Title: The Tiger at Midnight
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 stars
“Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds.”
Everything about this book was basic; I enjoyed reading it, but it doesn’t have anything that makes it special. Nothing made it stand out, and there were all kinds of small things that grated on me along the way. The characters were likeable while also being pretty plain, and the plot was a tiny bit different than the norm, but it didn’t make me feel much of anything. There were all kinds of hints that gave things away as the story progressed, and I would have preferred a major reveal later on instead of not-so-subtle breadcrumbs here and there. “Kunal always felt a connection to animals”, “it was like he was entrancing the animal, but that didn’t make sense, only royals had that power”, etc; readers aren’t clueless and if you hammer ideas at them it’s only going to make a reveal anticlimactic or it’s going to be annoying in the event that it’s a misdirect. The story was really predictable, and I had a whole list of personal predictions, most of which came true. Even though the story wasn’t full of surprising twists, it was just different enough from anything I’ve read recently to keep my attention til the end.
– a forest that glows, a missing princess, an elite rebel group
– a solid base for what could be an enjoyable series if the story becomes more original
– could be cliché at times, didn’t stand out in the genre
– everything was basic and a lot of the story was predictable
– I had trouble picturing the scenes as I read, and some of the descriptions and writing didn’t feel like they fit
For an assassin with a huge reputation, Esha isn’t much of an assassin, and I wasn’t very impressed by what we were shown of her “skills”. She was pretty bad at being stealthy and keeping herself from being found; her path crossed with Kunal’s a ridiculous number of times, even when he wasn’t specifically looking for her. Kunal had pretty weak loyalties to his country right off the bat, especially for a soldier raised by the commander, and he started to question his loyalties with the slightest push. I understand he had a difficult history with the ruling party, but it only took the uncovering of a few lies he had been told for him to start changing his mind and questioning everything.
Despite Esha getting herself caught numerous times, I enjoyed the cat and mouse of Kunal chasing her from city to city. They seemed to be pretty evenly matched, and although their views of each other changed faster than I would have liked, it was fun seeing them try to outsmart each other. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of the other rebels in the books to come; it seemed like they had a good chemistry and could get into some trouble together. The world building was there and could have used some work, but I can see it progressing into something memorable as the series continues. Overall, I have to say that this book was pretty average; there wasn’t anything glaring that made it unenjoyable, but there were a bunch of little negatives that added up. The positives weren’t anything that made the story stand out, but I do think that I will continue with the series as it is released, because I can see the potential for the story to go somewhere in the future.