I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton
Published by Penguin on November 4th 2014
Genres: Biographical, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fiction, Historical
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In the late twelfth century, across the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, brilliant, charismatic Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself the Great, or Genghis, Khan. But it is the women who stand beside him who ensure his triumph.... After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, gifted Borte becomes an outsider within her clan. When she seeks comfort in the arms of aristocratic traveler Jamuka, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man who agreed to marry her and then abandoned her long before they could wed. Temujin will return and make Borte his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new kingdom. Their daughter, the fierce Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, will transform her desire for revenge into an unbreakable loyalty. And Sorkhokhtani, a demure widow, will position her sons to inherit the empire when it begins to fracture from within.In a world lit by fire and ruled by the sword, the tiger queens of Genghis Khan come to depend on one another as they fight and love, scheme and sacrifice, all for the good of their family...and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls.
I feel like I have treated The Tiger Queens: The Women Of Genghis Khan by Stephanie Thornton a bit unfairly. You see, I had signed up for a blog tour for this book before I had that one life turning point and so, it took me forever to work up the energy to read this book and then after reading, I just never really worked up the energy to blog about it. I guess that’s life though, sometimes we read things and just don’t have it in us to type about them because there’s so many other things going on with us. Fortunately The Tiger Queens is a fantastic book and a great introduction to Thornton’s historical fiction. I have to say that I am a converted fan and absolutely want to pick up other books that she’s written after diving into The Tiger Queens.
Although the title kind of sums up what Thornton’s book is about, it doesn’t entirely give everything away. The book opens up with Borte receiving a fortune telling from her mother. The fortune is ominous. Like her mother, however, Borte also has the gift and this makes her an outsider in her clan. Furthermore, this guy that promised to marry her that she becomes betrothed to just disappears and she’s like an old maid. UNTIL! This other guy, Jamuka comes along and there’s an attraction there. Only, oops, he’s Temujin’s blood brother which is definitely not cool. Anyways, Borte and Temujin do marry and eventually Temujin and Jamuka go to war against each other. One will emerge victorious (history spoiler alert: GENGHIS KHAN). This book, The Tiger Queens is about the women in Khan’s life who keep the kingdom he builds together.
There are four points of view stories told. The first is obviously Borte and she is essentially the best ever which is all you need to know before reading. The next part is her daughter, Alaqai whose part is my favorite. You see, Alaqai is a warrior through and through. She’s tough as nails and I loved reading her story and how she too eventually falls in love. Then there’s Fatima who is a captive who wants revenge. But somehow she transforms and changes her feelings. Her part is short but pivotal to the story. Ending the book is Sorkhokhtani who is a widow. She has these sons who are about to take over the empire when it breaks up. Basically these women are all fierce and strong and this book is just so good!
I think I may keep this review of Thornton’s awesome historical fiction novel short. What you essentially need to know is that world building is awesome — it’s all about the Mongolian Steppes and Persia and it’s such a new setting to me. Pretty much all the historical fiction I read is practically white dominated. It’s nice to read a book that’s not. It’s nice to read a book about a subject I’ve never encountered before except history class and that was only for like one day of the marking period. Aside from the setting, I have to say that I enjoyed the different romances and I thought they were well written and just interesting.