Two infamous female warriors, Barsalayaa Shefali of the nomadic Qorin tribe and spoiled divine empress O-Shizuka, fight to save their land from the demon presence that threatens to destroy their world. The friends, raised together across borders since childhood, become lovers, and acceptance of their relationship is just one more fight they must win.

Supported by beautiful cover art, The Tiger’s Daughter is an epic fantasy adventure in a Japanese, Mongolian, and Chinese-inspired world, complete with demon-slaying! But the action, adventure, and fantasy are primarily a backdrop for the queer romance. And while I occasionally enjoy a fantasy romance story, this one lacks a courtship phase, as the girls have loved one another since childhood. The romance falls more into the category of making-it-work-against-all-odds.

That said, I find the 2nd person epistolary format exciting and refreshing! Shefali is the primary POV, which works exceptionally well for the quiet angry warrior, compared to the boastful empress, whom the reader gets to know easily through dialogue. I would love to read more books that explore format and style that complement the characters and plot.

I was able to see K. Rivera at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas and she gave some interesting insights into her first book, including that the initial character inspiration came from a role-playing game, that a happy ending for the queer couple was just as important as the relationship itself, and that she cut nearly 80,000 words from the first draft.

Recommended for fans of fantasy romance!

“A strange thing happens when one speaks aloud: words take on their own meaning. They move in through the listener’s ears and make themselves at home, decorating their meaning with whatever memories they find lying around.”