The Tiger & The Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky ~
In a world where humans have an animal soul, one girl finds herself torn between her father’s ambitions and her mother’s scorn. The Wolf and Tiger is fighting each other within her. She must choose, but cutting one soul away, is like cutting away a piece of herself.
“Normally this is easy. Normally there is one soul that speaks of home, and one that speaks of the other. But Many Tracks . . . the jaws of the Wolf, the claws of the Tiger, each is as unkind as the last.”
This novel slowly, but amazingly rekindled by reading spirit. It’s been a quiet period for me in terms of reading. I find myself these days buying books, but reading less. So, when I received this book I was happy for another addition to my collection, but also set on it not just gathering dust.
It took me a while to get into the story comfortably. I say comfortably, because even though I struggled with it, I didn’t want to put it down. The story was riveting and the characters complex, I couldn’t wait to read what happens next. At first, I found Adrian’s writing style a bit hard to read. It was different than what I was used to, but it was good. So, I struggled a bit, but after the first few chapters I found myself wholly acquainted with his world, characters and style.
So, in celebration (yes, I celebrate myself) of my newfound reading spirit, I made a list of everything I loved about this book.
What I Loved About The Tiger & The Wolf
P.S. Mind the slight spoilers ahead
- The Vivid Characters: All the characters, not only your protagonist, are so complex and vividly shaped. No character was left behind in this writing process. Even the smallest character has a voice.
- Unlikely Friendships: The young protagonist, Maniye, has never had any friends before, so when she found her best friend in an old man from a foreign country, I found it to be a rather strange, but special combination. Also, I’m 110% committed to the Asmander-Venater bromance. Due to losing in battle, the notorious and blood-thirsty pirate, Venat (now Venater) is condemned by oath to follow the young champion, Asmander, as his slave. Staying true to this custom, Venater can’t attack Asmander and stays loyal to his commands. However, this leads to a lot of bickering and witty remarks between the two.
- Humans with Animal Souls: Heck yeah! This was the only super power I ever wanted when I was a kid (and kinda still want). Reading this book was like reliving my childhood play dates – just without all the bloodshed and foreshadowed doom.
- Detailed Fighting Scenes: Okay, so this was a pro & con for me. Personally I found that there were too many fighting scenes, but on the other hand it was some of the most poetic and vivid fighting scenes I’ve ever read (I haven’t read a lot though, so take my opinion with a pinch of salt).
- The Misfits: Basically, we have misfits from all corners of the world, finally meeting each other somewhere along the path, not necessarily liking or trusting each other, but supporting each other. An old man seeking knowledge about the impending doom in a foreign place, a man who feels compassion towards a slave that wants to kill him, a murderer who becomes the most trusted friend, a chieftain’s daughter being hunted by both her mother and father – When you peel off the layers, you’ll finally see a bunch of misfits and cast-aways finding solace with each other.
- Yes for the Protagonist: Maniye is a heroine I can totally get on board with. Here is a character who isn’t prophesied about or chosen by some great spirit. She has no great skills, and is in fact look down upon for having more than one soul. She is just a runaway, but somehow, she captures the attention of others, making both allies and enemies along the way as she finds her purpose in life. Funny thing is, according to me, she doesn’t really find her purpose, rather she creates it. She goes through great lengths and danger to create a meaning for her life that she can live with. It’s not enough to just survive, you need to be at peace with your heart and where you are heading. If that isn’t the type of heroin we need today, then I don’t know what is.