The Tiger’s Daughter
In an Asiatic medieval fantasy world, the Hokkaran Empire rules most lands. But a dark evil surrounds the empire, invading with the deadly black blood illness that turns those who survive into demons. In this empire, two girls, raised together, vow to fight the rising evil. Shizuka is heir to the empire and its greatest warrior. Shefali is a Qorin warrior, a nomad of the steppes. After fighting off a demonic attack, Shefali is slowly turning into a demon. But that isn’t going to stop Shizuka, or her beloved Shefali, from seeking out the source of the evil.
Intricate and often jewel-like, the prose is deft and the story compelling. However, it’s the first book in a series, so it sort of just stops. I found the book over-long, the character names confusing, and the world-building sloppy. The empire is a general mishmash of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cultures, while the horse-riders of the steppes are a combination of the Mongols and, perhaps, the Scythians. This work is enjoyable if you remember that it’s an epic fantasy, and is not a historical fantasy. Still, it’s nice to see a non-European Celticoid background for a change.