I haven’t read any high fantasies in a while, so picking up The Tiger at Midnight was actually really refreshing, and I’m so happy to say that I adored reading this book.
For nearly five hundred pages, I read it pretty quickly and was definitely obsessed with Esha and Kunal’s dynamic. The world and story was so engrossing, and although there were a few things I think could have been improved, overall, I’m absolutely dying for the second book to come out and want so much more from this!
My favorite part was definitely Esha and Kunal themselves!
I mean WOW THE CHEMISTRY.
I am swooning because I absolutely adored their dynamic in this book. It was so cat-and-mouse for the first half and lots of one-upping and enemies-to-lovers and I gobbled it all up. Give me more.
The tension was there and you could really feel the chemistry between Esha and Kunal, which I really adored and loved seeing. I feel like they really suited each other, and the way Teerdhala framed their truces and one-upping and conflicting loyalties was amazing.
I think they remained dynamic and individual while still having a romance, which I actually loved. Esha and Kunal were still their own people with their own wants and desires, and that made this book so much more enjoyable, because we really got to dive into that inner conflict.
As for the second half, their dynamic changed a little as things between them changed, and I was cheering them on the whole way through, unlike some other fantasies’ romances that I’ve read.
I mean—look at them! Esha is so fierce, and Teerdhala doesn’t assert her dominance through brutal, purposeless killing, thankfully. She’s not emotionless, and I really liked that.
And Kunal really goes through so many dynamic experiences throughout the book with the way he learns and changes from a loyal soldier to something else. I think he went through the most growth in the story, and am really interested in seeing where Teerdhala takes them in the second novel.
So yes! The characters were amazing and I love them and I can’t wait to see more of them next year.
The worldbuilding was rich and immersive.
It was really distinct and beautiful, and I love how dynamic it was without being segmented. From harsher, drought-like areas to mountains to jungles and monsoons, Teerdhala was able to establish this really fluid world that I fell in love with.
There’s also some magic woven in there, and although I don’t think Teerdhala has revealed her full hand and given us all the elements of the picture yet, I can feel something building up and actions that will need to be taken in the second book to address the bigger issue at hand.
The Tiger at Midnight starts the series with a hunt for an assassin that sort of pulls the reader into both the characters and where the world might be going, and although I loved this, I am still very excited to see the plot expand in the second book.
I actually grasped the politics pretty well?
This is the other part of the plot expansion that I think will be happening—although a lot of this book is Esha and Kunal chasing/running from each other, I did get all these pieces of politics without feeling like I was being info-dumped on, and it was really rich and interesting.
What was happening between Jansa and Dharka definitely has big plans looming on the horizon, and I love how Teerdhala revealed that not everything is black and white, cut and dry. There’s that area of moral grayness that both Kunal and Esha feel and experience with regards to the conflict and politics, and I found this part of the story to be nicely complex.
There were a few bits that felt a little convenient.
This is my biggest quibble with this book, but honestly I ended up overlooking most of this while reading because I was just so gosh darn in love with Esha and Kunal.
Some parts of the characters’ background that I can’t spoil just felt…a little sudden, I guess? I wanted a little more foreshadowing and buildup to these two reveals, because although they fit the plot, it just felt convenient and like “oh wow would you look at that coincidence!” rather than built up to and hinted at.
I feel like there was no way for us to guess that this would happen because it just kind of…did. So yeah, it’s hard to explain without spoiling it, but there were two reveals that just didn’t have enough justification in my opinion.
There were also a few loose ends (like why didn’t she notice she was missing a scroll?) and sometimes it felt like items (i.e. her whips or the pin) just were conveniently forgotten and not brought out when they didn’t need to be. It could just be that I’m not a great reader, but I do think there might have been one or two moments where parts of the timeline/plot might have been skimmed over a bit. (Keep in mind that I’m reading the uncorrected version.)
In the end, I really enjoyed reading The Tiger at Midnight and can’t wait for the sequel!
Still, I just had so much fun with this book and I adore Esha and Kunal. I want more and more from them, and I really want to see where Teerdhala takes this world.
I’d definitely recommend if you like
- enemies to lovers in a fantasy setting, with banter and one-upping! (think The Cruel Prince)
- rich and sprawling worlds (think Wicked Saints—two kingdoms and conflicting interests)
- conflicted characters and moral grayness (think Descendant of the Crane)
Now for the desperate wait for the sequel!
Esha is the legendary assassin for the rebels, the Viper. Taking down General Hotha is her most important mission to date, but when she arrives and someone kills Hotha moments beforehand and frames the Viper for the crime, Esha knows something bigger is going on.
Tasked with finding the Viper and getting revenge for his uncle’s murder, Kunal leaves the Fort and chases down the Viper, hoping he’ll be the first to find them and bring them back, gaining the coveted seat of the commander.
But there is more to the conflict between Jansa and Dharka than either believes, and when Kunal and Esha meet, an unimaginable chain of events unfolds.
Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology.
Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!