The Night Tiger is a beautiful story about the intertwined lives of Ren and Ji Lin who live in Malaysia 1931. A mix between historical fiction, supernatural fantasy and murder mystery – it will definitely tick a few boxes for readers.
Choo has created a vivid and vibrant story where ancient superstitions coexist alongside modern medicine. I loved the way the story is told with real life and also a bit of supernatural in such a straight forward way and as such The Night Tiger is very easy to read.
Throughout the story, we have alternating points of view from our main characters – Ji Lin and Ren. I really enjoyed the way Choo portrayed Ji Lin as a strong and likable heroine. She struggles with being an intelligent girl in a time when it isn’t valued for a woman but while she was bound by social expectations, I still liked and respected her. And also loved her responsible and caring qualities.
Some may be a little turned off by Ji Lin’s unconventional love interest in Shin, her stepbrother. Because it is an unexpected relationship that I’m not sure needed to happen, and as such feels a little strange in the storyline. I would have been content with her not finding love throughout the story as it was easy to identify with Ji Lin up until that point.
I really liked the way Choo explained some of the origins of superstitions and the explanations behind the way words are lucky and unlucky. She includes some Chinese and Malaysian mythology, particularly including Malay folklore about weretigers. Though I usually HATE the addition of dreams to drive the story along, in this case, it actually worked for me. Rather used as a tool for the dead to reach out they weren’t too vague and also not used purely to push the story along.
Overall I really enjoyed The Night Tiger. It was really unique with some wonderful characters. It certainly kept me very engaged though in points it dragged just a little. The ending wasn’t amazing but still, a great pick for a beach read!
Have you read The Night Tiger? What did you think? Leave a comment below! And also make sure to check out my latest post reviewing Brandon Sanderson’s YA Fantasy Skyward.
ABOUT THE NIGHT TIGER
11-year-old Ren’s master dies, he makes one last request of his Chinese
houseboy: that Ren find his severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and
reunite it with his body. Ren has 49 days, or else his master’s soul will roam
the earth, unable to rest in peace.
Ji Lin always wanted to be a doctor, but as a girl in 1930s Malaysia, apprentice dressmaker is a more suitable occupation. Secretly, though, Ji Lin also moonlights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her beloved mother’s Mahjong debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir: a severed finger. Convinced the finger is bad luck, Ji Lin enlists the help of her erstwhile stepbrother to return it to its rightful owner.
As the 49 days tick down, and a prowling tiger wreaks havoc on the town, Ji Lin and Ren’s lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined.