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I loved the style of telling an old story from two, sometimes contradictory, perspectives. Putting the storyteller into a risky situation that relies on a good storytelling added some spice. Having a cleric as a protagonist is also a welcome change from more typical act-first heroes, and their love of and respect for old stories and new knowledge really came through.
A really lovely story. It has it all, tigers, mammoths and a cleric who has a nose for trouble, and an even greater knack for recording and telling stories. This time around our cleric retells a story of a tiger and her would be prey/lover, to a trio of tigers, who happen to know the story intimately, and their scout in order to buy them time to escape and avoid becoming dinner.
A perfect Novella. It contains everything I old have asked for in this story, the only downside was that I missed Almost Brilliant. The tigers were well thought out and I liked the family dynamic. They poetry was also excellent.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune was my favourite book of the year so far, what made When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain one of my most anticipated reads. It did not let me down for a second and has become my newest comfort read. I finished it in one sitting during my work break, and I'm already thinking about re-reading it. We follow Cleric Chih in another one of their travels, this time without Almost Brilliant (I missed them), where they encounter a group of tigers. And so, a night of storytelling ensues. Although longer, it felt quite shorter than Empress of Salt and Fortune. We learn how stories are shaped by those who tell them to reflect their version of history. It was such a sweet tale with a refreshing ending and thought-provoking narrative. I can only hope that we get more of Cleric Chih and Almost Brilliant.
I loved the story-within-a-story in The Empress of Salt and Fortune already, and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain took this concept a step further and introduces two versions of the same story. That story itself was lovely already, but I also loved the surrounding setting. Cleric Chih is going on another adventure, though this time without Almost Brilliant. I can't wait to read more of their stories and travels in the future.
The audiobook was read wonderfully by Cindy Kay. It again took me a bit to get settled in the story, but this didn't impede my enjoyment at all. Especially towards the end it picked up and was a delight to read.
Chih, an avid chronicler of facts, legends, myths - is a pursuer of truth. Here he compares the records that were available to him in his monastery to those told by a magical tigress that can speak and can change into a human form. The comparative history exercise is spiced by the looming possibility that the chronicler and his entourage (a small mammoth, her feisty driver, and an old man whose importance to the plot is sadly unexplained) are destined to become the tigress and her two sisters' meal as the epilogue to the tale. As the first book of the series, the writing is superb and poetical, the characters enticing, and the pace appropriate to the contents. My four star score is based on these positive characteristics. But (and this is a very bit BUT), unlike the first book, in which the two main characters are eminently human and fascinating, this one is a lovely but somewhat vacuous semi adult tale. I was so enchanted with the first part that I ordered and devoured this up immediately. Sadly, this one was a good read, but little else and if not for the excellent writing skills of the author, might have garnered a mediocre three star score. BTW, the feminist/lesbian slant is charming and highly recommended.
Series Info/Source: This is the second novella in the Singing Hill Cycle. I bought a copy of this for my Kindle.
Story (4/5): This story continues to follow the cleric Chih on their journeys. This time they find themselves trapped by a fierce band of tigers and forced to tell stories until a mammoth tribe can come to save them. While this still employs a very clever method of telling stories within stories, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first book in this series. I just didn’t find the story within the story quite as fascinating and in depth as it unraveled.
Characters (4/5): The characters were all enjoyable. I really enjoyed the mammoth rider who accompanies Chih and the tiger women were well done too. This was more about the story and the method of delaying the tigers than the characters themselves this time.
Setting (4/5): I enjoyed the frozen mountain setting and really liked the culture that was formed completely around the mammoths that live there. It was very well done. On a side note, I would have liked to be reading about a warmer setting given my current real life frozen setting!
Writing Style (5/5): This was again beautifully written and I love the method of nesting stories within stories. I did feel like this book wasn’t quite as well done as the first one. However, I still really enjoyed it. It is a quick and beautiful read that conveys a wonderful story. Vo is definitely a wonderful storyteller that is focused on the art of telling a good story in an amazing format.
My Summary (4/5): Overall I really enjoyed this but didn’t love it as much as the first book in the series. It was beautifully written and I loved the location that Chih journeys to. I love the concept of nesting stories as well, but just didn’t find the nested stories quite as fascinating in this case. I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy stories within stories, this is very well done.
What a phenomenal follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune!
Much like its predecessor, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is told half in frame, half out—and it is nothing short of brilliant. Chih is, as always, a wonderful main character who provides a strong anchor point to the folklore-esque events going on around them. I also love how this novella dives into ideas of history vs. myth, and how stories change depending on the teller. The framed story of Hi Thi Thao (a tiger!) and the Scholar Dieu was both tense and romantic.
Overall, the prose was beautiful and compelling as ever, exactly what I've come to expect from this author. Nghi Vo is easily one of my favorite storytellers right now, and I can't wait to read what she writes next.
It was a different story from the first one, but there are similarities as well. The main similarity for me is that I feel that we are listening to a tiny part of this huge worlds' history, this time from multiple views as well. And however small the story in question may be, the universe built around it feels really ancient and detailed. The whole story is told in a unique, poetic way. I really liked it and already pre-ordered the last novella.