When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

, #2


eBook, 176 pages

English language

Published Aug. 23, 2020 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.

Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (6 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.

2 editions

reviewed When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2)

Another wonderful novella

5 stars

A perfect read for an automn evening with a cup of tea. Nghi Vo is an incredible storyteller, who never loses the reader in her stories of stories told by storytellers as well as tigers. In her world, tigers fall in love in young humans, or sometimes eat them, and sit around the fire listening and re-telling their side of the old stories... It is quite magic.

reviewed When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2)

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

4 stars

I wasn't sure at all where the rest of this series was going to go, but I was pleasantly surprised that rather than aiming for some continuity in the story of the world, or even in character development, instead this book was a continuity of theme. This second (and third book) are both also stories about telling stories, although each of which comes with their different own framing and perspective.

This story is more adjacent to a classic Scheherazade setup, but there's more depth in the layering of the frame story here. I really enjoyed this book's negotiation over the truth of stories; there isn't one privileged truth, but rather different storytellers with their own audiences, as well as disagreements over what makes a good tale. Rather than this creating an unsatisfying ambiguity, I felt like the back and forth over how to tell the story created characterization and made …

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.