Reviews for When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, by Nghi Vo

bearinaboat's review

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emotional mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

erin_lovell's review

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adventurous funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

zainabsaba's review against another edition

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adventurous

4.5

atcucchetti's review

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  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

 “It came to Ho Thi Thao that perhaps she wanted to learn how else the scholar was beautiful, and even in what ways the scholar might be ugly, which could also be fascinating and beloved.”

"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."

Cleric Chih travels the mountain pass by mammoth with the guide Si-yu reaching the inn as it grows dark. They interrupt a group of mystical tigers working to eat the inn’s night watchman. In an effort to save all of them from the same fate, Chih lures the tigers with a story about the romance and marriage of the scholar Dieu and the tiger Ho Thi Thao. The tigers will check her work correcting, adding details from their version. If Chih fails, the tigers will devour them all. With no guarantees of safety, Chih begins. They weave a tale rich in detail and adventure, a story nested within the larger one. As the night continues, the tigers shift back and forth to human form to hunt, fight, and frighten. All mesmerized by the back and forth storytelling.

I enjoyed the rich compact storytelling. Readers will be drawn in by the beauty of language and emotion becoming invested quickly, deeply. A little Scheherazade in feeling, telling stories all night to stay alive with episodes of story nested within a larger one. While this is a follow up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune, you could easily read this one out of order. But Salt and Fortune is so good and short there is no need to skip ahead. While I enjoyed Empress of Salt and Fortune more (immediately going back to begin again the minute I finished), When Tiger Came Down the Mountain is a great read and leaves me hoping for more adventures from Cleric Chih. Both novellas share the qualities of layered storytelling that read like fairy tales and a historical archive simultaneously wonders of rich detail snuggled tightly into the quick page count. I can not say enough good things about these books, really. 

lucyjo's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

uncommonloon's review against another edition

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4.0

Just like the last one, a thoughtful, well-written story with an enthralling world.

wintersorbit's review against another edition

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3.0

I really enjoyed the first half of both the main story and the story within it, but unfortunately it lost me after that. Still a solid novella, but it didn't pack as much of a punch as The Empress of Salt and Fortune did for me.

wintersolace's review against another edition

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4.0

A quick read told in a story-telling fashion. What I enjoyed about this one is the focus that every story has two sides. Even if the story is fantasy, the point is relevant. The cleric only knows what they have been told (and what has been documented), yet here the tigers are given the opportunity to tell their version. Food for thought.

mousethatreads's review against another edition

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4.0

This fantasy novella is pure magic and even better than the first installment. Nghi Vo has this phenomenal ability to create a world, fully fleshed out, in such a short amount of time. These novellas read like magical an intriguing fairy tales and I am always so invested in the characters and their stories. I could not recommend these stories enough! This is a quick, yet beautifully crafted read.

loveclub's review against another edition

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funny hopeful inspiring reflective medium-paced

5.0

i adore this novella series so much!! i love the way nghi vo explores the complexities of storytelling through the most beautiful stories that feel simultaneously comfortingly familiar and completely unique. i can't decide if i like this or empress more; i'm leaning towards this one purely bc food as a symbol of love is a recurring motif in it and i'm nothing if not a sucker for that, but both are equally brilliant.