same method is used as we follow the a tale of romance between two women, told from the perspective of two cultures.

Once again, we follow Chich on their journey for authentic stories told by local voices. This time, we head north (albeit without the companionship of her neixin Almost Brilliant), to journey with a group of northerners and their mammoths. When attacked by a trio of tiger sisters, Chih fends off their inevitable doom by recounting to them one of their stories, or so they’ve heard it. A story about the romance between a tiger and a poet-scholar.

While Chih is the one telling this tale, the tiger sisters regularly interrupt, questioning and correcting their version. Quickly, it becomes clear to the reader that while Chih tells this story with a voice and perspective from the poet-scholar’s culture, the tiger’s have their own version of this story from tiger’s eyes, with the focus on their own culture. And through the different versions of this story, Vo explores respective cultural details, idioms originating from one group until they spread and lose their origin, and concepts and ideas each culture values. It’s a unique way of storytelling, paired with the simplistic yet enthralling prose, that really resonated with me.

My one complaint is that this novella felt too short, the ending a little too abrupt. I wish there was another chapter to offer conclusion for all characters involved. Instead, the ending read like, oh just another day in <>’s life, off to the next story. However, this may have also been a stylistic choice, but it was one I felt frustrating.

Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. Just slightly too short, but with fantastic storytelling, characters, and the explored ideas of a story told through the lens of two different cultures.
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This was SO good, and I did love it. I love stories-within-the-story and sapphic relationships and snappy, witty dialogue. But I really wish the ending had been different.
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If I could give this more than 5 stars I really would, but alas.

I really liked The Empress of Salt and Fortune but this one was absolutely perfect in every way. We follow cleric Chih on another one of their adventures, although this time without Almost Brilliant whom I missed a lot. Long story short, they find themself in a critical situation (where them and their companions are about to become some tigers' dinner) and somehow manage to strike a deal with the tigers who will let them live if they tell a good story.

Needless to say, the story is absolutely amazing in the slow-burn-sapphics-who-will-make-you-scream-into-your-pillow sense. And also in the sense that we are reminded so many times that people will change stories and history in order to fit their conceptions and their interests with no remorse or care for the consequences and the people they offend in the process. 

The storytelling is exquisite, the inclusion of poetry is so so beautiful (and so is reading poetry aloud to your crush and baring your soul to them haha when will someone read love poems to me aha) and I loved every single line with my entire being.

I have to be honest and say that I did have a bit of a hard time at first because I find novellas to have quite abrupt beginnings where not a lot of things are explicited because of the length restrictions, and also because I have been in a reading slump for months, but after the first twenty or so pages I was completely immersed. After the exposition, the story was very easy to follow and absolutely delightful!

I see myself rereading this one very soon, actually, I just adored it that much.
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Once again, Nghi Vo's writing is just absolutely breathtaking. I loved The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and it's no surprise that Vo managed to whisk me away again in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain.  The story within a story format was enchanting, and I was completely immersed.
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Maybe you remember my review to The Empress of Salt and Fortune, which I liked a lot.
Well, I liked When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain even more!

Chih and some girl whose name I forgot travel up this mountain pass with mammoths(!), where they almost get eaten by tigers. Who demand a story from Chih or else they get eaten. 
When I type it out like this, it sounds pretty stupid, but trust me, it makes a lot of sense if you read this! It's fun, and what I especially like about this is how it portrays one and the same story in two entirely different points of views. The tigers have their version and Chih has a different one and it's just very interesting imo. It's also gay, which is a huge plus in my books.

Definitely worth a read, and I'm absolutely excited for Nghi Vo's upcoming story The Chosen and the Beautiful!

@NetGalley and Tor Books: Thank you guys for this ARC!
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I had this book on my "must buy immediately list" as soon as I heard about it because I loved the first novella in the series so much. I say series, but you can totally read these as standalone novellas. They both follow the same main character but absolutely no knowledge of the previous one is needed. This one is just as incredible, and I think I loved it MORE if that's even possible. WTTCDTM is a story within a story, and both tales are fierce and magical and beautiful. I'll try to keep this review short, since it's a novella and I don't want to give too much away!

What can you expect to find within?
- a non-binary protagonist!!! they're so frikkin cool (a cleric and recorder of stories!)
- a girl with a big mammoth and a lance
- tigers who can appear human but are DEFINITELY tigers
- stories!! everything about stories. stories about love and loss and betrayal and magic and everything. AND, how - stories can save you. or kill you
- f/f romance

What are the best parts?
I mean, literally everything I listed above haha. But also, Nghi Vo's WRITING y'all. It is lush and beautiful and transportive. I really feel completely sucked into the story while I'm reading, and to be honest I don't want to leave. I wish I could just read her words for eternity.
Personally I love the story within a story format. I love that you can make so many connections that way, and learn a lot without being too heavy handed and direct. Vo does an absolutely wonderful job of weaving the two together, and switching in and out of stories at just the right moments.
I love that the setting is so effortlessly diverse - just like the real world. Just how it should be. The magic is also seamless and fits in perfectly. I don't know how Vo did it, really. Everything fits just right, and nothing ever seems out of place or odd. I'm really in awe.

So anyway yeah Nghi Vo killed it, and so did for recognizing her genius and publishing this. Go do yourself a favor and read it!!!
P.S. Would ya LOOK at that cover?? Ahhh. just stunning.
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