Note: The review refers to the edition included in Sword, Steam and Sky: Four Book Fantasy Bundle.
Excellent writing, interesting setting and characters, and quite a relief to see the focus staying on the main characters and only a couple of times briefly switching to the scheming going on elsewhere. The flowery descriptions are written so well that they’re a notable positive aspect, the dialogues are natural, believable, and the same can for the most part also be said about the characters. It’s somewhat unpleasant that, despite being part of the group all along, those guards remain generic, expendable and largely ignored, but the main characters have very different personalities, with facets, layers and pasts that are gradually revealed, as their interactions and bonds become deeper. You will get to cheer and even actually care for most of them… Or at least I did.
The problem, however, is the postapocalyptic setting. Fortunately, at least in this book, there are only glimpses of it, so I could largely ignore it and not let it detract from the rest, but I could have really done without it, perhaps only mentioning something about it a few times in order to explain some details about the setting, and the fact that the action takes place on Earth, not on some fantasy world. That’s a matter of taste, of course, as I simply dislike the genre, but To Journey in the Year of the Tiger would in pretty much any other way be the start of a good fantasy series, yet, however occasionally and briefly, it insists on jarringly tearing the reader away from all its other aspects, from the atmosphere and even the mindset that suits reading such a book, and jumping into something entirely different and, at least from my point of view, out of place. Definitely makes me dread what’s coming.