The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover - a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty - and discover how truth can survive becoming history.
Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and the Singing Hills Cycle in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, a mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
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- Josh Angel
The world is more interesting than the story...
I returned to this novella series after finding the first novella to be entertaining enough to read, but not my favorite. I find that once again, I am not connecting with this series.
I can appreciate that I may not be the right audience for this book. As a 40ish straight white male, there are elements here that I don't necessarily personally identify with, but I can appreciate that others will find these novellas more meaningful due to that representation. There are plenty of stories about white guys, and I'm glad that stories such as these are out there for people with different life experiences from my own can read something they identify with. That being said, I've been reading books with characters who's sexual orientation and/or ethnic identity don't match my own since I was a teen, so those themes are just a background detail for me, and doesn't change my enjoyment of the story either way. As long as the story is GOOD, I am entertained...
...and this case, I once again just found the story to be just OK, not good. I did like this more than the first book, as the menace of the tigers gave the story more tension, but otherwise, it was just entertaining enough to keep me reading. The one element I really enjoyed from the first novella, the talking bird, was absent, which was disappointing as it was the only reason I decided to give this series another chance. Had the book been much longer I wouldn't likely have finished.
I did like the addition of the tigers, and the mammoth rider was fun. I think the world that these characters are inhabiting is more interesting than the characters and actual story. If the author can up the anti on the story, then I think this series may finally click with me. I am also warming up to the narrator, who has a very understated acting style, but a pleasant voice.
I'm not sure if I'll read the next installment, assuming there is one. If the premise sounds particularly interesting, I may give the series one more try. I really WANT to like it, but I'm not quite there yet...