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The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
Historical fiction

The Night Tiger

Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Yangsze Choo

Quick take

A missing finger is the eerie link between a houseboy, a dancehall girl, and a man-eating tiger in this magical tale set in colonial Malaysia.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


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Why I love it

Brianna Goodman
BOTM Editorial Team

If someone told me there’s a book out there that’s 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, I’d be instantly suspicious. It sounds too good to be true. But here’s the thing: This book exists. It’s called The Night Tiger, and it’s 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 becoming a doctor (if only her stepfather would let her); and Ren, a kindhearted houseboy so loyal to his late master that he’ll stop at nothing to reunite the man’s missing finger with his body. They also happen to be complete strangers who are somehow linked by a mysterious force—one that connects them with others (both dead and alive) who might just cause them harm.

This is a book that has something for everyone. There’s a central mystery—will Ren find that missing finger?—to satisfy puzzle-solving readers. There’s a will-they-won’t-they love story to tug at the heartstrings of every romantic. There’s a touch of magic for fantasy fans; a portrait of colonial Malaysia for history buffs; and enough family drama to please those looking for a moving saga. Equal parts nail-biter and heartwarmer, this book transported me into a world entirely unlike my own—one I’m eager to revisit.

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Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into a dark adventure: a mirror world of secrets and superstitions.

Eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy Ren also has a secret, a promise he must fulfill to his dead master: to find his master’s severed finger and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths wrack the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Night Tiger.

Member thoughts

All (5084)
All (5084)
Love (2570)
Like (2127)
Dislike (387)
5248 ratings
  • 49% Love
  • 41% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Kingsport, TN

    Absolutely beautiful! I loved getting a chance to read about a culture I’m not as familiar with and folklore I didn’t know. The story was enchanting from the start. The Ghost Bride is also wonderful.

  • Aurora, CO

    This book is on my favorites shelf. It changed POV of characters, which usually annoys me, but for this story I didn’t mind. I loved it so much I can’t express in words how much it kept me on my toes!

  • San Antonio, TX

    I have never, ever closed a book when finished and clapped. This may very well be one of my most favorite books of all time. Hands down. One of my favorite BOTM selections. I’m hoping for a sequel. ????

  • Odessa, TX

    Hands down one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. From the folklore to the descriptions of the food I was mesmerized. So much culture jam packed into one story. It’s a MUST READ!

  • Huntington, WV

    This is my favorite BOTM since Spinning Silver! It was a great history, mystery romance with awesome cultural ties! Loved it! If you liked the Astonishing Color of After you’ll love this one too! ????

  • Smoot, WY

    I really loved the Chinese folklore/mythology. I saw reviews where the relationship between Ji Lin and Shin bothered people, but i didn’t feel that way. There was not a blood relationship. I loved it!

  • Reno, NV

    The very final line had me make a literal shout of joy; thankfully, no one besides my cat was around but had someone else been around I would have told them to read “The Night Tiger.” Perfect book.

  • Bellefonte, PA

    This captivating story had it all - mystery, romance, magic, and food descriptions that left me drooling. It was utterly enchanting and unlike anything I’ve read before. I miss the characters already!

  • Dover, NH

    I adored this novel. The characters’ stories were seamlessly interwoven to create an imaginative, colorful, beautifully written story. I was so sad to close the final page and leave this world behind!

  • Oceanside, CA

    Beautiful and interesting setting. Characters are relatable even from across the world, and you can’t help but cheer them on. The story was steeped in reality just enough, but still sprinkles in magic

  • Portland , OR

    Honestly it took me some time to get immersed in this book. The character development was throurough and you truly feel connected to each of them. I felt the love, suspense and mystery to my core❤️

  • South Bound Brook, NJ

    It was a slow build to intertwine all the characters and the mysteries. Then all of a sudden there’s romance and murder. Then everyone is heading to Singapore and the book ends. Hoping for a sequel.

  • Pinetop, AZ

    A little slow at first, but I couldn’t put it down after it got started! So many mysteries tied up in one book, and a little love story too. Also interesting seeing life in a different time and place

  • Minneapolis, MN

    It took me a bit to get into this story, but once I was in I couldn’t put it down. The way the characters lives overlap and intersect keeps you on your toes and wanting more until the very last page!

  • San Jose, CA

    This book is a great examination of characters and how interrelated they can be. For me the setting was unique, the plot had a couple of twists I didn't expect, and the ending is bittersweet but fits.

  • Maple Valley, WA

    I love learning about different cultures through fiction, and this book did not disappoint in that sense. I loved the story, the characters, and the setting. It was vibrant and magical and I loved it.

  • Mount Pleasant, MI

    Loved this book up until the end! The beginning was off to a slow start but once I made it in a little ways I absolutely couldn't put it down! Highly recommend this book from a faraway place and time!

  • Greenville, NC

    I couldn't put this book down. I loved the writing style and folklore elements that were involved, and the mystery gripped me. I was surprised by the ending, and I really hope there will be a sequel.

  • New York , NY

    It was a fascinating and mesmerizing read, even if I wished the romance elements weren’t in it. Or presented differently. The two main characters are incredibly charismatic though, loved it overall!

  • Greensboro, NC

    Yangsze Choo has once again provided a cultural experience through the reflections, thoughts, and actions of incredible characters. I feel like I knew the people, was at the party, and shared the hope

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