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

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

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I was really excited for this book, the premise was intriguing. Unfortunately the pacing for this book was too slow. A lot of information very little plot to start. I don’t know if I can get to where the plot starts moving. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read.

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This was...interesting. I admit, I didn't get into it at first because the world-building felt slightly info-dumpy but once the ball was rolling plot-wise and I got the hang of the world-building and such, I was super into it! I am interested in what the author writes next but not sure if I will pick up the next book for this (should there be one, I frankly have no idea). I think the author's strongest point was the world-building - Mehrotra really created realistic tension between nations and our MC really has to figure out how to navigate it all.

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2.5, rounded up because I think teenage me would be more forgiving of some of the faults I see as an adult.

This was sold as YA historical fantasy set in a version of medieval India, which had me really excited. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

I think my biggest complaint about this book is the pacing. While I admit I am not the targeted age range, I think that even teenage me would have a hard time with the pacing here as we seemed to move from major plot point to major plot point. While I appreciate that it made the book a fast paced read, I struggled to buy into the character relationships and development because there was no time to breathe and build that connection. For example, late in the book Katyani makes a promise to one of the other characters "should they die" and then literally the next chapter they died. And the amount of times that characters changed their opinions and left because of grief (there's a lot of death in this one) only to come back in the next chapter gave me whiplash. I did really like what we were able to see of the characters.

What worked best for me was the world. Mehrotra clearly pulled upon South Asian history and culture and mythology and I really loved how immersive the world is. There are so many unique monsters and the magic was interesting if a little hand wavey for me. That being said, there were some aspects of the writing that pulled me out of the story. Where I don't have a problem with undefined names, etc. the setting was clearly inspired by history but the characters would pull out super modern phrases that were really jarring. For example, in the first chapter Katyani says something along the lines of "I thought you didn't like that weirdo" which just didn't fit with the vibe the book seemed to be going for in my opinion.

I think this book had so much potential and I would love to see what Mehrota does with more experience.

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Note: I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had a hard time with this book on several levels. I was excited to read a story that takes place in medieval India, but this one wasn't it for me.

A lot of passages read like lists of things happening. There were little to no emotional reactions from characters to terrible things that happened, and action scenes felt stale and like they were being reported to me.

There were times where the words the main character used pulled me right out of the story. If this is taking place in medieval India, why is she saying things like "cool" and "weirdo?"

On the subject of the main character, she was my biggest problem with the book. When Katya wasn't acting extremely childish (how on earth did she get placed in charge of spies?), she was acting like a sociopath. People dying were an inconvenience to her because now she had to go clean up. She also loved cracking jokes when people were in danger or intentionally trying to cause more danger to come to them.

And the love story was one of the most insta-love stories I think I've ever read. So sappy and with no foundation or explanation for why either character is obsessed with the other. It came out of nowhere.

The most interesting parts were whenever Katya was interacting with the various monsters and magical creatures. I don't know why they all seemed to be drawn to her, but they at least had more dimension and danger to them.

I'm disappointed this didn't live up to the hype for me, but I'm glad others are enjoying it.

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I have no words of how wonderful this book was!

First of all, I requested this book solely for the Indian representation and supporting the author, but now finishing it, I'm in awe of everything. The author combines various aspects of medieval India and weaves a lush and beautiful world brimming with deadly creatures, court politics and dark magic. Oh, did I forget to mention there's also a delightful romance you're going to be swooning over? Everything about this book was perfection and I'm so glad I got to read this early. Another thing is that this book doesn't waste time with buildups or getting familiar with the world. The begining of the first chapter itself is with action and the plot twists were wonderful to read about!

Overall, this was a solid 5 stars and I urge all of you to pick this up if you want a great YA fantasy!

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I think this one is a case of it's not you it's me. Going in I thought I was going to really like it but i ended up not liking it as much. I think this just wasn't my type of book. The beginning was very promising but things took a turn that i thought was really interesting but then in my opinion the twist became less interesting as the story progressed.

The romance also wasn't my cut of tea. It was a bit insta love and I'm not a fan of that so if you are then it won't be a problem.

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove....that title alone should make you want to pick this book up.

I loved this book very much and will gladly recommend to anyone who loves high fantasy.
The plot was gripping, the worldbuilding and characters were amazing.

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I absolutely adored this book and the world building that went along with it. I loved the characters and their development as well as the mythology that bound the characters together. This story has enough mystery and action to keep you engaged throughout the entire journey.

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This book was interesting in different ways. Sometimes I really liked the storyline and the characters, and then it would flip to be almost overdone and a little annoying. It was hard at times to enjoy it because the characters were frustrating, and then other times I felt myself cheering for everyone. This book has the potential to be good, but the roller coaster of the characters and plot didn't have me completely invested. Overall it was a decent book, with fine enough characters, with a plot that I enjoyed to a degree. I'm not sure if I would recommend it, but I wouldn't steer clear of the book either. It was a good enough fantasy and magic, just not a favorite.

Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for the ARC!

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** received a NetGalley e-arc courtesy of St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books - thank you! **

TLDR:
Rating: solid 4.5 (5 for plot, 4 for character development)
I really thought this was going to be a classic heroic fantasy from the first few pages, and was very, very wrong, in a very, very good way. Strong (literally, also strongly written) female protagonist, but wish it were longer to expand on the other relevant characters as to add more ** POW ** to the story's twists and turns.

Long part (read at your leisure- no spoilers):
This plot is thrilling, devastating, and DENSE. The world-building was intriguing and a great escape from euro-centric YA mythic/heroic fantasy, especially regarding the world connection with monsters + spirits, and the personal journey. Fighting the "monsters" doesn't solve everything. I highly appreciated the romance for what was given, despite the slowburn- both have a LOT going on and it totally made sense to me. The magic system was a large part of my intrigue with the world, but not the main point of the story. Why it was not entirely fleshed out before us is evident (although, please elaborate if there is more of this story to come!!!). My main criticism: I wanted more time with the characters. The plot twists and turns could have been even MORE thrilling and devastating if we had more time/experience with characters who aren't protagonist Katyani (although, a pleasure to meet and know her, we love a sassy and confident lady). I almost wish this was two books, or longer. It felt like the story was setting itself up for potential expansion, and I am here, simply begging, for it.

To expand on the criticism: I felt I had to rely on Katyani's feelings toward most characters, rather than my own. This makes sense in theory, as this is her ~current~ POV and kingdom/loved-one threating advances are also on her mind (and the story's), on top of this innately being a story about her personal growth. Her strong feelings just felt less impactful because we didn't have much meaningful contact beforehand to confirm them as readers, although there was definitely effort after the fact to explain them. I wish there was a greater attempt to utilize current stress as a bonding (for lack of a better word) opportunity, as I think this could've been a strong source of character building for the princes Ayan and Bhairav. I would have taken those interactions over others in the gurukul setting. The Archarya Mahavir arc was an excellent example of what I am talking about here, without going into too much detail.

Do I recommend? YES, absolutely, no doubt. I am so going to dive into Rati Mehrotra's other titles after this one. Thank you for sharing this story with the world.

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"Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove" took a darker turn than I expected and had a primary villain that I did not expect, but it also had a surprising redemptive arc. I particularly liked that the story relied heavily on Hindu and Indian (as in the country/subcontinent/people group) principles, beliefs, history and mythology. That is a perspective I rarely run across in the books I generally read, so it adds a uniqueness to the story, including in how the characters relate to each other and the motivations behind their behavior. The plot is intricate, with some rather good twists, and the characters are enjoyable. The interaction between Katyani (the main female protagonist) and Daksh is quite good, especially as they have very different personalities, and they challenge each other. If I could change anything about the book, I would have liked to see Princess Revaa have a more prominent role earlier in the story, as the information provided about her suggests that she is a fascinating character. However, in the context of how the author uses Revaa to help resolve the plot, I can understand why her role is so limited until near the end of the book.

I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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This was my first book by this author, It was pretty enjoyable. I would give this book a 3.5 star rating! It was a pretty Quick and easy read!

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I really enjoyed reading this book! I loved the ancient Indian world with a focus on spiritual energy as magic, and I loved all the politics driving the plot. I've discovered that I LOVE politics in my fantasy books, especially when they move the plot along quickly. This story had so many twists and turns; it truly was a joy to read!

There is also the cutest romance, but be warned—it is a SLOW burn. But the payoff is totally worth it. I loved the character development too. Katyani makes huge strides in her growth, and she is a great character to follow through the story. I also loved the inclusion of Indian myth monsters and creatures.

I do wish that the spiritual energy/magic part was developed a bit more, and I wish the romance wasn't as much of a slow burn. But honestly, this was a solid YA fantasy that I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend if you liked The Tiger at Midnight, Poppy War, and Daughter of the Moon Goddess.

Writing Aesthetic/Style: 5
Plot/Movement: 4
Character Development: 4
Overall: 4

Thank you, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley, for the ARC!

Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, torture, monster attacks, war violence

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this should have been one of my favorite books of the year. i love the setting so much, but I'm probably biased about that because as an Indian one of my favorite fantasy settings is medieval India. however, while I really love Katyani's character as well as the ideas behind the plot, one thing that made this not a 5 star read was the lack of depth. I really wish we got more about the magic system, the politics, the complicated relationships. I wish there was more depth to the mystery and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish the book was a bit more slower in pace. The writing is pretty good, but the events feel pretty rushed. so much happens, but as a reader I did not feel any tension at all.

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This was an engaging, fast-paced, plot-driven standalone fantasy set in India and I had a fun time reading it! I think I expected it to be slower and more atmospheric, maybe because the cover is so lovely and the title is so poetic, but this was definitely not slow at all.

I don’t really want to describe this book because the plot does move so fast and big, dramatic things happen All The Time. Like every scene does A Thing. And even if something is set up and you think it’s going to be a while before it comes to a head and that we’re going to marinate in it first, no. This shit is fast.

I will say it reads like crossover YA/Adult fantasy. The characters read between 18-22, college age vibes (even though this is historical fantasy). The main character Katyani is fun. She’s sassy and bold and flirty and pretty much my favorite character type to read.

I think if this book was slower and more atmospheric, if we got more depth with the characters and more worldbuilding, this could have been a favorite book. I loved the plot and all the twists, and I enjoyed following Katyani, but I wanted more. I wanted there to be more nuance and layers to Katyani, and also all the side characters. Everyone felt pretty surface level. Characters are killed off just as we start getting to know them, and we never learn more about them. This could have been so fucking emotional but because we don’t get that time with anyone, its almost just an action movie.

There are a number of villains in this book, big ones and small ones, and I wish we got to know more about them. I wanted to dig so much deeper into their motivations. There is especially one, the main antagonist, and the explanation we got for their actions seemed kind of weak to me. Or maybe not weak, but underexplored. There is so much betrayal and revenge and violence and reveals that I really wanted to understand these characters who are making these big moves.

I also wanted more worldbuilding and more description. I wanted to know what this world looked like, what people looked like, what it smelled like, what people ate, how they dressed, customs and norms, the landscape, the weather. I wanted a clearer visual on the monsters especially. We also met a few different cultures and countries but I didn’t know how to differentiate them.

The romance was sweet and I definitely felt the sexual tension but omg there was literally no payoff at the end. This is a super slow burn. And I love a slow burn! But come on like we needed more action there at the end. If this is YA, then fine. But personally, I would have preferred if we got like another 150 pages of character development and worldbuilding, and if this was maybe aged up to Adult so we could get just a little more steamy.

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Book: Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
Author: Rati Mehrotra
Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Wednesday Books, for sending me an ARC.

I think I am one of the few people who did not enjoy this title. This is a fantasy story that is a retelling of medieval India. Let me stop you right there. I love the idea of using medieval India as a backdrop. As of late, I have been on a southeast Asia fantasy kick. We follow our main character, Katyani, who has this bond with the queen. They are tied together because without out, one of them would have died. She doesn’t remember who she was and where she came from. She only knows what she has been told, which she puts her full trust in. Katyani is the prince’s bodyguard and they are sent to a training school. It is here that Katyani learns that she should start questioning those around her. She does so but doesn’t get much of a chance before war breaks out. This war changes the course of her life forever.

All of this should have been a great set-up. This is the type of fantasy book that I normally enjoy. I know it is a young adult, so I can’t talk about it the same way I would an adult title. However, some things made it very difficult for me to connect. I felt like certain things were rushed. I would have liked to have stayed longer at the training school to allow our characters are chance to grow. I honestly thought we were going to spend most of the novel, if not all, of it there. This could have been a great growing moment for the characters. We could see the bones of these characters coming to life here, but they are jerked back to the castle and the war before they had a chance to find their voice. This, to me, was rushed and a big miss. This could have been our chance to see the characters change and to bond with them. It may have made what happened in the next couple of chapters have more of an impact.

The characters were okay. I think the biggest issue I have with them is the fact that we did not get enough time to bond with them. We are told what they are supposed to be but are never really a chance to see that. For example, we are told time and time again that Katyani is the best guardswoman there is, but we don’t get to see that. She’s good, but based on what I saw in the book, I don’t know if I would call her the best. That’s just it. We are told that this character is this and that, but we are never really given a chance to see that. The characters’ actions do not match what we have been told about them. It’s like the author is trying to mould the characters to fit the story and this does not work.

There’s also not a lot of depth to the story. It felt like we were just going through the motions of having a story. It was very much sequence by sequence without anything to bring it together. The stakes are supposed to be high, but I never got a sense as to why the stakes are so high. It was more of going through the motions than giving us anything to cheer for. I know, again, that this is young adult fantasy. I have read several young fantasies and they have depth, all while staying YA. I felt that it needed something to put it over the edge.

Overall, this was a miss for me, which is a shame, because I did want to like it.

This book comes out on October 18, 2022.

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Holy shit this book was amazing! I had such high hopes for this, but somehow I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did!

I would say that the beginning was a bit slow and info-dumpy to me, and I couldn’t grasp the extent of the world nor the magic system (though I deeply appreciated the glossary at the end). However, once the plot started thickening I found myself enjoying the story and the characters much more.

Though I have to say that the world and the magic were super intriguing and I found myself wanting to know more about the mythology and these creatures introduced, the thing I loved the most about Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove has to be its characters.

Our protagonist was deeply flawed and had such an interesting character arc. It was so easy for the reader to understand her actions and her way of thinking because of her inner monologues, and the way the writer made her interact with the rest of the characters was so well done. Her dynamics and relationships with the love interest and other less important characters were so interesting and I deeply enjoyed her evolution throughout the story.

I think that for a standalone (at least I think it is one), you got a grasp of everything: the world building, the magic, the mythology and the characters. However, I think that the author gave more importance and shine to the characters and their relationships and stories instead of to the world or the magic, but that did’t bother me that much.

Overall, I think Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove was a very interesting standalone with lots of action packed scenes and drama and tension between the characters’ dynamics. I adored the main character and her journey and the magic and creatures this book introduced to us.

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DNF @ ~25%
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book, however it unfortunately wasn't for me.
I just couldn't get into the plot or the characters. In the time I was reading I did not feel like the magic or political systems were explained at all and I found myself confused. However looking at the glowing reviews on Goodreads it does appear that I'm in the minority so if you're intrigued by the summary and want to give it a go more power to you!

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This story follows Katyani who bounded to the Queen and guards where she is in a position to guard the Prince and Princess whom we see are more like adopted siblings to her.

Rati Mehrotra writes a stunning fantasy debut that has you sitting at the seat of your chair. Although the story does initially start a bit slow, everything that follows is completely action packed and worth the read. Katyani is an amazing protagonist who demonstrates what exactly straight and perseverance is. I loved her so much as the FMC that when the book ended, I couldn't help but want more.

I cannot rave about this book enough and would highly suggest this book to everyone.

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Ratings 4 stars

*I received an ARC from NetGalley for my voluntary and honest review.

Katyani was told she was a sick child and in order to save her life the Queen of Chandela used forbidden magic to save Katyani and in exchange they became bonded. Katyani is then raised by the King and Queen along with their son, nephew, and niece. Her place was always to protect the royal family. When numerous assassinations are attempt, Katyani is sent along with the princes to the gurukul of Acharya Mahavir, who is one of the strongest spiritual advisors in the land. Ayan, the crown prince, and Bhairav, the prince’s cousin, and Katyani are to hone the skills to make them suitable leaders and learn how to deal with monsters plaguing the land. There they meet the guru’s youngest son Daksh, who Katyani enjoys pushing buttons. Unfortunately they are called back in the middle of training and Katyani’s world is turned upside down.

This book weaves political and court scheming with elements from Hindu mythology beautifully. Katyani is a strong FMC with a witty attitude. Her banter, especially with Daksh, were some of my favourite parts of the book. And I saw some other people upset that the romance took kind of a back burner in this book, but I liked that. It gave more story to focus on Katyani and her inner struggles. Trying to reconcile the person she was raised to be vs the person she wanted/needed to become. I'm glad the romance didn't really influence her decisions much. All in all, solid read and I would recommend it to people that love political intrigue mixed with fantasy.

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