I *have* others of Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s books (one may even be signed), but I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them because my TBR shelf is a disaster, and then the book club I nominally go to here was reading THE TIGER & THE WOLF so I got it and started it and no that’s not true
I played it cagey, ladies and gentlemen. I used the preview option on my Kobo and got THAT, and it suggested I had like 80 pages of preview to read and I was like “awesome” and I got to like page 39 and SUDDENLY THERE WAS NO MORE BOOK
well, THAT was awful, so I immediately bought the book and read the rest of it!
Honestly, by page 40 I was already in despair over the intelligence and originality of the worldbuilding, and by page 100 I’d concluded I should probably never try to write anything epic again because I was just never going to come up with something as cool and well constructed and fresh as this and I needed a pit with a pony to console myself.
In Tchaikovsky’s world, true people have animal forms and souls as well as their human forms and souls. Maniye, daughter of the Tiger *and* the Wolf, is supposed to choose between her two animal souls, while Asmander, conflicted son of another tribe, comes to ask the Wolf clan for assistance from their legendary warriors. Hijinks, to summarize wildly, ensue.
The plot is, I’m afraid, literally circular. There are a lot of chases around the top of the world where the Wolf tribe rules. There are a lot of captures and escapes. And on one level that’s all that happens, and I admit by the third or forth iteration I had grown a little weary of it. There were Big Plot Twists that I predicted very early compared to their eventual reveals, although I’m not certain they were so much Obviously Telegraphed as I’m just pretty good at figuring those out.
But despite those flaws, the book really did keep me going. I was drawn into the relationships, which grew increasingly complex as the book went on. As is not uncommon in epic fantasy (for me, at least), the secondary characters were my favourites, but I was absolutely invested in Maniye’s journey, which I thought was a really solid coming of age story. In fact, I found out htree days after finishing THE TIGER AND THE WOLF that its sequel, THE BEAR AND THE SERPENT, was coming out this month, and I promptly went and broke my Very Important Unbreakable Rule about not buying e-books that cost more than €9.99, because, uh, I wanted the next book, and that Very Important Unbreakable Rule only applies when I want it to. :)
(I have no idea what the book club thought of the book, though, because although I finished it in time, there was a political rally in Dublin the night of the book club, and since I was in Dublin that day, anyway, well… :))