ARC Review: The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) by K. Arsenault Rivera

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Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

review

 

**** Huge thank you to Tor for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!****

This book was very unique and I feel like my mind is still processing the sheer amount of world building in it as well! It’s also a diverse read featuring two Asian women and a F/F romance which was amazing!

PLOT

First things first, this is a slower paced book and not the action-packed, fast-paced adventure I thought it was going to be. This is more of a character-driven story which was fine because they did an excellent job with it. However, once I got about half way through it slowed down significantly and while I was still interested I wasn’t AS interested anymore. This is pretty much the only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of a full five.

Another reason I can’t give a full five is that when I started reading I was drowning in information and incredibly confused. Major info dumping and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure out how the names worked because each main race, Hokkran and Qorin, has a different style of naming and therefore each character was named differently according to who was addressing them. It added a lot to the world building but like I said it took a while to get used to and figure it out.

The world building was absolutely kick-ass, this was my favorite part of the book to be honest. It was all very unique and interesting, I was craving more answers concerning the mythology and world building especially after finishing the book. There’s just so much content and it’s all fascinating and pretty immersive. I need more!

The POV and narration was also really unique as it jumps between the current timeline and from Shizuka’s 3rd Person POV to her reading a letter from Shefali told in the 1st Person POV. It also skips around in time starting with the birth and childhood of the characters into the current time where they are in their 20’s. Once again this took a little getting used to but I thought it was a really distinctive way to tell the story.

The writing was amazing as well, one of the other things I really enjoyed. It was beautifully written and easy to immerse myself in.

The ending was pretty solid and tied everything up neatly but still leaving room for more in the sequel. I would definitely love to see more of the world building explored especially since we essentially know EVERYTHING about the characters now since reading about them from birth. Definitely excited to see a little more demon-slaying!

characters

As I mentioned earlier this is a very character driven book and therefore the most important happenings in the story focus around the characters, their drives, and their emotions more so than any straightforward plot line.

I really liked the main characters Shizuka and Shefali, mostly Shefali though! They’re both incredibly headstrong girls with incredible talent but they also have their flaws and if there’s anything I love it’s a flawed heroine who knows their faults. I love how they both admit to their strengths and weaknesses both and rely on each other.

They were definitely well developed and very complex.

I also loved the strong, positive female friendship that is represented between them that blossoms into a romance.

The secondary characters were also done well especially O-Shizuru and Alshara, Shizuka’s and Shefali’s mothers respectfully. Seriously, their mothers are total badasses and if they grow up to even be an ounce like their mothers the next book in the series will be fantastic! I also really liked Shefali’s cousin, Otgar, and her brother Kenshiro. Shizuka’s uncle, the Emperor, made for a good sort of antagonist too.

romance

This was a nice slow burn romance and as mentioned it’s a diverse F/F romance as well. I loved how the girls grew from a friendship into a romance.

They were so sweet, adorable, and passionate. I don’t ever want them to be apart! I will go down with this ship!

in conclusion

Overall I really did enjoy this book but I would have liked a bit more action, more answers for the world building, and less info dumps! Still I will anxiously be awaiting the sequel just to see where they will go now since we have done the past and will move onto the character’s futures!

What I Loved:

  • The world building and mythology
  • Unique narrative style
  • Beautiful writing
  • Complex, developed, and likable characters
  • Slow burn and sweet F/F romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Pacing got very slow after 50%
  • Would have liked a bit more info on the world building
  • Not a lot of action
  • Major info dumps

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this book out as it’s a very unique fantasy book with a really neat premise and beautiful writing. It is inspired by Asian culture and includes a F/F romance, however, if you’re looking for something action packed this may not be for you.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

review

Let me just say that YOU WILL CRY! This story isn’t the happy, fun Neverland that we all know it’s a dark, dispiriting one but all at once the best word to describe this book is beautiful.

PLOT

This story is about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan’s relationship but mostly it’s about Tiger Lily as a person and there’s also a lot more to it than just that. This book has a very unique narrative style as it’s told from the perspective of Tinkerbell as she follows different characters around and can read their thoughts. I found that having Tink narrate added a LOT more insight into each character than we would have gotten with a different point of view.

We start the story with Tiger Lily at a younger age and watch as she grows and Tink notices that Tiger Lily is a lot different from the people of her tribe and therefore doesn’t quite fit in. There are many different events that come into play (I don’t want to spoil anything!) but ultimately everything pushes Tiger Lily towards Peter and from there we watch how things play out with the different characters on the island. There are quite a few twists in the story that I hate to say are pretty heart-wrenching but overall add so much complexity, all the little threads weaving together.

Like I mentioned right away this isn’t a happy story and Neverland isn’t the care-free place we have seen before, it’s a very dark and sad place full of flawed and broken people. Many things that occur in the plot are deeply saddening, once again I’ll tell you YOU WILL CRY!

The pacing is very slow in this book but it isn’t out of place here and I didn’t mind it at all. “Tiger Lily” is very much a character driven story and is not action packed by any means but I feel a faster pacing would tell a completely different story than the wonderful one we already got.

And that writing! It’s absolutely gorgeous! Jodi Lynn Anderson managed to write something that’s just so beautiful, heart-wrenching, and magical all at the same time. The writing is wonderfully descriptive and just fit the story perfectly.

I also just have to add for any Peter Pan fan (like myself) there are a bunch of very fun twists on things from the original story!

characters

I think it’s easy to say the characters are the best part of this story, everyone is very complex and has so much personality. Everyone is flawed in their own ways but they all also have their own strengths.

Tiger Lily is such a wonderful protagonist she’s strong, brave, and fearless but she’s also incredibly lonely. She has the complete acceptance of only a few people in her tribe such as Tik Tok, her foster father, and her friends Pine Sap and Moon Eye yet she still feels very alone. Tiger Lily is also more capable of doing things the men of her tribe do versus the things the women do and I loved that she could care less in this matter what people think. Girl power!

Peter himself is as lonely as Tiger Lily in some ways but he’s still a bit of the mischievous boy we all know and love.

We also get to see some different spins on the Lost Boys, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, and even Smee.

romance

I’m extremely torn about the romance! On one hand a big part of the story is Tiger Lily and Peter’s relationship and I loved it but on the other hand I’ll always be a lover of Peter and Wendy…..

To be fair though I loved how Tiger Lily and Peter’s brokeness drew them together and their interactions were heart-warming at times but also they did have a lot of problems. They weren’t meant for long-term, they’re too unstable and dispirited for each other. They both needed people more encouraging and stable for themselves.

I did like how their romance ended up but also at the same time it DESTROYED ME!

in conclusion

I loved the story and don’t really have to much to complain about but at the same time it just seems to be more of a four star read for me than a five star read.

What I Loved:

  • The complexity of the characters
  • Tinkerbell’s narrative style
  • The relationships/romances
  • The plot twists and events (even though the wrecked me)
  • The references to the original Peter Pan tale
  • The writing is beautiful

What I Didn’t Like:

  • A certain thing that occurs at the very end…it ruined me
  • I wish it had been longer
  • I would have liked more insight and story time with Captain Hook, Wendy, and The Lost Boys

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book, period. If you love retellings, read this book. If you love Peter Pan, read this book. If you’re looking for a story that is both parts beautiful and heart-wrenching, read this book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy