Review: The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala (Tiger at Midnight #2)

The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala

The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy #2)
Swati Teerdhala
Published: May 26, 2020 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Purchase at: Amazon or Book Shop
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Reviewed by: Amy

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started check out VBC’s review of The Tiger at Midnight.

Esha and her team of rebel Crescent Blades—those in opposition to the Pretender that currently sits on the Jansan throne—along with former soldier Kunal, must use the peace talks going on during the Sun Mela celebration as a way to gain access to Princess Reha—the rightful heir to the Jansan throne. Only Reha’s blood will be able to restore vitality to the land.

Posing as an advisor to Prince Harun, Esha is able to insinuate herself within the upper echelons of the nobility in order to gain support for their cause. Meanwhile Kunal goes back to being a dedicated Senap soldier, infiltrating security during the celebrations. While everyone has a part to play to pull off their plan, loyalties will be tested, secrets will be revealed, and Esha and Kunal may find a divide between their ultimate goals.

Where the previous book, The Tiger at Midnight, felt like a cat-and-mouse caper, The Archer at Dawn has a very court intrigue vibe about it. I also felt like the world opened up quite a bit as many people gather for the Sun Mela. It wasn’t only the outside world that opened up, but inside as well as we get more interactions between Esha and her team. I liked seeing the bond that they have developed over the years and the trust they’ve built, which is a huge component of the story.

I really like how this leads into exploring more of the relationship being built between Kunal and Esha, because they are still building. I think that Swati Teerdhala did a wonderful job of taking what was started between them in the first book and continuing it into this book, especially the as-yet-unaddressed potential conflicts between them. Kunal who wants a more peaceful solution to the conflict rather than more bloodshed, whereas Esha is of the mind to get the job done however possible.

Their conflicts of course go hand-in-hand with the conflict surrounding the entire trilogy. More specifically the idea of being on the side of a cause, but not knowing exactly how you serve that cause. And what happens when someone you care about wants to go about things a different way from you, even when the result will be the same? It’s about how our experiences influence the way we see the world and, possibly, how we deal with it.

While I loved how complex the world has become, I felt like the pacing was uneven and meandered at times. The story was slower to develop than the first book and all the twists were packed in to the end of the book. Still, I’m super excited to see how things continue to develop between Esha and Kunal. That explosive ending really ups the stakes for the final book.

Sexual Content: Kissing

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