Review: The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala (Tiger at Midnight #1)

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala // VBC Review

The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight #1)
Swati Teerdhala
Published: April 23, 2019 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Purchase at: Amazon or BookShop
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Ten years ago nearly the entire royal family of Jansa was killed in a coup that put a pretender on the throne, divided the Jansan and Dharkan nations, and has started taking a toll on the land itself.

Like many, Esha lost her family in the coup, barely escaping with her own life. In the intervening years, Esha has honed her abilities, and her need for revenge, by forming the persona of The Viper—a mysterious assassin working for the rebels. She’s worked in secret for years, only a select few know of her true identity. On a mission to assassinate Jansa’s ruthless General Hotha, she finds him already murdered, and The Viper framed for the deed. Esha will need to figure out the traitor in her midst while thwarting the pursuit of Jansan soldiers who would see her answer for her crimes.    

Kunal is one such soldier. Beyond that, however, he’s the nephew of the murdered General. He’s got a more personal stake in finding The Viper. But when he comes face-to-face with Esha, he begins to question everything he’s been taught while in the Fort and starts remembering a past he long ago buried.

With Esha and Kunal on opposing sides of a brewing war, is common ground possible?

I don’t know where I was when this was released last year. Obviously sleeping because I don’t know how I let this awesome story elude my book radar. 

I truly loved everything about The Tiger at Midnight. From the opening chapter, through the cat-and-mouse between Esha and Kunal, I was hooked. I loved the short and to-the-point chapters, I think these lend themselves well to the quick pacing and the continuous revolving of point of view between Esha and Kunal. Their chemistry is off the charts and I loved the heated moments while they still weren’t sure if they even liked each other, but couldn’t stop chasing after one another.

The way that Swati Teerdhala really puts into focus the conflict that arises within Kunal between wanting to see justice served for his uncle’s murder and coming to realize that the life he was living was full of injustices to the people of Jansa comes across so clear. The one constant that Kunal comes to know is Esha even though she too has taken lives for the cause she supports. The pretender to the throne is still painted as the main villain of the piece, but you get views from both sides, and you see that while one may be more justified in their actions than the other, you see that they’ve both committed atrocities. No one’s hands are completely clean.

Of course a book with spies and assassins is going to have its fair share of twists and turns and revelations thrown in and I think all of these are handled well and remain plausible to the plot. I still feel like we’re building up for a more monumental reveal down the road though. There is a bigger mystery unfolding in the background regarding a rumor surrounding the coup a decade ago which I’m excited to see how that is carried over to the next book which, thankfully is out and the end of this month.

I will say I’m happy that this one doesn’t end on some kind of gut-wrenching cliffhanger although the story is by no means wrapped up. You can bet this time around I won’t be letting the next book pass me by.

Sexual Content: Kissing

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