*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: The Tiger at Midnight
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.
Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.
Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.
Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the first book in Swati Teerdhala’s debut fantasy trilogy captivates with electric romance, stunning action, and the fierce bonds that hold people together—and drive them apart.
Review: This was such a fun, quick fantasy to read. I absolutely loved the cat-and-mouse between Esha and Kunal and I definitely need more of that energy ASAP. While I did love their little game of catch-me-if-you-can, I did find other elements in the story to be lacking. For one, I’m kind of confused about the history a bit. There were also a ton of subplots introduced and I wasn’t really sure where the story was leading beyond Esha and Kunal’s game.
I think I also wanted to see more of Esha’s assassin ways. She just kind of felt like more of a rebel with a bad attitude and I guess I wanted more proof of her as this mysterious Viper. Sure she acted all tough and menacing, but there wasn’t much action to back it up.
I’m also super confused about Kunal’s little revelation and the magic aspect that is introduced because I’m not really sure how it fit in. Then there’s trying to sort out who is related and who hates each other and I didn’t find myself caring about any characters beyond Esha and Kunal because they were so wrapped up in each other the entire book. Sure, there were some fun secondary characters, but I can’t think of any that really stand out to me. We only really get surface level impressions of them, whereas with Esha and Kunal there is some depth.
I will say that the writing style was definitely enjoyable to read and I did make it through the book pretty quick. There was some great banter between the protagonists and we all know I’m a sucker for Quality Banter. Overall, while there was a lack of explanation and backstory, the relationship between Kunal and Esha definitely made up for it somewhat.