Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a new YA historical fantasy with an interesting setting and engaging characters that are easy to care about.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra is available now.
Goodreads Rating: 3.87
My Rating: 4 Stars
Katyani’s role in the kingdom of Chandela has always been clear: becoming an advisor and protector of the crown prince, Ayan, when he ascends to the throne. Bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has grown up in the royal family and become the best guardswoman the Garuda has ever seen. But when a series of assassination attempts threatens the royals, Katyani is shipped off to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir as an escort to Ayan and his cousin, Bhairav, to protect them as they hone the skills needed to be the next leaders of the kingdom. Nothing could annoy Katyani more than being stuck in a monastic school in the middle of a forest, except her run-ins with Daksh, the Acharya’s son, who can’t stop going on about the rules and whose gaze makes her feel like he can see into her soul.
But when Katyani and the princes are hurriedly summoned back to Chandela before their training is complete, tragedy strikes and Katyani is torn from the only life she has ever known. Alone and betrayed in a land infested by monsters, Katyani must find answers from her past to save all she loves and forge her own destiny. Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.
I found it very easy to get swept up in this book. The world that Mehrotra creates is full of history and magic and monsters, that jumps off the page. Katyani is also a wonderful protagonist that you will want to root for. I was immediately drawn in by the twist on the traditional roles. Often in stories, it’s the girl who needs to be protected, but in Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove, Katyani protects the prince. I thought it was a refreshing change of pace. Katyani is also so brave and strong-willed that the role of guardswoman suits her perfectly.
I really enjoyed the journey through the forest, and Katyani’s time spent training at the school. That’s where she meets Daksh – and I really enjoyed hi character as well. The romance in this book is definitely a slow-burn and also a subplot to the larger political intrigue focus and many plot twists that play out. I enjoy a slow-burn romance, however, since I became so invested in the characters and their relationship, I did find myself wanting a little bit more from their romance. There was a lot of build-up and I’m not sure if the outcome fully lived up to all of the tension.
However, that being said, the lack of romantic focus did not take away overly much from my overall enjoyment of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and found it hard to put down. I think that it was satisfying as a standalone, but would also be interested in reading a sequel. I would love to know what happens next for these characters.