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Tiger Lily

(Tiger Lily #1)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Lily isn't supposed to hunt game in the Daimyo's woods. She's just the cook's daughter. It isn't her place to talk to nobility. And she definitely isn't supposed to sing the forbidden old, Jindo religion songs.

But Lily was born in the year of the Tiger, and can't ever be like other village girls. In the woods snaring rabbits one day, she finds instead the Daimyo's son, Ash
Kindle Edition, 277 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by K. Bird Lincoln
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Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew RoweCrown of Ice by Vicki L. WeavilThe Waterfall Traveler by S.J. LemDevotion by Katika SchneiderBallad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty
SPFBO 3 2017
297 books — 132 voters
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SPFBO Finalists
48 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  123 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Full review now posted!

There aren’t enough Asian-inspired fantasies out there. It seems like the vast majority of fantasy novels still somehow manage to feel medieval European in setting and tone, so it’s always refreshing to find a work of fantasy that bucks that trend. So when I heard about this book, and that it was inspired by feudal Japan and Shintoism, I was more than a little intrigued and excited. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. At all.

I had problems with this book. It was less tha
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spfbo
I read this as it's one of the #SPFBO finalists, and I appear to be having a bit of a mixed reaction to the other finalists so far...

This book should have been the sort of story I love, as it's based in 13th C Eastern culture in a time where people are born within animal-themed years and this affects their personalities. We follow Tiger Lily who was born in the year of the Tiger, and so she's wilful and different, defying many of the expectations of women at the time and also considered unlucky
kartik narayanan
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Move over FitzChivalry Farseer, you have a successor. Tiger Lily is an individual who is filled with as much self-loathing as you are.

Ya, ya - the book is decently researched and it is set during the pre-shogunate era. But make no mistake, this is no Shogun. In fact, this is the exact opposite. This book has one of the most horrible main characters possible. I stopped reading Robin Hobb because I am not into torture porn. And I will not be reading any further Tiger Lily books for the same reaso
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is the finalist for Qwillery's grouping!

Lily was born in the year of the Tiger, and it's negatively affected her throughout her life. In this world, the year you're born into has a huge effect on your personality. People more or less follow the personality types of their birth years - with Tigers being quick to anger, passionate, and outspoken. These aren't good traits for a woman in this time period (13th century) and often times girls born in the year of the Tiger are given away
Mark Lawrence
I've not read this book yet, but it's one of ten finalists in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2017.

So there's that!

Review here:

More about the SPFBO here:

List of finalists here:
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Tiger Lilly has just entered SPFBO 2017 finals as the Qwillery contender. As soon as it happened I bought the copy and started reading it. And then started reading two other books and few short stories. Somehow I just couldn’t get into it.

It’s not a bad book – it’s very clean, polished and well researched. Prose is good, characters are diverse, setting is quite unique for fantasy genre. And yet getting through it was a struggle for me.

Our protagonist – Lily who was born in the year of the Tiger
Julia Sarene
This one wasn't bad, but it also ddidn't blow me away.
I liked the prose, but I didn't much like the main characters - at all. While I could at least sometimes feel with Tiger Lily her "Lordling" annyoed me at the best of times. So not really caring about either of them took away a lot of the story for me. I liked how Lily wasn't how she was supposed to be - meek and shy and doing what she's told, but I couldn't really understand a lot of her decisions, and her emotions often felt a bit "off
Rob Hayes
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Tiger Lily was full of ups and downs for me. On one hand I loved the setting and concept of kami (spirits) at war with humanity due to religious persecution, and I thought the gender issues were very well handled. On the other hand the main character, Lily, was so damned frustrating!

The book is written in first person and so we ride along in the head of Lily-of-the-Valley, a young lady born in the year of the Tiger. It's important to note that birth animal effects the person's personality in thi
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow, I have no idea where to start with this review. Since I was approached by the author for me to review her book, and that rarely happens to me, I believe I should give it a nice long, reflective review that this story deserves.

If it’s not clear by now from the summary, this story is a historical fantasy set in Japan. Isn’t that awesome? There just aren’t enough books that explore the potential this rich world has. Admittedly, I am not all that familiar with the Muromachi period – the Heian a
Marie Okamoto
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it

Absolutely a page turner! The writing could have been a bit more polished, but fine for a summer read. The content was more mystical than I expected and lent an exciting, unpredictable dimension to the plot.
Nancy Foster
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo
First of all, I thank the author for the ARC that was kindly given to me almost 2 years ago. Better late than never!

Secondly, after reading all of the reviews that pretty much hated this book because they disliked the main character, I can understand why. Lily wastes half of the story either feeling sorry for herself even though her middle class life as a cook's daughter/laughing stock of the village isn't *that* bad.

However, her constant whining/crying/self-loathing isn't nearly as bad as the d
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lily is a young woman living in a somewhat traditional Asian setting, but she's often in trouble for not behaving, she often goes into the woods where she shouldn't to forage for food to share with her siblings as they never seem to have enough. Even though she's mistreated for her behavior, everyone around her acts as if it is to be assumed because she was born under the Tiger sign, which is unlucky for a girl as it imparts such undesirable traits.
One of these days while she is out in the fore
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Read the review over at Fantasy Book Critic (along with 3 other mini-reviews)

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Tiger Lily is the most unique book amongst all the ten finalists. The author had remarked upon this fact when her book won a place in the finals and I wholeheartedly agree with her. From its settings to its characters, to its prose Tiger Lily sets itself apart from its contemporaries by giving us accurate descriptions and then some.

Tiger Lily is set in a world which is inspired by Japanese history an
The Nerd Book Review
I am hoping to do an interview with the author sometime in the near future but a quick and dirty.

I would rate this somewhere around a 3.5 if Goodreads had half stars. The book finishes off really strong but the first 50% was a bit slow for me.

The story is set in feudal Japan and has a Single POV character named Lilly who was unfortunately born in the year of the Tiger. This is a good thing for male babies but considered a great curse for a girl baby. Lilly has that large, awkward, ugly ducklin
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Those born in this region are said to take on characteristics of the animal that marks the year of their birth. Tiger Lily, as one may guess, was born in the year of the tiger (like myself, in fact.) She is unlucky and low born, however this is all set to change when she comes across the highborn son and saves his life.

The tone of the novel emulates the setting, which helps the reader get into the story. While this usually works well (as it does for the majority of the book), at times it shudder
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Tiger Lily is about a girl named Lily who was born in the year of the Tiger. She’s the daughter of a cook and is looked down upon for being a Tiger girl. Well, one day as she’s wandering through the woods, she comes upon the Emperor’s son, Ashikaga, who has just been badly injured by the Pretender-Emperor’s men. She saves him through a forbidden Jindo song. By doing so, she puts herself in the middle of a fight between the real Emperor and the Pretender-Emperor — all while having to trust
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ashikaga, Ashikaga, Ashikaga....(chant continues)

Stunning in so many ways. The writing, for a start - Lincoln is amazing at multisensory descriptions that really put you in the setting. Although she does have a weird fondness for food comparisons...
The pace was ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON I was so impressed with that aspect. It was fast enough to hook me (since I usually read about 9 books at a time, to make me put all the rest on hold is the highest of compliments) without being overwhelmingly fast and
I've owned this book for around a year. I finally read it. It was paced fine, and it pulled at my heartstrings a lot. The setting - in historical Japan - was interesting. That was what I liked.


The ending didn't leave me very satisfied - it was rather inconclusive in several areas.

I didn't love Ashikaga, to be perfectly honest. He irritated me, a lot, and we didn't get to know him at all. I didn't like his attitude towards Lily, and I overall just did not like him.

I did like Lily, but di
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

This was a great way to start out the reading year. The setting is 1300's Japan, which was fascinating. I felt completely immersed in the harsh realities of peasants living in feudal Japan, especially of our main character, Tiger Lily, who was born in the year of the Tiger. I had no idea this was so rare; not the fact that girls were born during that year, but that very few of them were allowed to live. I felt like I was struggling along with her as she endured so many
Vickie Sigler
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful descriptions...

Along with an interesting historical piece with overtones of magic songs and warriors who can change into anals, Lincoln offers wonderful descriptions. I was enchanted by her comparisons of every day emotional and physical feelings to the taste and feel if common foods and elements. The awareness of Tiger Lily grows throughout the story as she is called to make tough decisions and to risk her life and future as she chooses life.
Christian Ellingsen
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, spfbo3
Lily was born in feudal Japan in the Year of the Tiger, her year of birth making her believe she is destined to be wilful and to live outside the social norms. Indeed, rather than follow her duties as peasant in the rice paddies, she is often running away from her responsibilities. Before her mother disappeared, she raised Lily in the traditional worship of the Kami. Unfortunately for Lily the worship of the Kami has been suppressed by the Emperor and her local daimyo in favour of Buddhism. When ...more
Rick Novy
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tiger Lily, by K. Bird Lincoln, is the story of a young adult woman, Lily of the Valley, set in a culture much like ancient Japan. The culture is similar enough to Japan’s to fool all but the astute non-native, but the author does give a caveat up front.

Lily of the Valley was born in the year of the tiger, to a father who is the chef for the local nobility, and a mother who was a Jinto priestess. The practice of Jinto has been outlawed in favor of Bhudism, and Lily’s mother mysteriously disappea
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book set in a somewhat fantastical medieval Japan. The main character, Lily, is a peasant girl born in the year of the Tiger - strong, stubborn, and not very marriageable (which really doesn't concern her too much). Her mother, before disappearing, followed the old Jindo ways, which Lily observes out of custom, even though they are now forbidden. And Lily's observance of said ways ends up setting a whole bunch of things in motion when the Daimyo's son finds her singing Jindo songs ...more
Raelyn Falkin
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, own
This book isn’t one that I normally read in that the pace is a bit slow. The story, the pace and just the feel of the book was slower than many of the books I’ve been reading lately. Rather than action and adventure at the turn of every page, Lincoln took to the time for the reader to get to know the characters and their lives. A big part of this novel was the lifestyle of the characters; the differences between Lily and Prince Ashikaga.

While it may seem slow for many people, there was plenty of
B. McMichael
Lily is a peasant, unfortunate girl born in the year of the Tiger set to live out life as the village spinster for her bad luck. But it might not be so bad when she is in the right place at the wrong time and able to save her young lord. That is only the start of her problems when the fox spirits attract and only her forbidden Jindo songs can help. Her secret is only one of many that leads her life on a new adventure.

This was a fun historical read. Medieval Japan was an interesting setting for a
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Enoyable - the main character's combination of stubbornness and her desire to be a "dutiful daughter", the gender-bending romance, the fantasy world magickal rules. The thing that made this just a like for me is that the reviews praised it as being a good picture of mideval Japan but as I read it, I knew the clash between Buddhism and Shintoism hadn't been quite so parallel as the mideval clash between Christianity and paganism as it was made to be seen in the book. It bothered me quite a bit. I ...more
Charlotte Anne
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a wonderful coming of age story of a peasant girl in emperial Japan. I stayed frustrated with her naivete, more to the cautious side than the accepting and gullible type. However, she was a very sheltered girl of fifteen or sixteen (who should have been married, but was seen as unmarriable) so not such a girl by moden standards. However, she becomes involves in the region's lord's business and an ally of one of the lord's sons. Lily was far out of her depth when she got involv ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I purchased this book because I enjoy historical fiction and am planning a trip to Japan later this year. Well-written historical fiction provides me with a sense of time and place and socio-political dynamics in away that non-fiction does not always achieve. I was very disappointed in this book. The concept, plot and bare bones of the book is very good, but it was not developed well. Consequently, I found it rather shallow, and at times, not believable. The action is repetitive and cyclic to a ...more
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
I know I read this but frankly, I barely remember it. Which doesn't speak well of it! ...more
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K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional, breast cancer survivor, and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate-- without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest. Her speculative short stories are published in va ...more

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