The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala

The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy #2)
Author: Swati Teerdhala
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 26th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, India, Cultural, Mythology

The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.

Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.

But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.

I loved The Archer at Dawn. What a great second book in a series, which is hard to do. It felt like a first book because of the way the plot is structured and it’s so fast paced. I couldn’t stop reading.

I love plots like the one in The Tiger at Midnight series. Where there are multiple answers to a problem and the main character’s answer isn’t necessarily the right one. There are so many roads these characters can take and it’s not about being good or evil. Where we focused on the struggle of the General’s Murder and tracking the Viper in the first book, we now get a little bit more into the politics in the race to find the lost Princess Reha. I had felt the Blades were focused more on saving the land in the first book but in The Archer at Dawn I felt like they were more focused on instating a new ruler on the throne. Which I think was making Kunal wonder what the right thing is. I also loved that the politics and the Sun Mela were both interesting and not overwhelming. Depending on my mindset in a book, I don’t always want to read a ton of fighting and I think The Archer at Dawn definitely has that balance. The plot is so fast paced that you do not want to put the book down because you want to know what everyone’s real intentions are. There are so many moving parts and like I said, so many choices and roads for the characters to take! I loved it.

I love Kunal. He is by far my favorite character in this series. We’ve seen him grow so much from his time at the Blood Fort in The Tiger at Midnight to who he becomes in The Archer at Dawn. He sees things in this very flat and not emotionally guided way. Even when he is doing something to protect Esha, he still has his wits about him. I think before he was moving through the motions and trying to find where he fits in. In this story I think he is really coming out of a fog and deciding what he wants to protect the most. What the blood in his veins really means to him. He said something too that really endeared me to him. When he was talking about revenge is a vicious cycle and he showed how as a soldier he also took people's children and parents. Every time they fight. I just love him and can’t wait to see his character’s develop in the next book.

Esha is more ruled by passion. I like her and I really loved the relationship between her and Kunal in The Tiger at Midnight but she starts to lose me a little bit in The Archer at Dawn. She is passionate about revenge, she is passionate about finding Reha and she is passionate about unsupering Vardaan. I think Esha seems like she knows who she is more than Kunal but it’s almost like they go in opposite directions and she starts to lose herself. I also don’t like how she treats Kunal as far as information goes but she does care about him. I like that even though she might be slightly confused about other relationships, she is open about it.

Another thing that I really love is how the side characters have more depth to them as well. We found that General Hotha was indeed a terrible man. He destroyed and took many lives. We also found that he truly loved Kunal and protected him. Placing him in positions where nobody would suspect his lineage. I think there is also a lot more to Vardaan as well. We only get glimpses of his maybe not so evil side but I’m hoping there will be more to his story as to why he did some things. I don’t want to get into every character but I just really like how they have reasons for what they do. They are not just there to be there.

I’m so excited for the next book. I can’t handle not knowing what is going to happen.

Swati Teerdhala is the author of The Tiger at Midnight series, which has appeared on both Barnes and Noble and Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Novels lists.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BS in finance and BA in history, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart. She currently lives in New York City.

Swati is represented by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.

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