The Tiger and The Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Genre – Fantasy
Excitable rating – 7/10
So this is your pretty classic pre-medieval fantasy world. With a pretty interesting twist; that all Peoples of this world are born into tribes or groups that have sort-of animal totems, which they can then turn into, they call this Stepping. Cool right? So hence the title as you have the tiger people and the wolf as just two examples.
Tchaikovsky starts us off up in the ‘Crown of the World’ a swathe of land in the north of this world covered by dense forest – here is where you have the Wolf Tribe which is the dominant tribe/species. Under the wolf you also have animals such as deer and boar who are like lesser members of society. In the wolf tribe we meet Maniye (please don’t ask me how to pronounce this), sixteen year old daughter of the Chief of the Winter Runners – all the wolf tribes have pretty snazzy names like this Moon Eaters, Swift Backs etc. She’s an outcast in her own tribe due to her parentage, her mother was of the Tiger. Her story is moved into action by the capture of a Snake priest by her tribe at the time of her initiation into adulthood – an incident which motivates her to steal the priest away and abandon her life as she knows it. Maniye is a really interesting character you follow her from this rather terrified but determined little wolf girl to her emergence at the other end of the novel as a force to be reckoned with.
The novel is split into two main perspectives, Maniye is the first. Asmander is the second. Asmander is of the ‘Sun River Nation’ in the south of the world, and his animal soul is that of the crocodile. He’s on a mission to the north to find an army to support the Prince of his lands to become Kasra (King/Emperor). He also has this awesome other soul called the Champion which I won’t reveal too much about other than it’s a really unusual feature in a fantasy novel of this kind. As he travels North he acquires a Hyena girl named Shyri who is excellent. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, though maybe a little too moon-eyed at Asmander occasionally for my liking. More Shyri and Hyena women in general (their society is a matriarchy) in the next book please!
Maniye becomes the driving force behind everything that happens in the Crown of the World throughout the narrative, though the entire novel is much more of a staging ground for the series rather than a resolution. Prepare yourself for wanting to read more.
- Lots of different cultures and societies including quite a few which are female led
- The inclusion of a huge range of animals. Komodo Dragons! Bears! Eagles! Coyotes!
- Rich history, this world has SO much more going on in it that we don’t know yet but Tchaikovsky is doing that thing where you know they have more but he’s holding it back. RUDE.
- They can learn to Step and take items with them – so no naked people all the time if that’s what you’re looking for this is the wrong book for you – except for iron unless they have been trained. This means cool weapons like jade and bronze blades.
Basically this book awakened the Excitable Feminist in me quite considerably and I hope it’s a series whose fanbase continues to grow!
Thanks for reading
~ The Excitable Feminist