The Tiger’s Daughter is an f/f adult fantasy story that follows two warrior princesses.
It’s the first book in the series Their Bright Ascendency, and the third book I’ve read for the Tome Topple Readathon. f/f adult fantasy isn’t as common as it should be, so this was one of my most anticipated books for the second half of this year. Most reviews I’ve read weren’t good, but I really liked this.
I think it’s really important to get into this book with the right expectations. It’s a tome (500+ pages) and it’s told through letters. It’s slow, really slow. And if you’re expecting an epic fantasy adventure that just happens to have a f/f romance in it, you will be disappointed.
The Tiger’s Daughter is mainly a slow-burn love story. Yes, Shefali and Shizuka will go on adventures, will duel demons and kill tigers. But the story isn’t about that, it’s about their love for each other. I didn’t think that was a flaw.
I loved Shefali and Shizuka, both as characters and as a couple. We see them growing up from the PoV of Shefali, who is writing the letters. We see them go through challenges and fights, and still they get out of them, together.
The side characters didn’t disappoint either.
I also really liked that there was a trans character. Ren doesn’t appear for many scenes, but I loved her and I want to know if we’ll see more of her in the future books.
The pacing wasn’t perfect, but that’s often the case with books that are told through letters or mixed media. The writing got a bit melodramatic sometimes, but for the most part I liked it.
The premise didn’t make much sense – Shefali is writing letters to Shizuka, and sometimes she says “I don’t need to describe [x] to you, but [description of x]”, and she’s telling Shizuka things she already knows. In the end the whole thing did make a little bit more sense, but still.
The worldbuilding was inspired by the cultures of Japan, Mongolia and sometimes China, and as some reviews will tell you, it isn’t done well (you can’t solve your inaccuracies by changing some letters here and there and hoping your readers won’t recognize what you’re talking about). Hokkaro is as Japanese as Ravka from Shadow and Bone is Russian or as Kenettra from The Young Elites is Italian – not at all. It may seem Japanese from an outsider perspective, but it isn’t, and if you, unlike me, are familiar with Japanese culture, that’s probably going to bother you. So, consider that.
I really liked the worldbuilding, especially what we see of the Qorin (the nomads). Maybe it’s because everything was written in Shefali’s PoV and Shefali is Qorin, but I felt like we never really got to know Hokkaran customs. The descriptions were really pretty, that’s true, but they didn’t feel as real. The way Shefali talked about the Qorin, her love for her people – that did, and it was one of my favorite parts of the book.
11/11/18: reread, raising rating from 4 to 4.5 stars. I’m so glad this book exist, we do not usually get fated love stories for f/f content, or stories that are completely focused on the f/f romance outside of contemporary. Also, I love Shefali and Shizuka both as characters and as a couple, I care about them enough that I was never bored during this reread, and this is a long book
My rating: ★★★★½