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The Night Tiger

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  25,773 ratings  ·  3,327 reviews
A sweeping historical novel about a dancehall girl and an orphan boy whose fates entangle over an old Chinese superstition about men who turn into tigers.

When 11-year-old Ren's master dies, he makes one last request of his Chinese houseboy: that Ren find his severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and reunite it with his body. Ren has 49 days, or else his master's
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Flatiron Books
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Yangsze Choo
Yangsze Choo - author, historical fiction

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Jennifer It's not a young adult novel at all, and I wouldn't really recommend it for less than high school age children. Maybe junior high kids that read other…moreIt's not a young adult novel at all, and I wouldn't really recommend it for less than high school age children. Maybe junior high kids that read other books with adult themes (maturity level, not sexual).(less)
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B. Utter
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  25,773 ratings  ·  3,327 reviews

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Emily May
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Malaya, with its mix of Malays, Chinese, and Indians, is full of spirits: a looking-glass world governed by unsettling rules.

3½ stars. I may need to think some more about this one. I'm giving it a tentative 3½, rounded up to 4 because I absolutely loved that this historical mystery was steeped in Chinese and Malaysian mythology and superstition.

For the most part, this was such a gorgeous and evocative read. The Night Tiger is set in 1930s Malaya and leans heavily on folklore and stories of
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
This was so great! I was thrown off a bit by the romance, because this book would've been fine and dandy without it. I loved learning more about the Malaysian culture through this story, I thought the somewhat magical bits in the story were executed so well, and the Chinese folklore was super interesting to learn about. It's an engaging read with an excellent pay off.
Yangsze Choo writes an enthralling and exhilarating piece of well researched historical fiction set in the British colony of Malaya (Malaysia) of the 1930s. The fraught and upset British doctor is dying and worried about what will happen to his soul upon death. He had been gifted a 11 year old Chinese house boy, Ren, by a friend. Ren is a kind, loyal and compassionate boy and when his dying master on his deathbed asks that he finds his severed finger and bury it with his dead body to prevent his ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five jaw-dropping, unforgettable tango of lyrical mysticism and coming of age !

This book is magic! It connects five different characters by the meaning of their names and ties their destinies by unexpected mysterious road between life and death!

Its about life after death, love, siblings affection, abuse, feminism and awakening of women by discovering their own capabilities, murder, passion, class system, Malaysian and Chinese folklore with vivid characters and captivating storytelling.

May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo is a 2019 Flatiron publication.

A big, bold story full of magic, romance, mystery and adventure!!

Set in Malaysia during the 1930s, the story alternates between Ren, an eleven -year old Chinese houseboy and Ji Lin, a young woman who has been forced to give up her goal of working in the medical profession. Ren is on a mission to find his late masters finger so he can return it to his grave. Failure to do so within 49 days will prevent his master from resting in
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am positively and splendidly awe-stuck.

this story is a magically woven tapestry of history, lore, superstition, love, and destiny. with lush storytelling told humbly from the perspectives of seemingly unconnected people, each thread of their beautiful stories intertwines and unfolds in the most rewarding way, making this novel feel like a work of art - a rich art piece that harmoniously integrates all the best kinds of storytelling. coming of age. mystery and thrill. mythology and folklore.
Elyse  Walters
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another fabulous book - on sale today for $2.99 ( kindle download)

Time is running out: there are only 20 days left before Dr. Mac Farlanes forty-nine days of the soul are over. If by then he cant find the finger, hell have failed. How will his old master rest? Ren remembers Dr. MacFarlanes last days, shivering fevers. And then the dreams, the waking nightmares in which the old man would cry for mercy, or crawl slavering on all fours. If Auntie Kwan had still been with them, she would have taken
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Night Tiger has a little bit of something for everyone! Fans of this Author's debut book, The Ghost Bride will love this sweeping tale set in Malaya (Malaysia) in the 1930's. There is a lot going on in this book that I am only going to give a brief synopsis of the main characters.

Ren is an 11-year-old boy on a mission to locate his former masters missing finger so that he can bury it with his body. He has 49 days to do so for his master to be a rest. If he fails to find the missing finger,
They say a tiger that devours too many humans can take the form of a man and walk among us...
I loved the atmosphere of the book, the 'magical realism' mystery of it, the lush Asian environment, the historical character of the story, the dark and brooding story, loved it.
Though the lovey dovey element in the book, which got stronger and stronger further in the story, I thought was less interesting and that brought the rating of this book down for me. Especially towards the end the story kind of
Kylie D
An intriguing book, set in 1930s Malaya, following the lives over a few weeks of dance hall girl Ji Lin and house boy Ren. An intricately woven tale, full of magical realism, Ji Lin and Ren come together over an amputated finger, of all things. It is a beautifully told story, the characters come to life on the page, through their interactions and their dreams. And in the background is always the threat of a man-eating tiger roaming the district, or is it a weretiger...
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Holly  B
The story is as stunning as the cover.

I was totally mesmerized by this beautifully written Malaysian folklore/fantasy tale. If I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. The characters, the alluring mystery and the heart-pounding moments involving the tiger. A newspaper article warns that a tiger was on the loose.  Was it a man-eater or a distraction? Did superstition play a role? 

Touches of Malayan folklore/ love sickness/ tiger hunts / smoke screens/ lucky numbers and stolen body parts
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I already read Yangsze Choos first novel, The Ghost Bride (my review here , so when I saw that a new book by the author is coming out I had to jump at the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately for The Night Tiger, I read it with the first one in my head and it was unavoidable to make comparisons. In my opinion, this second novel came out short. It was still an enjoyable read, easy to get through.

As the blurb states, the setting is 1930 Malaya. Ren, a 11 years old orphan is on a 49 days quest to
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
In The Night Tiger, houseboy Ren must fulfill a promise he made to his dying master, which sets him off on a journey of discovery, magic, and danger. Along the way, he crosses paths with Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker who's forced to be a part time dance-hall girl to pay off her mother's debt. She knows she could be so much more, but money and circumstances dictate that she keep her dreams diminished.

There is so much that I enjoyed in this story. The overall tale with its mix of real and magic
Diane S ☔
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
3.5 Malaysian folklore, history, mystery, magical realism, things I enjoy in a book, and there were many parts of this book I enjoyed immensely. I enjoyed the characters, Ren, a young boy, former assistant to a master who has died. He is missing a finger, and Ren has 49 days to find it and return it to his master's grave. Without it his master's spirit will wander for eternity. Ji Lin is a young woman who is working in a dance hall for extra money to pay off her mother's debts. Her step father ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
My friends who said I would love this book were absolutely right! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

We first meet 11-year-old Ren, a servant to a doctor. Before the doctor dies, he charges Ren with one request: to find his severed finger, missing from years ago, and place it with his deceased body. The doctor says there are only 49 days in which to accomplish this task, or else because his body is incomplete, and his soul will roam the earth forever.

Ji Lin is an apprentice dressmaker in 1930s Malaysia, who wants nothing
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: malaysia, 2019-read
"The Night Tiger" is light fiction with a YA feel that uses Malaysia in the 1930s as a backdrop - I was expecting to learn more about the country and its history, but I was mistaken: This book is obviously intended to be an entertaining mystery mixed with a love story, and it was way too cutesy for me (also, I'm a book snob :-)). The novel operates with two converging storylines, one of them focusing on 11-yea-old Ren who is on a quest to find his late master's amputated finger which has to be ...more
"The stripes on its brilliant coat ripple; the yellow eyes glare like lanterns. Ren can only drop his gaze. The tiger makes a deep hrff sound. Then it turns and walks away, with deliberate tread that's heavy and delicate at the same time. Where is it going?"

Yangsze Choo presents a story with remarkable scope like the outspreading of a dancer's fan. She fashions the edges around colonial Malaysia in the 1930's. Malaysia is filled with folklore, superstitions, masters and servants, rivalries, and

The Night Tiger offers a stunning look at culture, history, and Chinese superstition. Told in two alternating perspectives, and set in 1931 Malaya (Malaysia), this is a story of loyalty and loneliness, death and distressed souls, and man-eating weretigers.

Spoiler contains my spin on the book synopsis: (view spoiler)
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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THE NIGHT TIGER was an OK read. There were some things about this book that I really enjoyed, and other things I didn't. The book is set in 1930s Malaya (Malaysia), when it was still under British rule. There are two main characters: Ren, an 11-year-old houseboy to British doctor William Acton, and Ji Lin, a dressmaker moonlighting as a dance hall girl. Their stories end up interconnecting due to a severed finger in a vial that Ji Lin
I was a huge fan of Choos 2013 novel The Ghost Bride, so I was eagerly looking forward to her latest novel, The Night Tiger. This book has much in common with Ghost Bride - a lush Malaysian setting and a plot with an intriguing mix of Asian fantasy and historical fiction.

There are two main storylines here, which take place in Malaysia in 1931. The first belongs to Ji Lin and is told in the first person. Ji Lin is a young woman working as an apprentice in a dressmakers shop. She is also secretly
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mesmerizing, mythical, and mysterious, The Night Tiger is a beautifully written novel set in Malay in 1931. It tells the story of Ren, an 11 year old orphan who was a houseboy to a doctor. As he is dying, the doctor pleads with Ren to find the finger he'd had amputated many years ago, and bury it with him. According to Chinese tradition, if Ren is unable to fulfill his master's last wish within 49 days of his death, the doctor will be doomed to wander the earth, his spirit unable to move on to ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
For a book that shows a death every other second, this was surprisingly cute lol

See my full review on Booktube:
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Brianna Goodman

If someone told me theres a book out there thats part history, part love story, part coming-of-age, part magical tale that is also a well-paced book that clocks in at under 400 pages, Id be instantly suspicious. It sounds too good to be true. But heres the thing: This book exists. Its called The Night Tiger, and its epic and pleasing in every possible way.

The book follows two main characters: Ji Lin, a dressmaker by day and dancehall girl by night who dreams of
Ive heard of werewolves, but never weretigers. This intriguing tale set in Malaya, present day Malaysia, in 1931 involves werecats, specifically weretigers, which, though I hadnt heard of them, are common to the folklore of this region. The tiger as sacred, as shape shifter, and as violence unleashed by a hungry ghost treads throughout this story. A young houseboy, Ren, is with his master, Dr. MacFarlane in his dying days. As a last request, Dr. MacFarlane asks Ren to find his amputated finger ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When culture meets history and Chinese illusions, it shapes a perfect story which we rate it 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟, The Night Tiger is our Book Of The January and we're loving the fabulous writings from Yangsze!
The imagination within the book goes beyond creativity,
It really has such an interesting and intriguing plot, the structure of the book is very fascinating and unique and I can see this book in a very Big Major Picture, the characters are very well connected and I really loved their strength and faith
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall: Set in the 1930s in Malaysia, the Night Tiger is a sweeping historical novel about a dance-hall girl and an orphan boy whose fates entangle over a missing finger and an old Chinese superstition about men who turn into tigers. 7/10

The Good:
The story is told from two points of view, a girl named Ji Lin and a boy named Ren. Ji Lin is a quick-witted, ambitious girl with dreams of going into medicine but stuck as an apprentice dressmake and working as a dancehall girl to help pay off her
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars

We were a chocolate-box family, I thought. Brightly wrapped on the outside and oozing sticky darkness within.

The Night Tiger revolves around two characters: Ren, a young boy tasked with saving his old masters soul, and Ji Lin, who finds herself in possession of an unwanted item. Taking places in 1930s Malaysia, Ji Lin works to pay off her mothers mahjong debts. Ren works as an assistant to doctors. Both of their lives intertwine in a mystic story.

In Cantonese, two was a good
Initial thoughts:
When I won this book through Goodreads giveaways I thought it was going to be so much more. I was excited about its premise: a historical fiction set in 1930's Malaysia with elements of Chinese folklore and magical realism. The mystery aspect of this book and the tie in concept of the Confucian virtues personified were my favorite parts of the book. I really appreciated the intuition shown by the characters Ren and Ji Lin and kept turning the pages hoping that Yangsze Choo would
Filled with superstition, ghosts and the afterlife, the Night Tiger explores colonial Malaysia in 1930s. Five people are brought together through a connection of the five Confucian virtues, while mysterious events with no rational explanation start to happen around them.

Yangsze Choo has created a whimsical imaginary world of ghosts and spirits that was unlike anything I have read before. I was not sure whether I liked the book at first, but it progressively grew on me and eventually I found
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Leander Readers: Final Thoughts - December 6 11 Dec 28, 2019 03:09PM  
Leander Readers: First Impressions - December 2 12 Dec 07, 2019 12:33PM  
All the Books!: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo 6 31 Oct 21, 2019 05:58AM  
Around the Year i...: The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo 5 42 Sep 21, 2019 09:24AM  
Play Book Tag: The Night Tiger - Yangtse Choo, 5 stars 1 12 Jul 13, 2019 02:50PM  
Fiction Fanatics: June 2019 - The Night Tiger 6 19 Jun 17, 2019 12:12AM  

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Yangsze Choo is a fourth generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. Due to a childhood spent in various countries, she can eavesdrop (badly) in several languages. After graduating from Harvard, she worked as a management consultant before writing her first novel. Yangsze eats and reads too much, and often does both at the same time. You can follow her blog at or on Twitter ...more

Articles featuring this book

Many of today's historical fiction novels are set during World War II. To help you broaden your reading list beyond those war years, we looked a...
103 likes · 49 comments
“We were a chocolate-box family, I thought. Brightly wrapped on the outside and oozing sticky darkness within.” 14 likes
“In Cantonese, two was a good number because it made a pair. Three was also good because it was a homophone for sang, or life. Four, of course, was bad because it sounded like death. Five was good again because it made a complete set, not just of the Confucian Virtues, but also for the elements of wood, fire, water, metal, and earth.” 4 likes
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