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When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

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"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR 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 "Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR 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


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"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR 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 "Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR 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

30 review for When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

  1. 4 out of 5

    chai ♡

    Hello, can I interest you in: - a non-binary cleric with little sense of self-preservation and the misfortune of being tragically curious - a girl, a mammoth, and a lance - scholar/apex predator slow-burn sapphic courtship (and they were wives!) - the inherent homoeroticism of reading poetry out loud - queer love: how cruel, how profoundly tender - stories, stories, and more stories! stories that slip like sand held in a curled palm. stories like treasures from sunken ships the waves left behind. stor Hello, can I interest you in: - a non-binary cleric with little sense of self-preservation and the misfortune of being tragically curious - a girl, a mammoth, and a lance - scholar/apex predator slow-burn sapphic courtship (and they were wives!) - the inherent homoeroticism of reading poetry out loud - queer love: how cruel, how profoundly tender - stories, stories, and more stories! stories that slip like sand held in a curled palm. stories like treasures from sunken ships the waves left behind. stories that rise from the dust and whirl defiantly into the wind. stories that bring you back from perilous brinks and stories you can cut yourself on. Nghi Vo has a voice unlike any other, and I yearn for more. A must-read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Hey everyone, this is my 250th book review on Goodreads!!! I didn't even realize that until after the review was posted. While purely unintentional, I'm glad this book was on one of the landmark numbers. There is a line in this book that spoke to me in a way that I've never been able to put into words before. In the scene a scholar reads a line from her favorite book, hoping that the reading can pay a tiger to let her have access to proceed (read the story to understand that, I'll not explain it Hey everyone, this is my 250th book review on Goodreads!!! I didn't even realize that until after the review was posted. While purely unintentional, I'm glad this book was on one of the landmark numbers. There is a line in this book that spoke to me in a way that I've never been able to put into words before. In the scene a scholar reads a line from her favorite book, hoping that the reading can pay a tiger to let her have access to proceed (read the story to understand that, I'll not explain it here). After reading we receive the following line: "They were Dieu's favorite lines, and she was almost afraid to look up to see how the tiger took them. When you love a thing too much, it is a special kind of pain to show it to others and to see that it is lacking." That's wonderful, it gets across my own concerns as I start my review... will others see in this what I did? When I read the author's previous book, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, I said the following in my review "This is without a doubt my favorite read of 2020, and while I know there is still over a month for that to change, I find it extraordinarily unlikely. This is as close to perfection as a read can get for me. A rare 5/5 stars" I was proven wrong. It was not my favorite, that honor goes to it's companion book (I hesitate to call it a sequel, as though one main character returns, it is very much a stand-alone as well). When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is not only my favorite book I've read this year, it could be one of my top ten I've ever read. It's short (as one expects from Tor.com's novella), but it does not use a single unneeded word, and therefore does not need any added. The plot this time follows Cleric Chih who has gotten into a rather dangerous situation along with their guide. This time three tigers have chased them into a barn where they must hope that someone will come to save them in the morning. In order to pass the night, and keep the tigers from attacking, they tell the story of Ho Thi Thao, a tiger who fell in love with a woman and tried to woo her. As they tell this tale though, the tigers begin to correct them, as they too know this story, but their version is often quite different. As with the previous book, a main theme of these books is how we tell stories. In the first one it was about the details left out of history. This time it is about the nature of narrative, and how it can change from culture to culture. As Chih tells the story, the tigers will frequently interrupt and retell the same portion in a very different way. While the stories are essentially the same in terms of plot, we are shown how different cultures could highlight different aspects of the tale or rework something they find unacceptable to be more tolerable (a non-spoiler example would be that humans would not necessarily want a higher tiger kill count unless the people had done horrible deeds in the past, whereas in the tiger version it would be boring if the tiger didn't eat a person or two to show their "heroic" nature). As with the previous book, Chih's section offers some great world building, but the heart of the book is the story being told. The narratives (both variations of it) are frequently amusing and both have their own level of heartwarming elements. Some of the best scenes are when characters comment on the other's version of the tale, and a human finds merit in the tiger's version and vice versa. It makes you wonder, if the story is true, which version has the more accurate elements and if the truth is somewhere in-between. In the end though, does it matter? It's about narrating to your audience, and understanding from a story teller perspective, what the group you're speaking to is fascinated by. I truly hope Vo continues writing this series. I hope there are many more tales for the clerics of Singing Hills to collect. If there was ever a book tailor made for me as a reader it would be this. While I highly recommend both books (I remind you that the first one did receive five stars, and I'm not one who just hands them out frequently), this one is simply stunning. The prose is beautiful, the stories are the perfect blend of fairy tale and reality, the world presented stunning... there is simply nothing I am not impressed with. I said the other book was "as close to perfection as a read can get," well, this one isn't close. To me this was the perfect read... and those were words I never thought I would type. A perfect 5/5 and my highest possible recommendation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain was a delightful, beautiful read. The prose was enchanting and I hung onto Vo’s every word until the very last page. Suffice to say, I loved this very much. The novella follows Cleric Chih on another one of their adventures to document more stories. They, along with their companions, Si-yu and Piluk stumble across a band of hungry tigers. To ensure their safety, a night of storytelling commences. As with The Empress of Salt and Fortune, storytelling was the f When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain was a delightful, beautiful read. The prose was enchanting and I hung onto Vo’s every word until the very last page. Suffice to say, I loved this very much. The novella follows Cleric Chih on another one of their adventures to document more stories. They, along with their companions, Si-yu and Piluk stumble across a band of hungry tigers. To ensure their safety, a night of storytelling commences. As with The Empress of Salt and Fortune, storytelling was the focal point of the novella. This time, the story explored how different interpretations can help shape stories to fit someone’s history and narrative. Both Chih’s and the tigers’ versions of Scholar Dieu and Ho Thi Thao differentiated a lot from each other and highlighted how the truth can vary from culture to culture. I was a bit sad that Almost Brilliant was absent in this novella, but fret not, Si-yu and her sweet mammoth Piluk made excellent traveling companions for Chih. Both were sassy and a joy to read about. I hope to see more of them in any future installments. I hope Nghi Vo keeps writing more The Singing Hills novellas because I can’t get enough of the beautiful prose and imagery. Overall, I highly recommend! Thank you to Tor Books and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Althea | themoonwholistens ☾

    “When you love a thing too much, it is a special kind of pain to show it to others and to see that it is lacking.” such charming characters and stories that talk about the wonders of storytelling?? we love those. ↣ If you’re into short stories that pack a lot of themes and culture, you will fall in love with this series. Nghi Vo has such a unique voice and I could listen to the narrator of these audiobooks talk for hours. ↢

  5. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    A rather lovely short featuring the cleric Chih, on a storygathering mission without their talking bird this time, plus mammoth-riders and weretigers. It's a layered tale where we get Chih telling a story to the tigers which they then correct, within the frame of the tigers planning to eat them once the story is over. Charming and involving, though a much smaller scale story to book 1, but tbh it was about all my brain could cope with (I am virtually unable to read fiction atm). Lovely writing. A rather lovely short featuring the cleric Chih, on a storygathering mission without their talking bird this time, plus mammoth-riders and weretigers. It's a layered tale where we get Chih telling a story to the tigers which they then correct, within the frame of the tigers planning to eat them once the story is over. Charming and involving, though a much smaller scale story to book 1, but tbh it was about all my brain could cope with (I am virtually unable to read fiction atm). Lovely writing. I really like this world, I hope we get more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aliette

    A wonderful story about tales, truth, who gets to remember and what gets remembered--and also the f/f scholar/tiger romance of my heart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I had completely forgotten I had pre-ordered this book and was therefore absolutley delighted when it arrived. I cannot stress enough how much i adore this series! The writing is fantastic and really draws you in to the story, I loved Nghi Vo's previous book and was thrilled that this was just as good. I had completely forgotten I had pre-ordered this book and was therefore absolutley delighted when it arrived. I cannot stress enough how much i adore this series! The writing is fantastic and really draws you in to the story, I loved Nghi Vo's previous book and was thrilled that this was just as good.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    4.25 stars!! looooooved this and cant wait to read this whole series in the future!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Almost as good as the first one. A love story of a scholar and a tiger, told from two perspectives. Intricate and layered, set in a fully realized, lived in fantasy world. More please.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    New silkpunk! While I really enjoyed the first of the Singing Hills Cycle books, I liked this one better. Why? I just did, okay! lol Seriously, it's all about the Tiger and the Scholar. The novella was written as a story within a story, but it focuses on the true kick of the core story. Beautifully written, evocative, and emotional, it first appears to be the "dangerous man tamed by the meek woman" trope, but it retains that real subtlety that tells a very different story for those willing to list New silkpunk! While I really enjoyed the first of the Singing Hills Cycle books, I liked this one better. Why? I just did, okay! lol Seriously, it's all about the Tiger and the Scholar. The novella was written as a story within a story, but it focuses on the true kick of the core story. Beautifully written, evocative, and emotional, it first appears to be the "dangerous man tamed by the meek woman" trope, but it retains that real subtlety that tells a very different story for those willing to listen. :) Very enjoyable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    And so you came to my house on the soft pads of a midwinter kitten, the whisper of your black tresses sweeping your heels, and so you came to my heart just as quietly. On my blog. Rep: Vietnamese-coded characters and setting, nonbinary mc, wlw mcs and side character CWs: gore Galley provided by publisher The best news I ever got was that The Empress of Salt and Fortune was getting a sequel. That book was probably in my top books read in 2019 list (I’m not going to admit to how long that list And so you came to my house on the soft pads of a midwinter kitten, the whisper of your black tresses sweeping your heels, and so you came to my heart just as quietly. On my blog. Rep: Vietnamese-coded characters and setting, nonbinary mc, wlw mcs and side character CWs: gore Galley provided by publisher The best news I ever got was that The Empress of Salt and Fortune was getting a sequel. That book was probably in my top books read in 2019 list (I’m not going to admit to how long that list would have been), so obviously I was going to want (urgently) to read it. And, in all honesty, I think this might have been better than book one. We’re back following Chih, but later on their journey, as they cross mountains with their guide (and her mammoth). But they come across a band of tigers, who want to eat them, and the only thing that might hold them off is Chih telling the story of Dieu (a human) and Ho Thi Thao (a tiger). As with the first novella, the story within a story format is what makes the book so engaging. Not much happens in the present, as might be expected in a novella, but the framing, that Chih is telling a story to listeners (who are correcting them as they go along) allows for it to be a lot more expansive. While we are wondering whether Chih and Si-yu will escape the tigers alive, we are also experiencing Dieu and Ho Thi Thao falling in love. And the juxtaposition of the humans’ version of the story and the tigers’ version makes it even better. Not to mention the tigers themselves, although they want to eat our main characters, are so fun. The way they bicker among themselves is truly a sibling thing and I loved it so much. Almost as much as I loved the romance between Dieu and Ho Thi Thao. I mean. Reciting poetry to one another? Beautiful. I read this novella in one sitting, not wanting to put it down for even a second. It was over all too soon, in my opinion, and now all I want to know is how best to bribe Nghi Vo into making this an ongoing series of Chih’s adventures.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I absolutely loved the first installment of cleric Chih and their travelling story of recording the Singing Hills history of myths and lore in The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and this followed the same formula to winning results. This time, Chih is riding a mammoth with a new friend when they are ambushed by laughing tigers. The only way to stop them both being eaten is if Chih will tell them a story, keeping them occupied until help arrives. So that's exactly what Chih does, with a few correct I absolutely loved the first installment of cleric Chih and their travelling story of recording the Singing Hills history of myths and lore in The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and this followed the same formula to winning results. This time, Chih is riding a mammoth with a new friend when they are ambushed by laughing tigers. The only way to stop them both being eaten is if Chih will tell them a story, keeping them occupied until help arrives. So that's exactly what Chih does, with a few corrections from Mistress Tiger. The writing is just beautiful, and told in such a traditional folk tale way that draws the reader into the world, accepting the magic and myths within. Chih is such a great character too. Enigmatic, non-binary, clever and witty. They use their power with words and stories to weave a tale that enthralls, yet they are also eager to expand on the story and learn from the Tigers. The Tigers are also rather glorious characters. Proud creatures, who act on instinct and a thirst for food, their culture revolves around this primal desire and they have stories that reflect this. I loved the differences of the same story, told from a human and tiger perspective. It felt very unique, and highly entertaining. A great story, rich in folklore and atmosphere. I hope there are more in this series, as the potential for Chih to travel the world collecting these powerful stories has so much room for expansion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Boston

    4.5 stars. Full review to come!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maëlys

    ☆ 5 / 5 ☆ The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills #1): 4 / 5 “I am yours, and so I will be your light and laughter. I am yours, so open your eyes to look at me, and open your mouth so that I may kiss it. I am yours, I am yours, and nevermore will I leave.” I was very impressed and really enjoyed The Empress of Salt and Fortune but this sequel to it made me fall in love with Nghi Vo’s storytelling even harder. We’re once again following the cleric Chih on their journey, this time witho ☆ 5 / 5 ☆ The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills #1): 4 / 5 “I am yours, and so I will be your light and laughter. I am yours, so open your eyes to look at me, and open your mouth so that I may kiss it. I am yours, I am yours, and nevermore will I leave.” I was very impressed and really enjoyed The Empress of Salt and Fortune but this sequel to it made me fall in love with Nghi Vo’s storytelling even harder. We’re once again following the cleric Chih on their journey, this time without Almost Brilliant, as they’re looking for a path to cross the mountain. Si-Yu and her mammoth offer to help but they wind up being attacked by tigers that would like to make them their dinner. Chih ends up buying them time by narrating the story of the tiger Ho Thi Thao and her human lover, Dieu. “Some people say that he was only ever a story and that his bones are words and his eyes are laughter, but no. He was real, he was hungry, and now his skin stretches over me like the sky when I sleep.” The set-up to get to the oral story portion of the book took a little more time here but it also made it so both timelines wound up fleshed out and compelling. Ho Thi Thao’s story is still at the forefront but having Chih and their guide in danger gives it more tension. The dynamic between Chih, Si-Yu, and the tigers was honestly so interesting and entertaining too. We have this looming threat of the tigers eating our cleric and guide but there’s some moments of levity and just funny banter. “I will share every meal that I ever have with you, I will let you eat first from every dish and drink first from every cup.” Different versions of Dieu’s and Ho Thi Thao’s tale exist and seeing the contrast between the humans retelling of it compared to the tigers emphasised their cultural differences and brought an added layer of world-building. As for their story itself.. it was so beautiful. Dieu and Ho Thi Thao’s relationship follows a very unique path involving bartering, misunderstandings and betrayal. But they’re given the space and time to yearn and hunger and love. “My eyes are open for always, my mouth is empty for always, and always will my soul reach for yours.” Throughout this story Dieu recites poetry from a specific book and it is so full of heartbreak and grief. This is a constant thread carefully weaved into this book that adds another dimension of heartache and seeing these two characters recite these verses to each other did things to my heart. This series of novellas has truly been a revelation for me this year and I can’t wait to read more by Nghi Vo. I’ll definitely be thinking about this one for a long time! Youtube ☆ Twitter

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    The second story in the Singing Hills cycle is a standalone tale about the cleric Chih who travels around the kingdom of Anh to record the Singing Hills history of myths and lore. Along the way, they and their companions meet three laughing tigers. As the tigers are very hungry, Chih needs to get creative in order to keep themselves as well as their companions alive long enough for help to arrive. Thus begins a Sheherazade-like story with stories within the stories. There once was a tiger with he The second story in the Singing Hills cycle is a standalone tale about the cleric Chih who travels around the kingdom of Anh to record the Singing Hills history of myths and lore. Along the way, they and their companions meet three laughing tigers. As the tigers are very hungry, Chih needs to get creative in order to keep themselves as well as their companions alive long enough for help to arrive. Thus begins a Sheherazade-like story with stories within the stories. There once was a tiger with her scholar lover ... the version Chih knows is quite different from the "true" (corrected) version of Mistress Tiger, but both are colourful and intricate and full of rich Asian imagery. The writing style is that of traditional folk tales which appealed greatly to me. It's emotional, witty, suspenseful and full of beautiful prose. I once again loved the worldbuilding of the hills and the creatures populating the region we found ourselves in. I especially loved the lesson on how history can become myth and how different people will experience events differently. A great lesson on storytelling and mythology / history. And yes, the story of the tiger and her scholar lover was lovely.

  16. 5 out of 5

    breana / milkyboos ♡

    does anyone craft short stories as beautifully as nghi vo? methinks not if you love a sapphic romance between a young scholar and an apex predator please read

  17. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    It's hard to describe how I felt (and am still feeling) when reading this book (and its prequel). But it resembles the feel I got from listening to this song: https://open.spotify.com/track/6ujhJx... At this point, I would read anything from Nghi Vo about this world. I would devour anything coming out from Chih's mouth, our poor but brave storyteller. I missed Almost Brilliant's quips here but Si-yu was a great companion. And the tigers! Whoa, if you've seen a tiger IRL you'll realize they are on It's hard to describe how I felt (and am still feeling) when reading this book (and its prequel). But it resembles the feel I got from listening to this song: https://open.spotify.com/track/6ujhJx... At this point, I would read anything from Nghi Vo about this world. I would devour anything coming out from Chih's mouth, our poor but brave storyteller. I missed Almost Brilliant's quips here but Si-yu was a great companion. And the tigers! Whoa, if you've seen a tiger IRL you'll realize they are one of the most exquisite creatures on earth, yet one of the most lethal as well. Vo really captured this essence and knows how to make her characters appealing. Even Piluk the mammoth stole the scene, being such as kickass but not overly cutesy. I want more, please! A story within a story, with two storytellers who had their own versions. I was glued to my Kindle screen. Vo writes elegantly and effortlessly charming. Such a captivating, lush, soothing work. Okay, that's like five adjectives, I think I could stop now. *sips tea and sighs in pleasure* PS: Hugo voters, this book (and its prequel) deserve a spot in the novella category. They both can be read as stand alone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Shannon

    I loved The Empress of Salt and Fortune to an indescribable degree, and I thought this one couldn't possibly surpass it, but I ended up liking it just as much. A real gem of a novella that explores the complexity and layers of storytelling and the wonder of queer love. I could read about Chih recording stories for ever. I loved The Empress of Salt and Fortune to an indescribable degree, and I thought this one couldn't possibly surpass it, but I ended up liking it just as much. A real gem of a novella that explores the complexity and layers of storytelling and the wonder of queer love. I could read about Chih recording stories for ever.

  19. 5 out of 5

    aarya

    2020 Fall Bingo (#fallintorombingo🍁): Set in Another World “Madam, I’m Cleric Chih from the abbey at Singing Hills. I’ve come—” “To be dinner, I think,” said the tiger cordially. “All three of you will be. The mammoth can go home if she wishes.” 4.5 stars How is Nghi Vo so good? Gah, truly the best of what fantasy has to offer. I didn’t love this as much as Empress of Salt and Fortune (which, honestly, is a freaking high bar to meet since that was phenomenal). So I’m rating When the Tiger Came 2020 Fall Bingo (#fallintorombingo🍁): Set in Another World “Madam, I’m Cleric Chih from the abbey at Singing Hills. I’ve come—” “To be dinner, I think,” said the tiger cordially. “All three of you will be. The mammoth can go home if she wishes.” 4.5 stars How is Nghi Vo so good? Gah, truly the best of what fantasy has to offer. I didn’t love this as much as Empress of Salt and Fortune (which, honestly, is a freaking high bar to meet since that was phenomenal). So I’m rating When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain lower in comparison, but I still recommend this novella. RTC. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gabbibuu

    The Empress of Salt and Fortune was my favourite book of the year so far, what made When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain one of my most anticipated reads. It did not let me down for a second and has become my newest comfort read. I finished it in one sitting during my work break, and I'm already thinking about re-reading it. We follow Cleric Chih in another one of their travels, this time without Almost Brilliant (I missed them), where they encounter a group of tigers. And so, a night of sto The Empress of Salt and Fortune was my favourite book of the year so far, what made When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain one of my most anticipated reads. It did not let me down for a second and has become my newest comfort read. I finished it in one sitting during my work break, and I'm already thinking about re-reading it. We follow Cleric Chih in another one of their travels, this time without Almost Brilliant (I missed them), where they encounter a group of tigers. And so, a night of storytelling ensues. Although longer, it felt quite shorter than Empress of Salt and Fortune. Compelling, magical and fastpaced. We learn how stories are shaped by those who tell them to reflect their version of history. It was such a sweet tale with a refreshing ending and thought-provoking narrative. I can only hope that we get more of Cleric Chih and Almost Brilliant. ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher.

  21. 5 out of 5

    hiba

    CWs: violence, gore Rep: Vietnamese inspired characters + world, nonbinary MC, wlw characters 4.5 ⭐ Nghi Vo did it again!! The Empress of Salt and Fortune is one of my favorite books of all time so my expectations were sky high for this sequel - and did it deliver! An absolutely beautiful little book about an f/f romance between a scholar and a tiger and how history can shape different versions of someone's narrative. My Highlights: - The most stunning, immersive, atmospheric prose! At this point, N CWs: violence, gore Rep: Vietnamese inspired characters + world, nonbinary MC, wlw characters 4.5 ⭐ Nghi Vo did it again!! The Empress of Salt and Fortune is one of my favorite books of all time so my expectations were sky high for this sequel - and did it deliver! An absolutely beautiful little book about an f/f romance between a scholar and a tiger and how history can shape different versions of someone's narrative. My Highlights: - The most stunning, immersive, atmospheric prose! At this point, Nghi Vo could publish a grocery list and I'd thank her for it. - More Cleric Chih! We get to see more of their personality this time, their undying curiosity and impulsivity, and I love them so much! - Animal companions! This time a mammoth called Piluk. - Interesting, complex characters. - The sheer sapphic yearning! - How the same narrative can vary through different cultures. - Fun, witty dialogue. - A dash more of worldbuilding. The only reason this isn't a full 5 stars is because it didn't emotionally impact me in quite the same way the first book did (which actually made me tear up at one point). Regardless, this is a wonderful follow up and I'm desperately hoping for more books in this series!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Khadidja

    So captivating and lyrical, loved how the stories are woven together!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    After loving Empress of Salt and Fortune earlier in the year and just wanting more of the story, I was very excited when I saw the announcement for this sequel and even more happy when I got the ARC. And this one turned out to be even better than I thought. I think I did the right thing listening to the audiobook of the first book just last week, because it refreshed my memory of this world and it made me feel connected to this story immediately. As storytelling forms the main narrative of this After loving Empress of Salt and Fortune earlier in the year and just wanting more of the story, I was very excited when I saw the announcement for this sequel and even more happy when I got the ARC. And this one turned out to be even better than I thought. I think I did the right thing listening to the audiobook of the first book just last week, because it refreshed my memory of this world and it made me feel connected to this story immediately. As storytelling forms the main narrative of this novella, the author uses her poetic and beautiful writing style to weave a story within a story, while also keeping up the tension taut and us readers hooked to every single word. I was lost to the mesmerizing words and didn’t even realize that the book was almost over. The book is quite fast paced, the story that Chih is narrating builds up slowly and I was quite excited to know what was gonna happen next, and all characters had very interesting personalities. The banter between them was also absolutely perfect and I had such a fun time reading the book even when it was intense. I loved the themes that the author was trying to convey with this narrative. I have found many books in recent times deal with the concept of truth and fact, whose truth gets to be told as history and passed on across generations, and what other narratives are lost. In a similar vein, the author here tries to showcase how the same history of a scholar/Tiger couple can be told in different ways based on who is doing the narrating, and the version which gets archived for posterity depends on who controls the scholarly domain. I think this is very relevant to our current times as well and I enjoyed the way the author imparts us this message through the narration of a love story. To conclude, this novella is storytelling at its finest, very captivating in tone, and beautiful in the imagery. I’m now more in love with this world and the author than I was before, and I hope we get more books in the Singing Hills series. And if you are someone who loves stories, you just can’t miss this masterpiece.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Acqua

    How did I not know this was a thing?? Can't wait How did I not know this was a thing?? Can't wait

  25. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    The story picks up again and this time focuses on tiger queens, woolly mammoths and how your life's desire might not be your life's desire as sometimes your purposes and priorities can shift. Plus, it's full of queer people and women loving women. I loved it, but I definitely need just ten more pages! Full RTC. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review The story picks up again and this time focuses on tiger queens, woolly mammoths and how your life's desire might not be your life's desire as sometimes your purposes and priorities can shift. Plus, it's full of queer people and women loving women. I loved it, but I definitely need just ten more pages! Full RTC. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Excellent A really lovely story. It has it all, tigers, mammoths and a cleric who has a nose for trouble, and an even greater knack for recording and telling stories. This time around our cleric retells a story of a tiger and her would be prey/lover, to a trio of tigers, who happen to know the story intimately, and their scout in order to buy them time to escape and avoid becoming dinner.

  27. 5 out of 5

    •°• gabs •°•

    If I could give this more than 5 stars I really would, but alas. I really liked The Empress of Salt and Fortune but this one was absolutely perfect in every way. We follow cleric Chih on another one of their adventures, although this time without Almost Brilliant whom I missed a lot. Long story short, they find themself in a critical situation (where them and their companions are about to become some tigers' dinner) and somehow manage to strike a deal with the tigers who will let them live if the If I could give this more than 5 stars I really would, but alas. I really liked The Empress of Salt and Fortune but this one was absolutely perfect in every way. We follow cleric Chih on another one of their adventures, although this time without Almost Brilliant whom I missed a lot. Long story short, they find themself in a critical situation (where them and their companions are about to become some tigers' dinner) and somehow manage to strike a deal with the tigers who will let them live if they tell a good story. Needless to say, the story is absolutely amazing in the slow-burn-sapphics-who-will-make-you-scream-into-your-pillow sense. And also in the sense that we are reminded so many times that people will change stories and history in order to fit their conceptions and their interests with no remorse or care for the consequences and the people they offend in the process. The storytelling is exquisite, the inclusion of poetry is so so beautiful (and so is reading poetry aloud to your crush and baring your soul to them haha when will someone read love poems to me aha) and I loved every single line with my entire being. I have to be honest and say that I did have a bit of a hard time at first because I find novellas to have quite abrupt beginnings where not a lot of things are explicited because of the length restrictions, and also because I have been in a reading slump for months, but after the first twenty or so pages I was completely immersed. After the exposition, the story was very easy to follow and absolutely delightful! I see myself rereading this one very soon, actually, I just adored it that much. e-Arc provided by NetGalley but all opinions are my own _____________________ ahhh!!! rtc tomorrow

  28. 4 out of 5

    lei (pearl)

    3-3.5 idk it was pretty good,, i think novellas just aren't my thing. props to nghi vo for the talent tho pls pass me some of that excellent writing style 3-3.5 idk it was pretty good,, i think novellas just aren't my thing. props to nghi vo for the talent tho pls pass me some of that excellent writing style

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hsinju

    Content warnings: murder, death, blood When you love a thing too much, it is a special kind of pain to show them to others and to see that they are lacking. This is one of those books that made me wonder if I have read the same thing as everyone else. I have heard so many readers rave about this series, and yet I am unsure of what I had just read. Maybe it was the emotionally detached storytelling on top of the unfamiliar high fantasy world that made me unable to connect with the story. Yes, I Content warnings: murder, death, blood When you love a thing too much, it is a special kind of pain to show them to others and to see that they are lacking. This is one of those books that made me wonder if I have read the same thing as everyone else. I have heard so many readers rave about this series, and yet I am unsure of what I had just read. Maybe it was the emotionally detached storytelling on top of the unfamiliar high fantasy world that made me unable to connect with the story. Yes, I enjoyed this one a little more than I did the first book The Empress of Salt and Fortune, which I was so confused by I couldn’t rate nor review. I thought after reading the sequel, the series would make more sense to me, but alas, I still don’t get the story. There were so many fantastical things that were facts to the characters but pure confusion for me. In When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, cleric Chih (they/them) tells the sapphic love story between tiger Ho Thi Tao and Scholar Dieu to three tiger sisters, Ho Sinh Loan, Ho Sinh Hoa, and Ho Sinh Cam, hoping that they and scout Si-Yu (sapphic) won’t end up as the tigers’ supper. Both this and the previous novellas are stories within stories. We are with the characters in the scenes and experience interruptions as the storytelling goes on. Here, the love story between a tiger who can turn into a woman and a human woman is told by Chih, who is human, to three tigers. My main takeaway is that for history and all stories, what we learn is merely the storyteller’s version of truth, and with different perspectives, interpretations change, too. I received an e-ARC from Tordotcom via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ReadBecca

    Our inquisitive cleric Chih is headed over the mountains with the help of Si-yu from the mammoth corps, on the back of her young mammoth Piluk. They intend to stop when they reach Si-yu's uncle, until just as they near, are beset by a trio of tigers. Holed up in a barn, keeping the tigers at bay, naturally what would Chih do but tell a story - the tale of their tiger ancestor Ho Thi Thao and her human bride. The tigers become caught up in hearing and correcting the errors in the human telling. Un Our inquisitive cleric Chih is headed over the mountains with the help of Si-yu from the mammoth corps, on the back of her young mammoth Piluk. They intend to stop when they reach Si-yu's uncle, until just as they near, are beset by a trio of tigers. Holed up in a barn, keeping the tigers at bay, naturally what would Chih do but tell a story - the tale of their tiger ancestor Ho Thi Thao and her human bride. The tigers become caught up in hearing and correcting the errors in the human telling. Unlike the previous entry, there is minimal stylistic element to the writing, it's just narrative and storytelling. So those who didn't get along with the structure of the previous might enjoy this more, personally I've loved both. Vo's writing has this bright, crisp quality that is artful and beautiful without being flowery, even in the presence of actual poetry in the text. I absolutely adored the troubled love story we are told between a scholar and a tiger, though I feel like this maybe has some connection back to the significance of tigers in folklore that I am sadly uninformed about. A strange though I feel apt comparison I found, I just couldn't help but think of what people love about the romance in Killing Eve, the love between an intelligent yet emotional and weak woman, with a woman who is powerful and predatory, in this case a literal predator. They have this tenuous situation that could result in harming one another at any time despite their love because of the strange rules of who they are that love has found a place within.

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