Cover Image: Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

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Member Reviews

I thought this book was okay, and I rated it as "average" (2.5 stars). It follows a typical young-person-finds-magical-powers-and-also-themself structure, and its plotting is readable and easy to follow. Although it wasn't for me, if you liked The Tiger at Midnight or We Hunt the Flame, you should give this a try.
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A really great story!  It had a bit of a slow start, but by about the 15% mark it picked up and by the 30% mark I couldn’t put the book down. Very interesting. I loved the Indian, Hindu, and Buddhist customs and lore/mythology that were an important part of the story. I adored Katyani. The monsters, world building, and characters were wonderfully written. A slow building, fun, and PG romance, but the violence was probably more PG13. I recommend to anyone who enjoys a good Ya fantasy.

Thank you Net Galley and Wednesday Books for this digital arc in exchange for my honest review which is not affiliated with any brand.


I will post this review on GoodReads now and on Amazon and B&N after publication.
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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.- Goodreads

This book messed with my emotions. It pulled me in with Katyani's true history, It kept me reading with the "romance" and overall it was written well. I liked the book. HOWEVER, I felt that there was a lot of fluff in this book and it didn't follow through with a lot of what it promised. 

The romance lacked chemistry. Do not get me wrong Katyani felt things but it really felt one-sided, a majority of the time. It would have been nice to see Daksh's point of view because it would have made the emotions feel more genuine and it would have made his actions make more sense. I feel that he did things becasue he was curious as opposed to love/romance. 

There are a lot of questions that was briefly answered but deserved more attention and Katyani's backstory. It was brushed over; almost as if the author was trying to rush it to finish the story. I thought that there would be more and there should have been more. I wouldn't had even mind if this book was a two parter, where the first book focused on her trying to discover the trust and the second book focused on what she lost. I strongly believe that would have been a better move because things in this book was tied up too nicely. 

Do not get me wrong, still enjoyed the book but wanted more from it. 

I liked Katyani and I would have changed nothing about her. The pace of the novel was also great but again needed more meat to it. There were confrontations that needed to happen but didn't and I don't understand why it wasn't more involved. 

Overall, I would read book two but I would hope that it is more thought out. 

3 Pickles
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This was a thoroughly enjoyable read! I'm not a big reader of YA in general, but I'd definitely recommend this book to young adult readers. It feels like more of a fun ride than a precise historical recreation; many aspects of the world feel pretty close to our own (in particular, women have almost as many opportunities as men but still have to contend with old-fashioned patriarchal attitudes at times, and use words like 'patriarchal' to convey their annoyance), but it was done smoothly enough so as not to be jarring. The world-building is vivid and doesn't feel like modern teenagers cosplaying, but rather like an authentic, coherent fantasy universe I could take pleasure in.

The beginning may feel slow to some, but this shouldn't put you off. Approximately a quarter of the way in, the story abruptly changes course, and what felt like a somewhat conventional start takes a darker, much more surprising turn. From then on the novel flowed quite effortlessly. I particularly enjoyed how closely the natural environment was intertwined with the story, making everything feel so much more alive. There's even an index of trees, which I think is a brilliant idea. Novels regularly attempt to make the setting matter as much as a character in its own right; this one actually succeeds, I think.

Definitely a book I'd recommend, either to high schoolers or to adults looking for an entertaining adventure novel with an endearing wisecracking heroine!
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A superb fantasy novel set in medieval India featuring a charming and valiant protagonist with a mix of sword-and-sorcery, romance, and political intrigue. Exciting and moving, full of action and adventure, a wholly delightful achievement.
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Amazing world building that made me get transported and lush waiting. Pacing was a bit slow in the beginning, but past that is beauty writing.
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The world building in this story was absolute fantastic. I could tell that a lot of time and energy went into it. Unfortunately I had a hard time connecting with the story in the beginning. Also there were some parts that seemed to drag on  and maybe could have been condensed or removed completely.
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A lush, exquisite fantasy with political intrigue, betrayal, a snarky swordswoman, and a broody monk. Monsters lurk in the forests, but the true evil is what lies beneath a human's intentions. I absolutely devoured this book and the amazing characters. Katyani and Daksh have my heart, I love this story so much!
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I had some trouble writing this review. I was t in love with this book, but it definitely became a much better read in the last 40% or so. 

I am a big fan of YA fantasy and magic, I was really looking forward to this, but it was slow in the beginning and I came close to giving up on it. The world building was a bit slow. It ended up being good, and the author did a wonderful job of describing the mythology and the monsters. The character development was decent, but definitely could have been better and I would have liked to see a bit more growth in the MC. Finally, the writing style read younger than the intended audience. 

Overall it ended up being a good book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC copy of this novel!

I wanted to love this one and I liked it, but after I finished it, I wasn't sad it was over. That's how I can normally tell I've read what constitutes a 4 or 5 star book for me. In those cases, I miss the characters as though they were actual people and long to check in to see what they've been up to. 

Our fmc is Katya, a Guards-woman to the royal family of Chendala and magically bonded to the Queen since she was a young child following the death of her parents. The bond allows her to sense the queens whereabouts, feelings and if she is in danger, but only when in near proximity. So, when Katya and the Crown Prince and his cousin travel deep into a forest known for may horrifying Monsters, Katya can no longer sense the bond. They arrive at a sacred compound and where they are to be taught how to banish monsters, amongst other things. 
Katya starts a flirtation with one of the Master's sons. Not much happens with this - a bit of build up to no real reward. Then there's a lot of back and forth from the forest to the Kingdom where the royal family is all murdered, save for the cousin. Katya is accused of organizing as a result of her being a lost princess from another kingdom. 

I could summarize a lot more, but there's a lot of details to keep track of and in this case, I feel like that actually detracted from the story. Katya doesn't really form any attachments or relationships that you feel invested in. I did not like the whiny, childish behavior she exhibits, especially in the beginning when the trio first arrives at the compound. I think she does experience some growth over the course of her story, but not enough for me to warm up to her. As I hinted at, the 'romance' subplot was pretty non-existent. There was some tension and buildup, but in the end, we really don't get much in the way of a payoff. 

The main thing I really enjoyed was the Monsters and their descriptions. I thought they were fascinating and would have liked further information relating to their background and lore. 

All in all, just an ok read for me. 2.5 starts, but rounding up to 3.
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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
by Rati Mehrotra
YA Fantasy 
ARC NetGalley

Katyani, linked to the Queen in order to save her life while a child became almost like family to the royals, but her main duty was to guard them with her life.

Even though there were assassination attempts on the king and queen, they still sent the two princes and Katyani to a school in order to learn less violent ways of diplomacy. Almost done with the schooling and they were called back, and then some major stuff happens. 

Even though there's a lot of violence, the writing made it feel as if it's intended for kids under 13. “We did this, and then we did that, and then that happened.” Not a lot of in-depth descriptions, most things were brushed over. I was about ready to give up at 24%. I decided to give it another 10, and the plot took an interesting turn for the better, but the writing still didn't. Though I had the who, what, when, why, and the hows pretty much figured out by the halfway mark.

The idea was good, the setting and monsters were a little different than others in this type of story. Overall it was an ok of a story. A little more 'dressing up' of the descriptions would take this book to the next level.

2 Stars
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Disclaimers: I received a review copy of this book via the author's publicist and Netgalley, having become aware of it because the author is on the same writers' forum as me. 

I greatly enjoyed the medieval Indian fantasy setting as a change from a medieval European fantasy setting, and (given that I have almost no prior knowledge) the setting felt well-researched without becoming the focus. There's a glossary at the back, but my Kindle's dictionary and Wikipedia between them adequately explained to me what the various foods, trees, items of clothing, and supernatural beings were, so I was able to follow the story and get a feel for what things looked like with minimal disruption to the flow. This isn't always the case with settings that are unfamiliar to me. 

The plot took a stronger turn for the tragic than I was anticipating about a quarter of the way through (not that the blurb didn't warn me), and the protagonist had a really bad time of it. However, she persevered with courage, intelligence and resourcefulness, and made good use of her allies, all of which is what I look for in a protagonist. 

I did struggle a little with suspension of disbelief about a couple of the key plot elements. The protagonist is betrayed, and to me, it was difficult to believe that the people who betrayed her could have concealed their treachery so effectively for so long. <spoiler>One had a psychic bond to her that enabled her to share in their feelings, and the other had grown up with her from the age of three. </spoiler> However, everything else in the plot was well justified, including the romance (both people involved were actually admirable).  

The adventure portions, which took the main focus, were varied, well handled and suspenseful, with action scenes that meant something and weren't just there for their own sake. The minor characters I found a little difficult to keep straight sometimes, since they're not strongly individual, but the major characters acted believably and developed over the course of the book. 

All in all, sound and solid. I enjoyed it, and will look for other books by this author.
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I've realised that stories that follow court manoeuvring and political schemes aren't my favourite, unless there is some sort of mythology/fantasy element to them. I really enjoyed how the magical history of this world plays out across the kingdoms, the forests, the far off places and all of the various humans and monsters living within it. I also think the characters are a real high point to the novel - they all feel like they fit and have a purpose. 

The only reason this isn't getting 5 stars is because I actually wanted more of the romance. There is just soooo much setting up and tension and teasing that results in such lukewarm follow through. It's like the author was doing everything to set the reader up for something good, just to draw back and not deliver at the last minute. It left me feeling a little unsatisfied in the end.. But readers who don't mind mild "slow burns" should be okay with how the romance plays out. 

But my personal preferences honestly can't take away how commendable this story is. It's an amazing adventure filled with heroes and enemies, first loves and betrayals, and gorgeous mythology!
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Katyani has been bound to the Queen of Chandela since she was a small child. She is tasked with playing bodyguard and escort to the Chandela princes as they attend a monastic school set in a forest surrounded by monsters. However, Katyani and the Princes are summoned urgently back to Chandela and tragedy strikes, leaving Katyani to question her place in Chandela.

If I’m being honest, the first 40% of the book I kind of questioned what the real overarching conflict and narrative was. The characters at first were fairly flat and hadn’t enamored me to the story. I wanted Katyani to succeed by virtue of the consistent injustices done to her but not because of anything about her or her actions. 

The story does pick up at the midway mark and from thereon I did enjoy it. The reason for the slow start kind of became apparent based on all the things the book was trying to set up. Thereafter events become constant and Katyani’s situation is constantly evolving. 

The world in which this takes place is definitely interesting however I would have liked to see more explanation. I’m not entirely sure where soul magic comes from or how one comes to possess more of it than someone else. The glossary at the back of the book was definitely a nice addition to explain some terms and mythology. 

At first, the romance was a bit obvious and felt forced, particularly when Katyani remarks when Daksh first looks at her it was like he was seeing her soul. By the end, I found the aspects of it to be kind of endearing because neither one of them had any romantic experience and Daksh in particular was out of his depth. 

I think this book in particular will appeal to anyone who enjoys a fantasy story which infuses elements of Indian culture, contains a strong female heroine and explores topics of conflict, family and prejudices. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was amazing.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was not predictable.
Yes this has a lot of typical tropes, but the way the author executes them really made them feel original and unique. I absolutely loved the story. It was a bit long but every page was important to the full plot of the story. I love the culture that is influenced into the story. I would absolutely love to see a sequel or at least a mini sequel to see what happens with a few characters. I normally hate stories where characters die. This author does kill off some characters. Which shocked me and made me sad. I felt their deaths really heighten the stakes  of the plot. Even though I was sad I would not change anything the author had written. 
I look forward to reading more stories by this author.
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I absolutely loved this book! It was so interesting and full of plot twists that I love. I was never bored throughout this book and the author did a great job creating interesting and unique characters. This is a book that I will reread over again and again. Great book!
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A past forgotten to magic and a present filled with service based on what she’d been told is undermined by a few words, driving a woman to discover the truth in Rati Mehrotra’s Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove.

After being saved by the Queen of Chandela as a young, orphaned child through a forbidden soul bonding, Katyani has since grown up alongside the royal family and poised to serve a role as an advisor and protector for the crown prince, Ayan, when he ascends the throne. There have been a series of assassination attempts on the royal family, which is perplexing as the Garuda have been repeatedly unsuccessful in uncovering the mastermind; Katyani would prefer to stay with the Queen and solve the plot against the royal family but is ordered to accompany Ayan and his cousin Bhairav as their bodyguard on their intellectual and spiritual venture to the gurukul of Acharya Mahavir to hone the skills for their future as kingdom leaders. Secluded in a strict monastic school, Katyani struggles to adhere to all the strange rules, especially when Daksh, the Acharya’s youngest son, repeatedly reminds her of the rules with pointed gazes her way. Suddenly summoned back to Chandela before completing their training, tragedy strikes the royal family, and Katyani, leaving her betrayed and suddenly alone, questioning her entire life and in search of answers from her missing past to forge a future all her own.

With political intrigue and betrayal, magic, and monsters set in an India-inspired medieval setting, the narrative includes a vast array of social commentary it addresses while taking readers on a fantastic adventure. I appreciate that this story is a standalone that builds a world and details characters rapidly and ties the narrative threads together quite well, but the world with the magic system and various entities would be fascinating to see explored in greater detail; the glossary at the end of the novel was helpful to provide greater clarity regarding the monsters of lore, name honorifics, and frequently used terms throughout the text that may be unfamiliar to readers. The dynamic and banter between Katyani and Daksh offered a satisfying tension and was entertaining despite being familiar and easily predictable. The pacing at the outset was slower as it introduced the world and characters but picked up quickly after initial establishment, beginning a fast-paced journey that readers can easily be swept up in.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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