The Tiger and The Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Release date: February 11th, 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming
Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.
Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?
I’ve said it here and on social media a hundred times before: that cover was enough to convince me to read this book. On top of that, I read ‘Empire in Black and Gold’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky recently and really enjoyed it, so I was curious to see how he would use his talent for creating fascinating and imaginative worlds in this book.
The Tiger and The Wolf is a book about shape shifters. It was the first time I read a book about shape shifters that wasn’t specifically YA. The problem with those books for me was the fact that they seemed to lean heavily on the success of Twilight’s shape shifting wolf pack. Luckily the shape shifters in this book were nothing like Jacob and his pack. Tchaikovsky succeeded again in creating a unique and captivating tale. The world he describes is inhabited by people who can change shape to become a certain animal, dependent on which clan they were born in.
Maniye, one of the protagonists in the book for instance, is part of the most important wolf clan. In fact, she is the daughter of the chieftain. Her childhood was however not a happy one, because she is not only the daughter of the Wolf clan’s chieftain, she is also the daughter of the Tiger clan’s queen. During a brutal war between the Tiger and the Wolf, the Tiger queen was captured and abused and ultimately killed after Maniye was born. The queen’s killer, Broken Axe, is a lone wolf, but loyal to the Wolf clan and he is a thorn in Maniye’s eye. Torn between her two souls, she has always been an outcast. When she comes of ages and learns the shocking truth about her father’s plans for her she escapes together with an old Snake priest that was taken prisoner. Together they must try to survive the harsh winter in the North and evade Broken Axe who has set out to bring her back to the Wolf clan.
I loved the idea of the animal souls being a part of a human being and sharing their form with them. Not only that, but animals (without a human soul attached to them) also live in this world and actually play a significant role. When a person with an animal soul dies in the shape of that animal, part of the soul is returned to the world. It is fascinating and somehow very satisfying to think about life like that. Another thing that made me really happy was the diversity of clans that we met in this book. So many different animals shapes and so many different religions and beliefs for all of them. This whole book was just one big fascinating journey into a world that I can only wish was real.
Maniye is not the only protagonist in the book. Asmander, a Champion of the Crocodile clan from the South, is journeying to the North to try and recruit the Iron Wolves for his Prince’s war. The notion of a Champion is a little vague at first, but slowly gets more substance the further along in the book you get, with a satisfying conclusion at the end.
With Maniye traveling away from her father’s clan and Asmander traveling North, it seems destined that their paths will cross. I was very excited about this and wondered what they could mean in each other’s storylines.
Tchaikovsky also put some great twists in this story, all of them taking me by surprise and shaping the story into an even more interesting form. Nothing is quite as it seems or how you think it will turn out, which makes you wonder about the rest of the book and how it will affect all the characters.
The ending was immensely satisfying, taking you further into the depths of this world and giving the reader more insight into the workings of the different souls.
However, this book was not without its flaws either. Sometimes it became a bit repetitive, with Maniye trying to evade the Wolf clan and the Tiger clan. It eventually mostly turns into fights that she somehow escapes. It didn’t bother me that much to read all of these encounters, but I can understand that some people might get bored of it eventually.
In conclusion, this book was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a darker, more in depth story about shape shifters and the journey to finding your true self and your place in the world. Definitely looking forward to more work from Adrian Tchaikovsky!