The Night Tiger
Author: YangSze Choo
Released: February 12th, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback / Hardcover
Characters: Ren, Ji Lin, Shin, William, …
In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.
Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.
As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget.
I was pondering a lot about this review. How am I going to go about it and what should I include into this review because I have finally found my first 5 star read of the year! This year, I have been so difficult in giving out 5 star to books, mostly I’ll rate 4.5/ 5 star as there is always something unsettling for me. But this book has made it!
First of all, let’s talk about the setting. I love that this book is set in Malaysia. My little Malaysian heart screamed when I saw “Kamunting, Malaya“. Books that set in Malaysia always have a special place in my heart because to be honest, it is so hard to come across books with Malaysia in it, thus I’m so happy that this one whole book is set in Malaya. Besides that, the superstitions, the terms used as well as the local beliefs and culture made this book even more special to me. Knowing that everyone around the world is learning Malay terms and the local beliefs and superstitions is so mind-blowing. What’s more important is that everything that was written out in this book is so precised and the representation is well done too. How could I not be happy when a POC book written so amazingly by a POC author? Justice has been served.
Characters wise, Ji Lin stood out the most to me. Her determination and independence, I think, is a good role model for many girls out there, especially Asian girls. She was somewhat still bounded by the social expectation at that time in Malaya but still her character showed tremendous change and I’m just so proud of her towards the end of the book for some decisions she made. Let’s talk about another of my favourite character, Ren. As a kid, his experience has made him mature and very wise. He was aware of what’s happening around him and his spirit is exceptionally admirable.
“But that’s the way people are, I think. We forget all the bad things in favor of what’s normal, what feels safe.”
– YangSze Choo, The Night Tiger
The plot made me anticipate of what’s going to happen next in the book. Every mystery leads yet to another mystery. As one mystery unfolds, another one has just started. It was sure fun reading this book! *haha* The story ended nicely overall. Everyone (or is it?) gets their little happy ending. Plus, the ending was sort of open for the readers to predict what it is going to be like for the characters and I always like an open ending.
“The worst part about death is forgetting the image of the beloved. It’s the final robbery, the last betrayal.”
– YangSze Choo, The Night Tiger
Overall, I’d highly recommend this book. The Night Tiger would provide you knowledge, values, and excitement!