Review – The Tiger’s Daughter

Posted October 24, 2017 by Nicky in Reviews / 8 Comments

Cover of The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault RiveraThe Tiger’s Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera

Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 3rd October 2017

I wanted to love The Tiger’s Daughter, because there’s queer protagonists with a love story, a non-medieval-Europe fantasy setting, etc, etc. The writing at first promised to be beautiful, but I found the segue into the series of letters from one of the characters really off-putting. It makes it all second person (which can be done wonderfully, but wore on me here), and it requires one protagonist to tell the other stories as if she wasn’t there… despite them actually being present. So “you said to me, we did x, I did y to you”… It just feels too contrived at that point. It’s also rather slow-paced: this is less a fantasy story with romance, and more a romance story with fantasy. Which is fine, but the other things dragged it down for me.

In addition, this isn’t really my area, but I did notice a few warning signs. It’s not “own voices”, and it shows; it’s the typical flower-petals-and-beautiful-calligraphy version of Japan we keep getting served up, and several people from East Asia or of East Asian descent have been writing highly critical reviews about the racial stereotyping. I don’r know enough to really understand what’s going on there, but I believe people that it’s made them deeply uncomfortable.

That and the pacing meant I didn’t finish this, in the end. It’s a shame, because the cover is gorgeous, the concept sounds fun, and I did get somewhat into the relationship between the two characters. And yet. So my writing is very much for “as far as I read” — it’s possible the pace picks up and that issue at least is resolved. I wasn’t willing to hold my breath for it.

Rating: 2/5

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8 responses to “Review – The Tiger’s Daughter

  1. Oof, this is the second really negative review for this book I’ve seen this week. Have yet to see a positive one so think I’ll be avoiding it. Thanks for reading it first! 🙂

  2. I admit, my enthusiasm for this one has sort of fizzled after seeing a lot of reviews similar to yours, pointing out many of the same issues. I’m also East Asian, but in my view there is a fine line between stereotyping versus celebrating and/or paying homage to the culture, so I’m actually quite curious to see where I’ll fall when it comes to this one.
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    • I didn’t feel qualified to comment on that, really, beyond the fact that I know there are people who are who didn’t love it. Mostly the narrative style drove me bananas.

  3. The end definitely picks up but I still very much agree with your review! While I ended up having a good time, this is a complex book to review and not for everyone

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