Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.

Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the first book in Swati Teerdhala's debut fantasy trilogy captivates with electric romance, stunning action, and the fierce bonds that hold people together—and drive them apart.

487 pages, Hardcover

First published April 23, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Swati Teerdhala

6 books572 followers
Swati Teerdhala is a storyteller and writer.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell.

She currently lives in New York City.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,211 (23%)
4 stars
1,910 (37%)
3 stars
1,449 (28%)
2 stars
424 (8%)
1 star
113 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 893 reviews
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,149 followers
May 8, 2020
This book was... ok. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was just ok. That was the problem.

I spent the entire time reading just wishing to fully dive into the story and not being able to. This isn't a bad book. There is nothing blatantly wrong with the novel. My issue isn't even a specific issue, but rather a collection of small things that kept accumulating and rubbing me the wrong way.

Something that didn't allow me to fully dive into the story was that the book lacked atmosphere. It wasn't for lack of imagination in setting or lore, but because this supposedly magical book suffers from underwhelmingly mundane writing where things are told and never showed and everything is exactly as it seems. That, and there were several moments where certain phrasing of words made me pause, thus pulling me out of the story.

Then there was the pacing. It felt off. It would pick up and slow down at strange times and I think it might have been because of the romance. Just when you think the tension is rising, the MC's start making heart eyes at each other. Also, some scenes felt repetitive, like we got the same information told to us over and over, and told in the exact same way each time.

I've seen a lot of people praise these characters and I was really hoping to join the club, but alas, the characters fell flat for me. I don't know why but I just couldn't connect with them. Maybe it was because the premise made it sound like they would be some total badasses and they really weren't.

Esha is described as dangerous, she's an assassin, a rebel, a spy, the Viper that everyone fears. I usually have a hard time believing it when a teenager is the world's greatest/ most feared anything in YA, but I especially don't buy it when we don't see said teenager do anything to confirm their reputation.

Kunal too felt underwhelming. I wanted more from him and I didn't get it. He has a cool back story, he's been a soldier his whole life, his uncle trained him to be deadly, to kill! You'd think this would have an effect on how he views the world or in his actions, but no. Not really.

I think I just wanted darker, grittier, more dangerous characters. Characters like the synopsis promised and didn't deliver.

All the hating aside, I think this had a good premise and an interesting beginning. It's a book that had the potential to be amazing, but alas, it wasn't. It was all pretty underwhelming if I'm honest.

But maybe I'm just being picky and mean.

Overall, I didn't love this book. Not even close. It's not the worst book I've read this year (that would be The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada ) but it's also nowhere near the best. This book was just ok, and life is too short to read books that are  'just ok'.

I'm not sure if I recommend it and I doubt I'll continue the series.

But, here's a gif of a tiger to brighten the mood!

I received an ARC of this book in July of 2018. I started reading this book on April 16, 2019, a week before it was released. Talk about procrastination.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. all opinions are my own.

Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr || Pinterest
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,945 followers
September 20, 2018
Sooo I'm a little biased here, because Swati is actually my writing mentor and a lovely person - but I REALLY loved this book (and I would have loved it just as much even if I didn't know her personally)!

If you know anything about me, you know I'm a huge fan of the cat and mouse trope - and heated banter. Like please give me all the heated banter forever and ever amen. So with that said, my heart was so giddy over Kunal and Esha! They are my children now and I love them and ship them endlessly.

But the best part (banter/heat aside) was the seriously incredible world building. First of all, the Indian mythology was SO COOL - and the foundation upon which the two warring nations are built. I've never read anything quite like it, but I love how the legends weren't just myths but had the power to disrupt life at its core. On top of that, we have a super rich history that depicts the relationship between Kunal's lands and Esha's, and it only grows more complex as the story plays on. I love how nothing is black and white - and complications arise from all ends. What really made the story fun was that we go on a journey through both character's eyes - traveling through towns and jungles and cities and palaces. You won't be sitting still.

The story starts as Kunal, a soldier, sees a mysterious girl lurking around his fort. He approaches her, and she pretends that she's merely lost her way. The two strike up a conversation - harmless, by the looks of it, and he helps her return to where she claimed she wanted to be. The next morning, Kunal wakes to find his uncle, the general, dead in his bed - with the Viper (an unknown assassin of sorts)'s weapon left in the room. The next thing he knows, he's sent on a mission to find the Viper. If he catches them, he'll be promoted - and can make a real change for his country.

It doesn't take him long to put the pieces together - that the Viper, is in fact, the girl from the fort.

I really don't want to spoil more than that, but be prepared for a whirlwind ride through emerald forests and colorful towns as the chase begins, and soon both Esha and Kunal are questioning everything they know and everyone they trust.

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter
Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
216 reviews111 followers
April 10, 2019
Plot: 3/5 Characters: 3/5 Writing: 4/5

The Tiger at Midnight was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2019, however, it sadly fell a bit flat for me. It was just so... average. I felt like I had read it all before.

Let's start with the positives. The world building was excellently done and I loved finding out more about the different places. The imagery of sprawling rainforests contrasted with bustling cities was a delight to the senses.

The book was about two warring countries called Jansa and Dharka. Esha was an infamous Dharkan rebel assassin who went by the name, 'The Viper,' and was tasked with killing a Jansan army commander. Kunal was a Jansan soldier tasked with capturing The Viper.

I felt like I was trapped in a time loop for most of the book because it was so repetitive and consisted of the same events happening again and again with slight variations. There were three stages.

(1) Kunal finds Esha who he knew was The Viper and was supposed to capture.

(2) Instead of capturing her, he has a nice little chat with her while he admires her gorgeous hair and chestnut eyes and she marvels at his beautiful eyes and his extraordinary kindness.

(3) Esha escapes and Kunal lets her have a head start before resuming his pursuit of her once again.

It was very frustrating because they both had responsibilities and tasks they had to accomplish but instead they were running around in circles all over Jansa whilst making heart eyes at each other. Don't get me wrong, they made a very adorable pair but I just wished there was more variety in their story.

Also, Esha was supposedly a ruthless assassin but she doesn't really kill anyone or do anything particularly ruthless that would have earned her the level of notoriety she supposedly had. Her character wasn't very believable.

The plot did become a bit more interesting near the end but the problem was, I found all of the plot twists so underwhelming that the effect was lost on me.

Nevertheless, I feel like the way this book ended means that the next book has the potential to be really good. I want to read the next book in the series and, hopefully, I will enjoy it more!

Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Swati Teerdhala for providing me with a digital arc of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

This review and more can be found at Sereadipity.
Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
1,014 reviews530 followers
September 3, 2019
I think me and ya fantasy may need to part ways soon.

This followed every stereotypical plot line nuance and fulfilled every trope to perfection.

Nothing excited me, interested me or surprised me in this book.

Some of the writing regarding the world building was enjoyable - but the characters were mostly insufferable due to their cookie cutter personas.

I’ve read the same book in a different setting repeatedly in the last few years. Now I’m bored of it.
Profile Image for Swati.
Author 6 books572 followers
February 4, 2019
I am SO excited to share THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT with you all in just a few months! Keep an eye out here for more regular updates. ;)

A little Author's Note:

Whenever I'd go to India to visit my grandparents as a child, they'd tell me tales from our Hindu mythology – of honorable warriors and strong queens, star-crossed romances and epic battles. These stories fueled my imagination and showed me that there was rarely pure good or evil in the world, that our lives are a series of choices we make.

THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT is my homage to those tales and combines SO much I love -- action, romance, mystery -- in a setting that's filled with magic and Indian history.

I can't wait to share this story with you all!
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
July 6, 2018
To put into perspective:

I started this book around 1 am. I finished at 6 am and am up writing this review (full one to come closer to publication) because I just cannot stop gushing about it. Definitely add this one to your TBR's, fantasy lovers!

The Tiger at Midnight immediately caught my attention with its gorgeous cover. Before I knew it, the writing sucked me in, and after I got to meet the characters, I was thoroughly ensnared in its pages. This Indian-inspired fantasy is full of deceit, secrets, and a game of chase between two morally gray characters. It’s enthralling from beginning to finish, and I don’t quite remember when a debut fantasy ensnared me the way this book did. Readers follow the main characters Esha and Kunal - two vastly different people from vastly different standings - as they move forward in a fast-paced plot where the lands aren’t safe, and the kingdom needs balance. Who will get there first? And what will it take to do so?

“Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds.”
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.8k followers
January 9, 2020
Absolutely loved this. This was a total sleeper hit for me. I had interviewed the author earlier in 2019 and was super excited about reading her book but never got the chance to until now. This was the ancient India/Hindu mythology-inspired, soldier vs rebel, cat-and-mouse fantasy that I never knew I needed. Loved the main characters, Esha and Kunal, both as characters and as a ship. Although I wish we could have spent more time with other characters and the scope of the world as a whole, I do feel like there's a TON of potential for the future books so I cannot wait to read those! Overall, this was a wonderful first novel read of the year and I'm so happy I finally picked this up!
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
602 reviews812 followers
April 19, 2019
weeeeOOOWWWW i'm so glad I have this on preorder (and it's coming on Tuesday!!!) because that was amazing???

1) actually good romantic tension gimme gimme
2) lush worlds!!! so much!!!
3) if you've seen pictures of the hardcover, it's got this GORGEOUS super shiny gold spine that makes me swoooooon. *grabby hands*
Profile Image for Mads.
179 reviews293 followers
June 25, 2021
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,893 followers
March 18, 2019
Coming in at almost five hundred pages in my physical ARC, I thought this would be a book I'd have to chip away at for a day or two. But THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT was such an easy read and I devoured it in only a few hours. That said, I'm not entirely sure this is a fantasy that's going to stick with me. Also arg another trilogy I'm going to have to keep track of amongst all the other things I read.. #bookishproblems

Anyway, I was drawn to this story because of the diversity and wanting more lush, magical, reads in my life (ideally in a standalone format but whateverrrrr) and this is all that and more. We have a female assassin, working towards saving her people through whatever means necessary, and a young man on the opposing side who has been raised to believe something he discovers might not be true. There's an ailing kingdom, betrayal, romance, a cat and mouse chase, reunited friends, and plots upon plots. There's a lot to love here, particularly as the characters themselves are complex and both undergo some growth by the end of this first instalment.

But. I feel like I only skimmed along the surface of this -- never really able to sink into it -- while pages flipped by at a quick rate, and I'm not sure I'll remember anything about this in a month. Much less a year. So, I don't know. I enjoyed it.. but. That's pretty much a good tagline of this one.

2.5ish (?) stars

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews533 followers
November 8, 2020
March 15, 2020: Everyone should be knowing how much I love Indian history and Hindu mythology...I was adoring this YA fantasy from afar since last year and now that I've listened to it, I want ALL OF YOU to pick it up too. A romance that gets you a OTP, chase & adventure, cultural references, and an amazing writing! Full review to come someday.

December 10, 2018: Indian MC – Assassin female + Soldier male | Hindu Mythology | Ancient Indian history | PERFECT |
Profile Image for Natasha Ngan.
Author 7 books3,389 followers
April 10, 2019
A deliciously twisty cat-and-mouse story that had me racing through the pages. I love stories that challenge their protagonists' beliefs, and both Esha and Kunal face complex, heart-breaking decisions in their journey to discover both themselves and each other.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,052 reviews215 followers
April 17, 2020
I may have postponed reading this book for almost an year despite being very excited for it, but I’m glad I finally had the chance to read it now. It was the exact kind of fun fast paced YA fantasy I needed during these anxiety inducing times.

I really liked Kunal and Esha as characters. Their cat and mouse chase, banter, a bit of a slow burn relationship development was all a lot of fun to read. I also thought they both were great individually, with their own values and convictions, and how understanding each other changed them was written beautifully. The plot is also very fast paced, with something happening and unraveling all the time, and the author’s use of short chapters also kept the tension going. I also listened to the audiobook in parts and thought the narration was excellent.

Now I know why all my friends love this book so much and I’m actually happy that I only have about a month to wait for the sequel’s release. I hope that one will turn out to be as lovely as the this super entertaining debut.
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
April 24, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I heard nothing about The Tiger at Midnight! I've not even seen reviews of it... I hope my review can spur on some buzz... because it totally deserves the attention!!

My Experience

It was quite easy to be pulled into the war torn world of The Tiger at Midnight. The opening scene is delightful and gives you a real taste of what is to come... because its flirting, sparring, one upping and even more bantering! This eases us into the Indian-inspired world caught in a war that is ripping the land and its people apart. We don't get too much world building in the beginning as we are meeting our two protagonists and getting to know each character's side in this war.

As the chase begins we get a glimpse of what life has been like for those caught between the soldiers and the rebels. It's a world we've seen enough of that we race past the setting and delve deeper into the relationship between our Viper and her soldier. I really loved Esha's moxie and her back and forth with Kunal. He is very much her equal and its that tug of war that really captures your attention. The plot though is really loose. And its a little boring in the beginning because this kind of setup isn't anything new. We do learn about a bond with the land that we sense will be a big deal later on...

The closer to the end of the book the tighter the story and the better the plot. The last quarter of the book really introduces us to some other spectacular characters that I wish we saw more of in The Tiger at Midnight... In any case it makes me excited for the sequel...

The Premise

Esha really captured my imagination right from first meeting her. The Viper is a morally grey rebel vigilante who evens the score in this war torn time. No one knows she works for the prince of the rival country... or do they?! The story starts when Esha realizes there is a third player in this game of war... Enter Kunal who totally made me want to protect his cinnamon roll heart. Not to say that Esha was the only kickass fighter... he was her equal and gave her a run for her money, but he clearly has the softer heart and a head for justice.

This is clearly a romance. The Tiger at Midnight sets up these two people on the opposite sides of war drawn lines. We get a fun bantering duo who must decide what's important to them. And as we travel to the point they each must decide what the other means to them we get to experience every moment that builds their relationship. I really like the idea of this premise. And if romance is good for you then these enemies to lovers will melt your heart... but the whole mystery of the failing land is only lightly touched upon. We do get a solid direction by the end but its only a start.

We also have this third player in the war that neither the rebel or the soldier knew was there... We get some resolution with this and I really appreciated how it meshed well with Kunal and Esha making some decisions about their relationship. So while The Tiger at Midnight is a cliffhanger it gives us some resolution and has nicely built us up to get into the meat of the war... and how to fix the problems with the land.

Cover & Title grade -> A+

There is something truly beautiful about this cover. I love the purple and gold color... I love the angle of the pediment the assassin is sitting on. I love that you can't tell too many features of said assassin. The only thing a touch underwhelming is the typography. It's a little boring. Still its such a gorgeous cover! Blessedly The Tiger at Midnight is a book you'll want to keep on your bookshelves... and isn't that such an intriguing title?! I love how the tiger at midnight is worked into the story too.

Why should you plan on reading The Tiger at Midnight?

-Epic romance!
The banter, the flirting, the fighting, the traps... these two totally make it an adventure to fall in love and we get to be in on the action every step of the way.

-The moral dilemma!
The General that Esha targets is Kunal's uncle... Yes, what a dilemma! And it really is a major sticking point in their relationship.

-A lost princess!
The whole mythology at the heart of the failing land bond is quite intriguing. We only get hints of this but I definitely want to know more.

-Another side to the war!
This was an intriguing aspect of Esha and Kunal's journey... we know there is someone else who has their own agenda in this black and white war... But who is it? Why are they acting now?

-Who is your family?!
At the last quarter of the book we are presented with those people who have become Esha's family. They aren't perfect and yet she is totally loyal to them... How does Kunal fit in? Can he?

The Writing

The pacing was all over the place. There was too much romance in The Tiger at Midnight and not enough of the war action. Both should have been balanced more between the first and second book. Beginner mistakes. Still at the heart of the story is some good stuff. We have some mythology. The moral dilemmas of war too. And the characters are #1. Give me some people that I can fall in love with and root for and I'm going to hang in there...

I do wish that the beginning was a lot tighter. There was quite a bit of duplication. The worst was that we got over and over about the land bond failing said different ways but not giving us any more information. It's fine to recap the information we've been told but we should at least learn a little more each time, whether from events or the characters' feelings changing and growing.

The Tiger at Midnight sets us up to save a land torn apart by war... our reason to put ourselves out there?! Esha and Kunal... two people on opposite sides who actually value the same things. Will an epic romance be what brings together these fighting nations?! We'll have to see in the sequel... You'll want to get in on The Tiger at Midnight first!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,633 followers
May 6, 2019
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/05/05/...

I really enjoyed this. Inspired by the culture of ancient India and Hindu mythology, The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala features a cat-and-mouse game of deception and thrills between a rebel assassin and the reluctant young soldier tasked to bring her to justice.

Years ago, when Esha was a child, she and her family lived a happy existence at the palace where they were close companions to the royal family. But that was until a bloody coup took everything she has ever loved away from her. Now a fighter for exiled prince’s resistance, she has dedicated her life to avenging her murdered parents and to taking down the current regime. By day, she plays the role of the innocent merchant’s daughter, just a pretty girl selling poppy seeds at the market. But by night, Esha assumes the mantle of the Viper, a mysterious assassin who takes down important enemies for the rebels, striking quickly and mercilessly at her targets. And tonight, her mark is the ruthless General Hotha, a man who has the blood of innocents on his hands.

Meanwhile, unaware that his life is about to be changed forever, a fort soldier named Kunal extends a helping hand to a doe-eyed young woman, unwittingly bringing the Viper one step closer to completing the task of assassinating his uncle, the general. But when Esha reaches Hotha’s chambers, she realizes with a shock that someone had already beaten her to her mark. Finding herself the victim of a setup, Esha escapes the fort, determined to find out who is trying to frame her and why. But that’s just the least of her problems. With their esteemed general dead, the enemy now needs a new commander. Together with a few of his peers, Kunal is offered an opportunity to succeed his uncle—but only if he can catch the Viper before any of the others. Of course, there are clear challenges to this. Assuming the Viper is not just a myth, no one knows who he or she is, though most assume the assassin is a man, while others believe the name is an identity used by several people. With his clever mind and sharp instincts though, Kunal has the advantage. As he pursues the Viper across the land, he also begins to question his loyalties and wonder at the feelings Esha and the rebels are awakening within him.

The Tiger at Midnight was a novel that drew me in effortlessly with its vivid prose, robust world-building, and compelling story. And oh, the characters, how I loved the characters. Right away, we are introduced to Esha and Kumal in a sweet boy-meets-girl scenario of light flirtation and a bit of fun innuendo—except, of course, we soon find out there is a lot more to the situation. And yet, the two of them are just so likeable, you can’t help but want to see them wind up together. Even with the obvious direction of the story and the inevitability of a romance in the cards, there was still plenty of tension in the air knowing that both these characters have a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to find their happiness.

This tension is what resulted in much of the interest that kept me reading, and I thought author Swati Teerdhala handled it so well. It also prevented the repeated encounters between Esha and Kumal from becoming too tedious and predictable, as each of their interactions introduced something new to the relationship. I loved watching the characters grow before my eyes, maturing in their thinking and personalities, as well as the epic game of the tug o’ war regarding their emotions for each other. The romance itself was gradual and realistic, putting it a cut above the insta-love you see in too many YA books these days. In addition, it gave some of the later revelations in the plot more weight.

Speaking of which, the story contained enough familiar themes to make it easy to follow but also a fair bit of political intrigue and complexity to keep things engaging. As well, there’s an element of mystery in the plot where Esha has to figure out who is trying to frame her, and the added (if somewhat manufactured) conflict of Kumal believing she is the one behind his uncle’s murder. But overall, the chase was fun and exciting, and we were treated to rich descriptions of the Indian-inspired setting whenever there were calmer moments in the story. The world felt lush and fully-realized, and I enjoyed the magic which began as a light touch in the early sections of the book only to play a major role later on.

Overall, I don’t have many complaints, despite The Tiger at Midnight being a debut. Swati Teerdhala manages to avoid many of the missteps that plague new authors, and in general I found her storytelling and characters to be exceedingly well done. I look forward to the next installment to see what happens next.

Audiobook Comments: Sneha Mathan narrates the audiobook of The Tiger at Midnight, delivering a superb performance. She handled both Esha and Kumal very well, navigating character voices and accents with fantastic flow and ease.
Profile Image for mads.
410 reviews368 followers
June 24, 2021
Update: 6/24/21

Reread in preparation for Chariot at Dusk coming out in a few days. This book is still criminally underrated. Kunal and Esha serve nearly every trope the book community loves and yet I never see anyone talking about it.

"Am I allowed to speak now without you threatening me?"
Esha snorted. "The day I don't threaten you is the day you're already dead."
He gave her a crooked smile. "Good to know."

Like?? C'mon. Read it. You know you want to.

Anyway, the review below still accurately sums up how I feel about this.


Original Read: 5/10/21

"Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds."

Holy cow!! This was sooo good. I'll admit that I didn't have many expectations going into this, because I'd heard so little about it- which is a crime, because this book is amazing.

Things I Liked

1. The Characters
Esha and Kunal are amazing and I love them. All too often, especially in YA, the author will give you two strong, independent characters that melt into useless goo as soon as a love interest enters the scene. This was so not the case here. Yes, there's obviously attraction that distracts them from their goals from time to time, but they're self-aware enough to be annoyed by this and try to push past it. And beyond their (precious) romance, they have their own goals, their own conflicts.

I also loved how Esha was ACTUALLY skilled. We weren't just told she was skilled, we were shown it. She was also allowed to be both beautiful and feminine, and kick everyone's ass. I loved it.

2. The Setting
I could visualize everything so clearly while reading, which is amazing in and of itself as I'm an exhausted shell of myself currently. From the landscape to the fight scenes to the crowded rooms of people, every inch of it was beautifully portrayed.

3. The Discussions
Okay, I love a good book that talks about the way we're raised and how that creates our perception of the world. That's a big thing this book deals with. Kunal was raised to believe his cause was right, and that the other side was beneath him, other. We watch him grapple with this as he grows and sees the world in a way that's untainted by the words of his superiors.

Things I Didn't Like

1. The Pacing
For the most part, this wasn't a big issue. I truly enjoyed seeing the game of cat and mouse between Esha and Kunal, but there's a moment when something shifted and everything seemed to stall. It was kind of like trudging through quick sand for the last third of the book, and even though I still enjoyed it, it took me out of the story a bit.

2. The Plot-twist
Clearly, I can't say much here without spoiling but all I'll say is that it kind of came out of nowhere and cheapened things a bit for me, as well as not being given enough time anyway. I get that it can be so hard to give everything, especially in the first book of a fantasy trilogy, the time and description it needs without being overwhelming so I totally understand. But, Idk, it felt quite bizarre to me. Perhaps I'd feel different if I was familiar with the mythology the story drew inspiration from, but as it stands, it felt forced to me.


I was so pleasantly surprised by this one. It deserves more hype, you guys. Seriously. You're sleeping on this amazing novel with great characters and some top tier banter. Read itttt.
Profile Image for Shealea.
448 reviews1,218 followers
May 10, 2020
I’m really, really soft for these characters, okay. And the romantic development in this book? Swati Teerdhala writes tension so phenomenally well! Julianna and I just ate it all up. IT WAS GREAT! Kunal and Esha are explosive together.

Although The Tiger at Midnight greatly deviated from my expectations, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the almost literal cat-and-mouse chase across a brutally damaged fantasy land. I liked the elements of Indian mythology integrated into the world-building, as well as the copious amount of humorous banter between Kunal and Esha.

This was fun and refreshing!

4 stars
* Read more of my bookish shenanigans in my natural habitat.
Profile Image for Ardent Reader.
221 reviews215 followers
May 1, 2019

The book was Ok.
The disappointment was that I felt nothing new in the story; that i have read a similar kind of a story before. It seemed to be that the story line was not original.
The positive point is that the story was an easy read.

Since this book is the start of a trilogy, I hope the other remaining books will be much more productive with the story line.
Profile Image for ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。..
200 reviews100 followers
March 22, 2020
The Tiger at the Midnight (title which you'll only understand its meaning at the very end of the book) is an Indian Mythology inspired story about two enemy kingdoms but is a character-driven plot. Meet Esha, a girl which happens to be also the Viper: a lethal, legendary assassin. Esha is a morally grey character that works for a greater purpose. Then, meet our hero, Kunal, a soldier which happens to be the nephew of Esha's new target. Kunal and Esha cross paths and while there's no insta-love, there's an instant connection/chemistry between them. Kunal is an "honorable" soldier part of a not so honorable army (he is boyfriend material okay). What I loved most about him is how willing he is to forgive, how polite and tender he can be even though he is a soldier trained to kill. He feels the angst and is torn but he doesn't dwell on it over and over again like an emo teenager. He is balanced, calm.
Esha is a badass and this book had no problems in acknowledging her with a superior fighting skill than the male protagonist. I loved how Esha reversed the trope of "hero saves the day".
Now we get to the part that made me all smiley: the romance. I can't say much without being spoilery but if you enjoy banter and tenderness, you'll have it. Prepare yourself for a lot of travels and jungles.
I really enjoyed the short chapters and flowing writing style. What I liked less was the "major" supporting characters. I think they lacked some depth, but most of them were introduced in the second half of the book, so I think the next book might deliver some more insight to them.
Overall, I think it was a beautiful story and I sense the next book might give us more worldbuilding, politics and more focus on the "magic" aspect.
If you enjoy mythology, badass protagonists and romance you will certainly like this;D
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)
Real Rating: 3.70
Profile Image for Lata.
3,766 reviews207 followers
June 27, 2019
4.5 stars. I was surprised by this book. I went in with low expectations. No fears. This book did not disappoint me. It was just what I needed. I really enjoyed Swati Teedhala's writing, from her characterizations to the world she had created for this book.
The political, cultural and mythological backgrounds of this story are well defined, and it was so great to see a non-Western basis for a fantasy. (I wish I knew what political period in India's history Swati Teerdhala was using as her inspiration as this story.)
I really liked the main characters Esha, the legendary Viper, a rebel and an assassin, and Kunal, a highly trained soldier. The characters are on opposing sides of a conflict, where the royal family of Dharka was murdered in a coup ten years before the story's open by military leaders of the land Kunal fights for, Jansa. Dharka is currently suffering from a drought, which started with the murder of its former Queen.
Essa and Kunal meet on an evening and the two flirt a little, then part. Esha continues onto her job, which is to kill the General, but discovers someone has already done so and framed the Viper. She flees. The next morning, Kunal discovers that his uncle the General, is murdered, and that the Viper is the culprit. Very soon after, Kunal and three other soldiers are tasked with hunting down the Viper. Soon, Kunal is in pursuit of Esha, as he's a little smarter than his compatriots, and has figured out that the pretty girl he met the night before his uncle's death is probably the Viper.
I liked how the author handled Esha and Kunal. Too often, I find characters in YA stories tend to do really dumb things, repeatedly. Here, the two didn't fall into that pattern, and when they did do something foolish, realized and tried to change their behaviour. And even though the two were attracted to one another from their first meeting, they weren't pledging undying love to one another two seconds later. In fact, their feelings developed slowly and believably over their many encounters during their chase across Jansa and Dharka. The leads' conflicted feelings for each other and for their respective political situations was also believable, without abrupt, unearned turnarounds. They both behaved true to their natures, and I liked the respect each felt for the other, even while they continued to spar.
Also, though this is a fantasy, the fantastical elements had a relatively small presence, and when they finally were brought to the fore, they did not overwhelm the characters' interplay. And that's where this book totally shines. The characters and the writing kept me reading till the end, and I'm so glad that there is more to this story.
Profile Image for julianna ➹.
207 reviews268 followers
December 31, 2020
yes, I will be thinking about Kunal and Esha every single day for the rest of my life. what about it

The randomness of fate once again struck her as being the ultimate cruelty and blessing of the gods. It seemed Kunal truly was her tiger at midnight, there to collect on her missteps.

The old folktales never lied.

Y'all, apparently this is a whopping 487 pages??? But it truly, seriously only felt like about 300 pages to me?? And I sped through this so quickly??

Life's wild when you're having the most fun in your life!!

(Literally, when I finished, I said that it was TOO SHORT but then I checked the page count and I was shocked.)

Guys, friends, pals, please look at this cover and tell me that it isn't one of the most GORGEOUS things you've ever seen, because otherwise you're lying. When I heard "cat-and-mouse relationship," I was here and I even sacrificed my own pride, my own nonexistent dignity to request this AGAIN on Edelweiss when I got denied the first time!!! Thank you to the publicist for taking pity on my pitiful and sad self, who just wanted to read a good romance fantasy.

This is an #ownvoices Indian-inspired fantasy that is undeniably amazing, although it was... so different than I expected. Honestly, I thought the plotline would be more of a ground-shaking political-centered one, but it's really more of a fun adventure across this gorgeous land while one trying to catch-the-other-but-not-really. This featured glowing forests and military-torn villages and palaces and military grounds and I was just, in love.

(There's kind of a love triangle though!!! It's really small!! But it's there and it makes me sad because I actually quite like the second lead 3)

Also, guess what! (minor spoiler alert that I actually guessed in the first chapter, LMAO) This employs not only

So, we have Esha, the Viper, an assassin who is swift, strong, and intelligent. Her primary weapons are two whips, and her first task is being entrusted to murder a general who just happens to be Kunal's uncle. Both Esha and Kunal faced devastation in their villages due to a military raid, but both have taken very different paths: Esha goes the way of the rebels, while Kunal dedicates his life to training as a soldier under the guidance of his uncle and helping King Vardaan.

Of course, Kunal is assigned to assassinate the Viper, but things go awry when they actually meet and come in contact.

This was so easily readable and so addicting and just, so good, and I love it so much, and it's honestly one of the most underrated books, okay?

Not only does it have a light plot full of shenanigans, a fun crew, banter, badass people being badass, and the Best Romance... it also interweaves subtle themes of military oppression and being related to people who you love even though they are just Terrible!

Also, me and Shealea 100% agree that this has one of the most amazing romances; SWATI! CAN! WRITE! TENSION! And, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I ATE! IT! UP! When I was only fifty percent in, I was thinking about what rating I would give it, and just... it's definitely five stars. There's no doubt in my mind.

The only negative thing I can think of is how I was slightly surprised by what the climax was because I was expecting a huger plotline to come into play, but like!!! It was still amazing. And I adore both characters, and I would read a 700-page book by Swati if she wrote one.

buddy read with this sunflower

Thank you to HarperCollins for letting me read a digital review copy of this <33 Quotes may be different from the final publication.
Profile Image for Neha.
315 reviews92 followers
August 28, 2020

I picked up this book because of the Indian mythology supponding the plot. The book created a beauty yet terribly world for the characters. We follow Esha who is the deadly assassin planning to kill the general to defeat the ruthless tyrant regime. During her journey she meets Kunal, an emperor’s soldier tasked to find the viper. Sparks fly but can they trust one another when they are on different sides of the war?

I think this book had great potential but it did fall short. I still enjoyed reading the book but I did wish it had more moments of deceit between the main characters before they found each other’s identities. I feel like the author tried to fit lots of story elements in novel such that it didn’t have enough time building the bond between Esha and Kunal.

I will still pick up the second book because I did love the world the story was set in and I can see a huge potential for world building in the sequels.

Was a solid YA fantasy read.
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,146 reviews245 followers
May 30, 2020
How is there not more talk about this book?! I'm insanely impressed with this debut! The nonstop cat and mouse game + sexual tension was EXACTLY what my body and soul needed. There was no toying around with the attraction the way a lot of YA enemies to lovers go. I am...shocked to say I also enjoyed this triangle thing. I just want more! My only beef with this is I didn't see much of a peek in terms of plot. It's definitely a "setting things up for books 2 and 3" type of book which I know isn't for everyone but there's a lot of character development, world and political/social development plus a sassy female character. The ending kinda shook me too. I will absolutely be picking up book 2 and I cannot wait for Swati to join the TBR & Beyond Book Club on Facebook live.
Profile Image for Kelly Brigid ♡.
200 reviews284 followers
August 5, 2019
“Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds.”

No one is more disappointed than I, that I didn’t love this one. The Tiger at Midnight was my most anticipated debut of the year, so my expectations for it were wildly out of proportion. It has many elements that are wonderful on their own, but fail to work in harmony with each other. The romance, pacing, and plot are pieces from differing puzzles that don’t quite match up. At the start of this story, I truly believed I would fall for it, and that it would meet all my expectations. Unfortunately as it progressed, I found myself disliking it more and more.

The writing and pacing simply didn’t work. This is Teerdhala’s debut, so I understand that the pacing might not have been the best … or anywhere close to that. Her prose is elegant at times, and I enjoyed the metaphors and proverbs sprinkled throughout the story. I would definitely be interested with checking out future works from her! My issues laid mostly with how sporadic and jagged the pacing felt. It never remained consistent for longer than a few chapters, which made it difficult for me to be lured into the story. In addition, the atmosphere wasn’t very prevalent, creating a lifeless ambience.

I simply wasn’t invested in the characters. For starters, I’m not very keen on dual point of views. When executed well, I enjoy this style of writing; however, I typically find that the two characters lack distinction … which was the case here. The tension and banter between Esha and Kunal is amusing, but there isn’t much depth beyond that. The problem was that they didn’t necessarily have a personality aside from their often deadly antics – especially Kunal. Their voices were pretty interchangeable, and even had me mistaking whose perspective I was reading from, more than once.

The Indian-inspired world was lovely … but confusing too? I love the intricacies and politics that are illustrated in this book. It’s clear that Teerdhala poured a significant amount of time and effort into constructing this brutal land. I also adore the bits of Indian mythology weaved into it! My only complaint is that it was incredibly hard to comprehend the history and relationships between Kunal’s lands and Esha’s. I understood the gist of everything for the most part, but still had trouble connecting many of the details.

The cat and mouse chase is highly entertaining! I know I sound as though I hated this book, but I honestly still had a fun time reading it for the most part. The chase is exciting, and takes the reader through a vast assortment of locations and sights. From marketplaces to jungles and mountains, it never takes a moment to pause. I did find a few of these events repetitive, but I suppose that’s bound to happen in a pursuit such as this.

Friends, I could honestly ramble further about more issues I had with this one, *cough* the pointless love triangle that emerges less than a hundred pages before the end but I think this is a classic it’s not you, it’s me kind of book. I wanted to love this one so badly, and it pains me to see that it couldn’t live up to what I wished it would be. The Tiger at Midnight could’ve been phenomenal, but instead, was an odd assortment of repetitive scenarios, choppy writing, and lackluster characters.

Buddy read with Scrill! Check out her review!

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,524 followers
March 10, 2020
My feelings about this book are a mixed back of good and mediocre, but what I can confidently say is that I had a fun time reading it, and at the end of the day, that's what matters most, right?

I think a major factor of my enjoyment is that this felt like a very classic YA fantasy with all the typical tropes but with all the diversity I love and infused with Indian mythology. I know that there has been a lot of talk lately about fantasy not doing anything original tropes wise (are any tropes really ever original, anyway?) but that's exactly what I liked here. THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT has the hate to love romance (with a spin!!!), it has the lost princess, a bit of a love triangle (which I must admit I'm not as big of a fan of) and really, sometimes, you just want to read something that's familiar and good and not overly complicated. And this makes THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT easy to follow.

Almost. Although I found a lot of it to be good, some of the world building was introduced awkwardly or too obviously and some reveals for the characters as well as the way they connected the dots to get to a conclusion that would move the plot along were either a reach and pulling of very flimsy strings or done with no build-up which took me out of the story a couple times, which made for a story that not only had the good of the classic YA fantasy but also the bad, but ultimately for me, the good outweighted the bad because even though I lost interest when those reveals happened and was unsure on whether I was going to like this one, around halfway through the story I found myself really invested in these characters faiths and all the scheming and politics and even magic of this world. Although there was this shape-shifting aspect to the story that I wish was explored and explained more because the way it was done, it...stuck out like a sore thumb in the middle of a wold building that made sense as the only thing that was thrown without much of an explanation. Especially why it was specific to certain people and how they acquired it.

I hadn't really realized how much I had missed reading a good ol' angsty slowburn enemies to lovers romance until I read this one, including a cat and mouse type chase that was really fun and entertaining to read, the push and pull, what you're thought is right vs. what is really right, your duty vs. your heart and THE ROMANCE WAS SO GOOD OKAY? I really did not think I'd like it as much as I did but Kunal and Esha being simultaneously drama queens and so soft for each other gave me life.

I really liked how through meeting each other, each one of them had to kind of let go of their laser focus on only their side of things and see the whole picture, which led to some interesting character development on both sides. And I really loved the way the story was headed by the end of this one and I'm both intrigued and excited to read the sequel, which is coming out in only a short few months.
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews168 followers
November 24, 2020
This book is just proof that if something intrigues me in a story I have to give it a try myself instead of only looking at the reviews… because there are some mixed opinions about it, and I absolutely loved it :) I read it in like a day and here are some of my random and out of order thoughts and feelings about it :) no spoilers :)

- it wasn’t until after I finished it that I read in one of the reviews that it’s a story perfect for the fans of “Zutara” :) *coughs* Avatar the last airbender *coughs* if you know, then you know… if you don’t, I don’t have the time to get into the big explanation :) and I cannot believe I didn’t see it sooner for myself :) obviously, I loved those feels ;)

- the writing style was really good, especially for a debut novel :) I was hooked from the first chapter and wanted to read more :)

- I really liked that there was a lot of grey area in this story… we had two sides of a conflict but also a lot of people who were just caught between that fight and now suffer the consequences…

- most characters we meet in this book can’t be easily put into a “good” or “bad” category… they make all sorts of decisions, and all of them are parts of what makes them feel like real people… you get attached to them… the more you get to know them, the more you feel for their struggles

- I really liked that there are no info dumps that make your head hurt trying to remember all of the information at once :) we are thrown straight into action and slowly learn more and more about the history and conflict and the world in general :)

All in all I gave this book 5 stars and am really looking forward to continue with the rest of the series… but since the third and final book is not being published until like the middle of 2021 I think I might wait a bit more before reading the sequel… especially since I heard it ends on a painful cliffhanger… :) but I do highly recommend you giving this gem a try for yourselves :)


Profile Image for aashna.
227 reviews141 followers
August 15, 2021
this was really fun but i like esha and kunal more as friends? the romance/worldbuilding fell flat for me but i liked the characters individual and the plot seems cool 👍🏽

*edit: the romance was actually built up really well and after finishing the trilogy i like the first book a lot more actually
Profile Image for Grace A..
412 reviews37 followers
August 15, 2023
“Tiger at Midnight" was such a thrilling read!
I loved the dynamic between the two main characters, Kunal and Esha, especially the brewing romance between them.
I was hooked from start to finish, journeying through a world filled with adventure, wonder, danger, and political intrigue.
It was a gripping and satisfying read, I am eager to continue reading the series. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Displaying 1 - 30 of 893 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.