Tag Archives: Flatiron Books

Review: The Night Tiger

The Night Tiger

The Night Tiger
By Yangsze Choo
Flatiron Books, 9781250175465, January 2020, 384pp.

The Short of It:

There is an awful lot going on in this story and honestly it was rather exhausting to read.

The Rest of It:

Ji Lin is an apprentice dressmaker. It’s an honest living but doesn’t pay enough to help pay her mother’s Mahjong debt so she takes a job working in a dance hall. These places have poor reputations so she spends much of her time hiding this job from her family and friends. One night, as she is dancing with a rather mysterious man, a glass vial falls out of his pocket. Thinking it might be valuable, Ji Lin quickly tucks it away, desperately hoping she isn’t accused of being a pickpocket.

Inside the vial is a shriveled up finger, preserved in salt. What does it mean? It is used for magic? Has it been cursed? Where did it come originally? This finger lures her down an adventurous path in search of its meaning.

When I said earlier that this book had a lot going on, man, I wasn’t kidding. Ji Lin has to deal with her mother’s constant inquiries about male suitors, her abusive step-father who takes his anger out on everyone,  including Ji Lin’s mother and her step-brother, Shin. Ji Lin would love to be a nurse and yet she spends her days fighting off men who want to do more than dance with her.

With all this going on, there is also a houseboy who sees death, people going missing, a rogue tiger is said to be the cause, and doctors going back and forth about missing body parts and people dropping dead from poisoning.

My main issue with this story is that it jumped all over the place. I didn’t get to spend time with any one character for long and overall the story was fantastical and not believable. The other issue I had is the one thing that WAS carried throughout the story, the attraction between Shin and Ji Lin, step-siblings. Not related by blood but still. I could not get past the cringe factor.

This is a book club pick and I know many readers who found this book quite entertaining. I, however, did not. It was just okay for me. If the story had focused on one main character and really delved into his or her story, I’d be more invested but with all the running around and fantastical elements (ghost tiger) I was over it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty
By Liane Moriarty
Flatiron Books, 9781250069801, 2017, 560pp.

The Short of It:

What could go wrong at a barbecue? Plenty.

The Rest of It:

This is the second Moriarty book I’ve read, the first being Big Little Lies. As much as I liked Big Little Lies, I think I enjoyed Truly Madly Guilty a bit more.

Both books open with the knowledge that something bad has happened. In this book, this “incident” takes place at a neighborhood barbecue. Just your everyday, neighborhood barbecue with a few neighbors and a couple of mutual friends. As the story unfolds, the chapters count the reader down to the event itself. This method of storytelling creates a lot of tension in the best way possible. I could not turn those pages fast enough and the book stands at 560 pages so that’s telling you something.

The story mostly focuses on three couples, Erika and Oliver, Clementine and Sam, and Tiffany and Vid. These couples are vastly different from one another. Their views on marriage, children and social gatherings are flaunted for all to see as the tension builds between them. All presented in the most delicious, dishy way. Erika and Clementine were tossed together as kids but do they even like one another? Vid and Tiffany are over-the-top with their lifestyle and a bit flashy but what harm could a little barbecue cause? It’s just a meal among friends. Clementine and Sam have their own issues to deal with so why are they always roped into other people’s problems?

The storytelling feels so personal. Almost voyeuristic. When the details of the incident are finally revealed to the reader, you immediately wonder how they will survive it. How will each couple deal with the information they have in front of them? The not-knowing makes it even more of a page-turner.

Friends, this was a good one. Plenty of tension, good story, suspenseful without being unrealistic and characters who come full circle. This is one of those complete package reads. For me, a perfect read.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.