Can we please have more books with well written non binary main characters? Sincerely me. Also more tigers. Thankyou kindly.
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.
Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.
When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.
I started this book with 0 expectations, I didn’t know how much of this book would be about gender, how much would be fantasy and how much would be waffle. I am pleased to say that it was just about perfect on all three fronts.
As a cisgender human I am by no means the person to comment on how this book handles a non-binary character. However it felt to me like it was well done. There’s about three instances where people misgender Tashi and people swiftly correct them and the book moves on. It wasn’t the crux of the book, it wasn’t the selling point of the book. It just was.
This is a pretty quick read, I finished it on a train journey that was only a couple of hours. I actually would have liked to have had even more meat to this story as it sort of starts smack bang in the middle of the action. Maybe you could have had more elements at the start to set the scene, or more flashbacks to do so retroactively. But maybe it is a good thing that this book didn’t drag things out. It’s very to the point, characters make choices and the story moves on.
I enjoyed the plot, though at times the love story can feel a teensy bit forced on the whole it is sweet and it is incredibly human, by which I mean that Tashi makes choices that aren’t necessarily in their best interest but they are certainly choices I could see myself making.
If you’re looking for a quick read that at the same time could expand your horizons I can wholeheartedly recommend The Tiger’s Watch. It is definitely a book I will be telling my friends to read. I look forward to reading other reviews and seeing what people think.
My rating: 5/5 stars
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Is this something you want to read? Let me know in the comments below!