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.