In book review

REVIEW: The Tiger at Midnight

Title: Tiger at Midnight
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: April 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭,5/5

"Never greet a tiger at midnight, 
for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds."

The Tiger at Midnight is yet another highly anticipated 2019 favorite of mine, which is why, as soon as I received my copy I started reading. I highly enjoyed the atmosphere, the characters and most of the plot, so let's dig into this review!

What is this book about?
Esha, the legendary assassin by the name of the Viper is out for revenge. Her mission: to kill the military general. When she encounters Kunal, the general's nephew and (seemingly) loyal soldier in the army, the two engage in a cat and mouse game that may result in a detrimental ending.

“It never failed to Delight her, 
knowing that all these soldiers, these men, 
were terrified of her.” 

What did I think about The Tiger at Midnight?
So.. the premise should give you a clue as to why I was so excited to read this book. Female assassins... hello? GIVE ME FEMALE ASSASSINS ANY DAY! The characters, then, are essentially why I'm giving this book such a high rating. The reason why I thought this book was such a strong debut was because I adored Kunal and Esha's dynamic. These two... made my so giddy. From the moment the two interact (very very early on in the book) I was hooked! Kunal is a soldier, who isn't actually cut out to be a soldier. His soft soul starkly contrasts the horrible deeds he has to execute as part of the army. Then there's Esha... oh boy... Esha. I loved her character a lot: from the way Esha interacts with Kunal - kind of standoff-ish, but simultaneously not immune to his kind soul, to her secret identity as the Viper. Her character is layered, and really drew me in from the very start. The hate-to-love trope that seems to be the focus of their dynamic very much captured my attention, and the contrasting alliances of both Esha and Kunal delivered some interesting angst!

As for the writing, it's quite simple but effective. There are some good and powerful quotes sprinkled throughout the book, but it's not overly filled with poetic language. I did think the plot was solid in the sense that I was immediately pulled in, rather than having to wait to be captured. I do think the writing picks up and gets more climactic as we near the ending, but that's due to the world-building, which is explained rather slowly in the beginning. The last fourth of The Tiger at Midnight, then, marked the best part for me - plot-wise, and also introduced some more characters (the rebels, and Kunal's fellow soldiers) that spark the reader's interest. I do hope to see more of these characters in the future books because there's certainly something interesting there!

2019 being the year of diverse fantasies, I really like that a large part of the book featured Indian history and Hindu mythology, which I feel like a lot of people might be able to relate to. I, myself, feel that fantasies get a lot more rich if they feature some kind of cultural component at its root, which was also the case here. The way the author has weaved elements of Indian culture into the story was so wonderfully done and really helped to set the story apart from other books that feature a similar plot.

In my opinion, The Tiger at Midnight is such a solid debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what else the author has in store for us in the next book! I will definitely keep on reading this series for both the characters and the story. What a treat this was!


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