Review – The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

Title The Tiger at Midnight

Author Swati Teerdhala

Description from Amazon

A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.

Esha lost everything in the royal coup—and as the legendary rebel known as the Viper, she’s made the guilty pay. Now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha. 

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has only been growing more volatile. 

When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.

As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.

Initial Thoughts

Being of Indian descent, this book really piqued my interest. I have never read anything that incorporated Hindu or Indian mythology and history into a story.

Cover Art

I think the cover of this book is really pretty. I love the purple, yellow, and orange color themes. I also like the magical almost firework-esque design of the girl. I hope that image means there will be magic in this book 😍. Also, my inner conspiracy theorist, who lives to make connections (even when they don’t exist), wants to think that the girl crouching down is a nod to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Crouching, tigers? Come on, it’s definitely a valid connection!

Things I Loved

  • All of the nods to Indian Culture
    I loved that Esha wore saris.  Although, I can’t imagine how she accomplished her work as the Viper while wearing a sari, I loved reading the descriptions of the fashion in this book.  It brought me back to my childhood when my grandmother from India moved in with us.  She brought so many beautiful saris and we used to play dress up.  I loved the nostalgia the fashion in this book brought out.
    The food!  I actually don’t really like Indian food, but I am quite familiar with it.  I loved that food was super authentic to things I recognized.  The scene when Kunal helped Esha eat a roti reminded me of snacking on rotis with grandma.
    The names.  I should expect nothing less from a story pitched as Hindu mythology, but I loved how the names and the setting were so reminiscent of India itself.
  • The full circle elements.  Everything in this book felt like it belonged.  No loose ends, nothing left unmentioned unintentionally.  I thought this book was incredibly thorough in its details.  Things that I had forgotten about came back at just the right moment.  It was perfect.
  • The overarching storyline.  I thought this book concluded perfectly.  There was a bit of a cliffhanger element, but I had a sense of finality that this arc of the story was finished and our characters are moving on to the next phase of the story.  I really enjoyed the set up laid out in this book for the next books.  The political landscape is fascinating and not overbearing and I hope to see this really take shape in the next book.

Something I Wasn’t Crazy About

While I might be of Indian descent, I struggle with accents.  The narrator of the audio book had a slight Indian accent and it made understanding the names of the people and places a bit difficult.  That being said, after getting used to her voice, I was able to understand her.  However, the family trees of the ruling families were hard for me to follow.  My only criticism would be to include a family tree somewhere.

Series Value

I loved this book.  I am absolutely going to read the next book in the series without question.  I thought it was fantastically written and all the more spectacular because it was a debut novel for Swati Teerdhala.

Final Thoughts

This book was amazing.  I absolutely loved it.  It was thorough, brought me back to my childhood, well written, and was filled with characters that I want to be best friends with.

I haven’t read much by Indian authors and I was so pleased to be able to connect with my own heritage through this story.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal — the main male and female characters in both of these books are super similar.  There is also a strong element of hidden identities (Esha is the Viper and Zahira is the Hunter).  They are also strong debut novels of 2019.
  • The Darkest Bloom by P.M. Freestone — this is another strong start to a series with a similar setting to The Tiger at Midnight.  While this book isn’t published in the US yet, you can order it from Book Depository from the UK or wait until November 2019 to read it.  But, definitely check it out if you liked The Tiger at Midnight.
  • Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan — this is another book that’s not published yet, but once it is, give it a try if you liked The Tiger at Midnight.  While they are not entirely similar, I really enjoyed the plot twists in both books and the thoroughness of the storylines.

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