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The Tiger's Daughter: Their Bright Ascendency #1    by K Arsenault Rivera order for
Tiger's Daughter
by K Arsenault Rivera
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, Audio, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

K Arsenault Rivera's The Tiger's Daughter opens a most unusual fantasy series, Their Bright Ascendency. Its leads are two magically powerful young women whose destinies have been intertwined since they were infants. For a while, they were passionate lovers who felt they would always remain together, but destiny separated them.

The story moves back and forth in time to show how everything got to this point. As it opens, O-Shizuka is the divine warrior empress of the Hokkaran empire. Before that, she was the niece and unloved heir of its all powerful emperor. Barsalayaa Shefali is a nomadic Qorin warrior, who kills a tiger at the age of eight. Their mothers were also very close and did great deeds together, killing one of four Demon Generals. The daughters are reckless and over-confident in their powers.

I have to admit that I found the epistolary style in which this story is written difficult to connect with. Readers follow past event through letters. We watch love bloom and grow between these two women, a love that survives even demonic possession. The blood of a demon infects others, changing them and turning their blood black. Those infected are usually killed right away and their corpses burned. So how does our heroine survive it, and why do the demons seem to know her and call her Steel-Eye?

This episode ends with exile, return conditional on finding a phoenix feather, though a live phoenix has not been seen in a century. Readers will have to wait for another episode to see how that conundrum is resolved.

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