When the Tiger Came down the Mountain

(The Singing Hills Cycle #2)

by

eBook, 176 pages

English language

Published Aug. 24, 2020 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.

ISBN:
9781250786166

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (13 reviews)

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and The Singing Hills Cycle in this mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.

4 editions

A magical tale about a magical tiger that involves more magical tigers.

4 stars

An interesting and entertaining story involving a travelling monk who goes around collecting stories and records for their temple. In this story, he gets a ride on a mammoth to get over a mountain pass. But it goes awry when tigers attack them, forcing them to hide in a shelter on the mountain.

The tigers turn out to be magical tigers who can transform into human form and talk. When they discover the monk is recording stories, they ask the monk to tell them the human version of a story involving another magical tiger and a scholar (before they will probably get eaten).

As the story progress, the tigers interject and present their own version of events in the story. While this very entertain back-and-forth of storytelling is going on, the monk and the mammoth rider also have to think of a way to avoid getting eaten. Things would come …

Highly recommended

4 stars

I wasn’t quite sure how Nghi Vo would continue after her Empress of Salt and Fortune – after all, her main character Chih, the recording monk, is hardly fit to carry sustained narratives. I needn’t have worried: this never tries to burden them with that task.

Instead, we are treated (and what a treat it is) to another take on the magic of storytelling and the nature of truth. If Empress was all about the true story lying hidden, this is about how the truth of stories is negotiable. Formally consistent with, and sharing the same rich world building as its predecessor, this second instalment is as enjoyable as the first, a wonderful feat of complex storytelling happening without any of the usual fanfare.

The tale of a tiger and her human lover, as told by humans as well as tigers

4 stars

In this East-Asian influenced world, be wary if you meet three tigers, they might ask you to tell them a tale, and if you tell it badly, they'll eat you.

Nghi Vo keeps embellishing her world where tigers and foxes can turn into humans, to court them, marry them, or more prosaically to eat them. The same tale is told from two points of view, with two different sets of values, and makes us ask ourselves what we miss when we hear only one side of a story.

I like the short format of these novellas, the worldbuilding happens during the story and there's no infodump or long intro.

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