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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
by Rati Mehrotra
Pub Date: 18 Oct 2022

One of The Nerd Daily's Anticipated July To December 2022 Book Releases
One of Book Riot's 33 Must-Read South Asian Books Out in 2022

In Rati Mehrotra's Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove, a young guardswoman struggles with her unwitting role as a major pawn in the deadly games between two kingdoms in a monster-infested alternate medieval India.

Bound to the queen of Chandela by a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has never fallen short of what’s expected of her—becoming the best guardswoman the Garuda has ever seen and an advisor to the crown prince when he ascends to the throne. But when the latest assassination attempt against the royals leaves them with a faceless body and no leads to the perpetrator, Katyani is unwillingly shipped off to guard the Chandela princes in Acharya Mahavir’s esteemed monastic school in Nandovana, a forest where monsters have roamed unchecked for generations.

Katyani wants nothing more than to return to her duties, especially when the Acharya starts asking questions about her past. The only upside of her stay are 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 with monsters, Katyani must find the answers to her past so she can save what she loves and forge her own destiny.

Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.

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I really enjoyed reading this book! I feel like so much happens in the beginning that made me keep “turning the pages” (I’m reading the earc) This book has a badass bodyguard FMC, a sweet but broody soft boy, policital schemes, court maneuvering, cool monsters and magic in a medieval India setting. I’m pretty sure this is a stand alone but I wouldn’t mind if a sequel ever happened.

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I can not sing the praises of this book enough! I have included the link to my goodreads and readerly reviews. I have also tweeted both of these links on my book twitter account.

Read this if you are looking for a YA political high fantasy with an atmospheric setting, fleshed out and interesting characters, and a fast paced, action-packed plot. What a way to debut! - I was impressed by both the characters and the plot. Truly, there wasn’t one part of this book where I was bored. This is what I have been looking for in a fantasy read for a while.

Our story follows Katyani - she’s the royal family’s body guard, trainer of her country’s spy network and the personal protector of the princes and princess. For her, this job goes beyond her duty to serve the royal family that took her in as an orphan; it is done out of a sense of fierce loyalty to these people that she grew up with. You can see how much love she has for her adopted brothers and parents. Also, finally there is a YA protagonist that isn’t a complete moron! Her voice was so refreshing and intelligent - I loved her bold personality, and that she provides the teasing in the outgoing x shy ship dynamic.

The world building and setting is so vibrant. We spend some time visiting a monastic school in the middle of a forest infested with monsters to learn ethics, meditation, weapons and martial arts. A big focus is how to be ethical and moral individuals - a hope that the master wants to imbue into the next generation of fair leaders. His role as a neutral party alongside the warring kingdoms in the larger country was an interesting addition, and I love how influential this one master and his school is up against kings and queens of the country. The development of the master-student bond between Acharya and Katyani was so sweet, as we watch this wise mentor slowly come to care for his pupil that he’s initially found irksome. Throughout the novel, we watch Katyani come back to the things that her teacher has taught her, and she holds his guidance close to her heart.

I am very pleased with how much I liked this book, and I can’t wait to see what Rati Mehrotra does in the future. My only complaint: I would have loved a pretty map!

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The Queen of Chandela saved Katyani from death as a child, resulting in a forbidden soul bond between the two. As a way to repay the debt, Katyani became the Garuda's top guardswoman as well as the advisor to the crown prince. As threats to the throne increase, Katyani is sent away to guard the royal princes as they train at Acharya Mahavir’s esteemed monastic school a place that is surrounded by monster infested forest. Tragedy strikes and Katyani must figure out who she is really is and embrace her destiny.

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a standalone YA fantasy set in an India-inspired medieval world filled with monsters. I really wanted to love this one but unfortunately, for me anyway, it was just lackluster. I think the main issue I had was that I didn't really care for the MC whom I found more annoying than awe-inspiring. Even her interaction's with Daksh, the Acharya’s son, felt more forced than romantic. That being said, I am among the minority in my rating so this novel may appeal to other readers more than it did to me.

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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. 4 stars

“What evil men did to satisfy their greed. They forgot they would leave the world as empty-handed as they had entered it.”

Wow. I never expected how far this book would go or how many twists and turns that lead to the end. The book summary does not do it justice.

If you’re looking for a creative, lively and excellent world building, this book is it. The Indian theme is fully explored and has its fingers in practically every page. It’s excellently done and I feel like I learned more about the culture than before. The world building is immersive and draws you in.

For characters, I loved the main character, Katyani and thought she was well developed and multi-faceted. The romance is sweet and such a joy, however I feel like Daksh was not very developed which is why I gave it four stars instead of five. He could have used more development.

I will say this, don’t get too attached to your favorite characters like I did because of (spoilers). I was shocked at how many characters had something happen to them and didn’t expect it at all.

Another detractor that lead to my Star count is the “big bad” was super obvious from the start and didn’t really surprise me. However, there are plenty of other twists that make up for it.

Overall, I loved the book and it will definitely deliver an enjoyable, immersive experience for any reader to enjoy. Some characters were obvious with their motives or not as developed, but that does not change the fact it was a fun read that hooks you until the end.

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'Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove' was a long, yet action-packed read. The story was filled with many twists and turns, and although it has a lot of conflicts and subplots, everything wraps up pretty neatly by the end. Although the story contains a lot of familiar YA fantasy tropes, I wasn't expecting some of the twists (spoilers: the Queen's fate, the prince turning to the dark side, etc.). I was expecting a majority of the book to take place in the school they attend and most of the conflict to take place between the Queen and protagonist, but my expectations there were also subverted. They do get plenty of action once they leave the school.

My biggest complaint with the story was that I felt it was mostly plot-driven and the characters weren't as developed as they could be, though they didn't necessarily feel underdeveloped either. But, by the end of the book, I just couldn't bring myself to really care about the protagonist and the other characters, especially when they meet their inevitable fates. I also couldn't understand why the guys so easily fell for the protagonist - she didn't seem to have much depth or a personality to me. With that said, the book did keep me fairly entertained and I always enjoy reading a wartime fantasy story that involves royalty and political plots.

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advanced reader's copy of this book for an honest review. (Publish Date: October 18, 2022)

Description: A young guardswoman struggles with her unwitting role as a major pawn in the deadly games between two kingdoms in a monster-infested alternate medieval India.

“Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove” by Rati Mehrota is a fast-paced, action-packed story that follows 18-year-old Katyani on her quest for answers once assassination attempts begin on the royal family she grew up with when she was orphaned as a child. When Katyani is forced to leave the palace to guard two of the coming of age princes at a faraway school, she begins to question her past as well as her future. As lies are uncovered and heart-wrenching truths are revealed, Katyani realizes for the first time that she has to look within herself to find her own destiny.

“[…] it gave her chills to think how one mistake could determine your fate.”

I absolutely loved this book and will definitely be purchasing it when it’s published this fall to read again and again! The author’s storytelling is mesmerizing – I literally could not put this book down! The attention to detail was so captivating and vivid that it made me feel as though I was present in every scene of the book. There were two kiss scenes in particular that were so gorgeously written, I was left as breathless as the characters. Also, the humor sprinkled throughout the book made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions, and I couldn’t wait to read what would happen next.

The main characters were richly layered and full of surprises. While some characters were more transparent, others kept me guessing throughout the story. The author was great at giving just enough information to make me draw a conclusion about a character and then promptly pulled the rug out from under me!

The glossary and list of trees in the back of the book were very helpful since there were several unfamiliar words and charters throughout the story. Some of the foreign words looked similar, so having the glossary handy to clarify those words made a big difference for me.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any teen or adult looking for a thrilling adventure through medieval India. I enjoyed it so much that I would consider it one of my favorite books of 2022!

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove follows Katyani, who is bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her life when she was a child. Katyani has grown up in the royal family and has become their most trusted royal bodyguard. After a series of failed assassination attempts on the family, Katyani, Ayan the crown prince, and Bhairav their cousin are sent to the school of the famous Acharya Mahavir to teach them the skills needed to rule their kingdom. However, before their training is complete, they are summoned back to Chandela. Tragedy strikes Katyani and her family and leaves her with more questions than answers about who she is and who has betrayed her and cast her out of her home.

This was such a well-done standalone fantasy. It was incredibly engaging, the characters were loveable and complicated, and the main relationship was developed so perfectly. (It actually reminded me a lot of Tea/Kalen from the bone witch trilogy!). I sometimes struggle with fantasies that focus a lot on politics/political issues, but this book really kept my attention and would not let me go. The writing was wonderful and drew me into this world completely where I just did not want to stop reading. Katyani is such a strong main character with a very complicated backstory that the reader learns along with her, and it added so much depth to who she is as a person and the choices she makes. I loved watching her relationships evolve with all of the other characters, for better or for worse, and her growth throughout the story is done tremendously considering it's a standalone novel. I really can't say enough good things about this book, I truly loved it and I cannot wait to buy it when it gets released!

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thanks netgalley and wednesday books for the arc in exchange for an honest review!

<b>4.75 stars, rounded up to 5</b>

summary -- i am absolutely shaking, screaming, crying, and throwing <i>up</i>. here's the list of my only qualms with the book:

1) i think mehrotra mentioned (or meant to mention) depression, and it was a bit funny how quickly that got wrapped up within a few pages.
2) women should be allowed to make out for real, especially when the bond between the queen and katyani was so homoerotic.
3) the ending felt a bit sudden? i wanted some sort of epilogue or closure, even if it was a few more sentences just rounding out the book.

other than that? astounding. perfection. incredible. absolutely obsessed. (i'll use more words and phrases that are actually descriptive now.) again: i deeply admire when authors can put their characters through unimaginable shit, and let's just say that happens a lot here. the exact phrase from my notes around the 50% mark is "absolutely shitting screaming pissing myself that was fucking bold to do y'all just fucked [them] over," if that says anything about my real-time thoughts. i did start literally screaming before i realized it was 9am, and i do mean the actual definition of literally in this case. i'm obsessed with slow burn romances (and i also don't like much romance in my fantasy anyway), so the pacing of the romance was perfect for me. the world-building hit just the right balance between not enough and too much. and i loved how much indian culture & values played into katya's moral system, only because i feel like fantasy can be all about individualism and glory and all those western ideas. so yes: everyone should read this book, i am slightly obsessed with it, and i will be absolutely on my hands and knees until i get a sequel.

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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for the ARC.

I really enjoyed this one. The storyline was interesting and I love a book with monsters. The romance in it was just right. I'm not really into romance books that have it heavily written about. This had a slow burn relationship which was enjoyable.

I liked the main character, Katya. She was enjoyable to read which made every chapter easy to read and before I knew it, I was done with the book.

Not sure if there will be a second but I'd read it if there were. Even a spinoff in the same world would be awesome.

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Thank you St. Martin's Press/ Wednesday Books for the eARC!

Initially, I didn't think I would like this as much, especially because I was extremely invested in the plot and characters. However, I kept an open mind, telling myself that this would get better, and oh yes it did. I haven't read a fantasy that good in a while and it felt so refreshing after reading so many romance books. It was an intricate, complex tale, crafted with a elaborate fantasy world, brutal plot twists, and soul-crushing betrayals. From corruption arcs, loveable characters, and a beautifully written romance, this book is one that will remain with me for a long time.

Around the first third of the novel, I wasn't the hugest fan of the plot, mainly because it felt like there wasn't much of a goal in mind. It felt a little messy at time and it was hard for me to discern the way the story would go. HOWEVER, during the last half of the book, the plot really sped up and I could really see where it was going. I won't get too much into it because of spoilers, but I will say I was invested the entire way through and could not put the book down. With the amount of suspense, cliffhangers and plot twists, it gripped me right through the page and refused to let go. Not to mention the amount of BETRAYAL in this novel. I really thought I was prepared after having read Red Queen, but nothing could prepare me for that and I'm still recovering.

I think the characters are what really brought this rating up. Bhairav, Ayan and Katyani had such good character dynamics, and I loved their sibling banter and all their moments together. They were absolutely hilarious and are what really kept me going, especially through the first half of the book. And Daksh was absolutely adorable and his romance with Katyani was off the charts adorable. Katyani's boldness paired with Daksh's reservedness create absolutely hilarious banter, and every moment they were together I was cheering for them. However, I did find Katyani to be too much of a passive character in the beginning, because most of the things she did were based off of what was thrown at her instead of her making her own choices. She became a much more active character during the second half of the novel, which was good, but I do wish she wasn't as passive during the first half.

The worldbuilding was so detailed and intricate, and I adored exploring the fantasy realm. If I could explain it just in one word, it would be enchanting. Filled with magical, mythical creatures, far off, daring kingdoms and gorgeous scenery, it was a wonder to read and envision. There were definitely a lot of terms I wasn't familiar with, but I'm glad there was a glossary that came with my arc, which was so so helpful.

Overall, it was such a great read and I highly recommend you check this out if you love complex and dark fantasy! I'm giving this a 4.5/5 stars only because it took quite a bit to get into, but everything else was incredible. NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE releases October 18th 2022 and this is something you don't want to miss!

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The first third was such a slog that I almost gave up and DNF it, but I powered through and ended up enjoying the rest of it well enough. Katyani is arrogant and unlikeable in the beginning; it isn't until she's on the backfoot and reacting instead of complaining that things get interesting. There are some descriptions regarding the setting and mythology that feel a bit too didactic, but I get it, sometimes it can be hard not to get excited and explain too much about the things you care about.
There's some interesting moral discussions on the nature of redemption, certainly more nuanced than most discourse on the topic on the internet, but it feels almost rushed in an attempt to get the plot wrapped up at the end. The romance is kind of bland, but it's mostly fine. And that's kind of where I end up with the book on the whole. It's mostly fine.

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Rati Mehrotra’s Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a gorgeously crafted story of a young woman learning the truth of her background and family while also discovering important things about herself and those she loves.

Katyani, the protagonist, has been bound to the Queen of Chandela for as long as she can remember. Though the bond is the result of a life debt, the royal family has always treated her like she’s part of the family, and not a servant. She and two other family members journey to a monastic school for training, and it seems that the more she learns, the more about her life and what she knows of her past unravels. Before she gets too far, however, the royal family suffers a tragedy, leaving Katyani confused, unmoored, and the only one who can save herself.

The skillful weaving of magic and legend into an amazing Indian-inspired setting really makes this book sing. So too does the characterization, particularly of Katyani. Her dedication is admirable, but she also possesses a quick wit and sense of humor that shines through even in her darkest moments. Perhaps it’s because I read and watch too much Regency-centered material, but there’s almost a Pride and Prejudice feel to some aspects of this book. The novel is written with a young adult audience in mind, but I think readers from young adults on up will truly love this book.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for review consideration.

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"Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove" was an incredibly well written book with characters that you can't help but root for. My biggest issues mostly stemmed from the plot, which seemed to have some pacing issues, and a central romance that I couldn't quite be fully invested in. Whether it's because of a lack of proper time spent with these characters, or a muddled story that at times felt both too rushed and too slow, it's hard to say. Other than that, this isn't a bad book by any means, and I'd likely recommend this to people so they could form their own opinions. Perhaps this just isn't the right story for me, or the right kind of romance that I'm used to. No matter what, Mehrotra can write a compelling world of political intrigue, and I'm excited to see what she writes next.

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This YA fantasy set in an alternative Indian setting delivers on all the aspects it promises on the tin, and more!

Despite the huge cast of characters, Mehrotra has done a sterling job of making each memorable, especially the fiery heroine, Katyani, stuck between two worlds, almost a royal, not quite a servant, bound by her loyalty, but also a code of ethics all her own.

The setting is wonderfully evoked—from the monsters and magic to the trees and palaces, from the royal splendour to the relative austerity of the gurukul. Having grown up on much of the mythology alluded to, it was easy for me to arrive at the nuances that are so beautifully evoked. For those unfamiliar with the canon, the glossary and a smidge of googling will make things smooth. Nowhere is the pace sacrificed for the explanations, and a curious reader can easily look up any unfamiliar references without losing the flow of the story.

The flirtation between Katyani and Daksh adds to the tension, and provides much-needed light relief amid the political intrigue, the darkness and the monsters.

Overall, the story was like being in the inside of a different world—I started with a few pages, hoping to read a little each day, but finished it in three sittings. For teenagers and adults who like exotic reads, this will be quite the treat, and I see myself gifting the paperbacks for a quite a few teen birthdays!

Thank you Netgalley and St Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for letting me read and review this book. I hope there’s a sequel in the works, because I’m absolutely ready with my money for Mehrotra’s next set in the same world.

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This story was good at what it does, which is having a solid independent female heroine, lots of court dynamics and politics, and some fight scenes with monsters. A in depth political court drama is just not what I was expecting.
With the advertisements mentioning monsters and soul bonds I did think this was more of a fantasy than it turned out to be. There are some fantastical elements, but ultimately it is one of those are to characterize books since its not a quite a fantasy, but definitely not historical fiction either since it's an alternative universe.
I also assumed this would have a substantial romantic subplot with the mentions of Daksh, the Acharya’s son but that never really came to fruition either. There are multiple side characters introduced that could have built into relationships/friendships but none of them ever quite got there and as a reader I didn't connect with them enough to invest.

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this book was so amazing!! the story is so unique and i loved experiencing it!! katyani and daksh are the best, and the plot overall is very well developed!! can't wait to read b=more books by this author!! (i will link the longer review that i will post on my blog at a closer date to the release, soon!!)

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My opinion is not on the stories content. I had to abandon ship on this one. Not because the story or writing was bad but because I had a very difficult time understanding all of the names and different cultural terms. Based on the other reviews given, this book seems to be very good. I just cant justify spending my time reading something I'm not able to follow. Based on the small amount I did read, the book had a good plot to it. Thank you so much to the author for the opportunity to review this book.

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Oh my goodness, what a beautiful story.

Such a magical journey through a monster-infested medieval alternate-India. The relationships in this book were tragic and beautiful and heart-wrenching, and I loved how the author infused magic and power into cultural practices and traditions. Monsters and evil spirits share the land with humans, and the theme of monstrosity woven throughout the story was one of my favorite things about the book. I loved seeing Katyani question everything she knew about the history she was told. The writing was beautiful -- atmospheric, funny, simple, and powerful, and I was completely immersed in the descriptions of the world -- the food, the trees, the night-blooming jasmine, the monsoon season, and hot sunny days. Everything was so vivid, especially the cast of beautifully complex characters.

Katyani is a fierce protagonist. Her sense of duty, loyalty, and love for her family runs deep, and she is one of the most beautiful characters I have read. Her relationship as an adoptive daughter to the royal family of Chandela is simultaneously so beautiful and so sad. Something doesn't feel quite right about the balance of power and status in their interactions, and I loved how Rati Mehrotra explored this nuance of their relationships -- sister, daughter, yet also servant. It was so real and heartbreaking.

Katyani's interactions with Daksh were hilarious and so cute and heart-warming. I loved how much Katyani tried to push his buttons and how often she tried to scandalize him. Daksh was so earnest and moral, so he provided a great contrast to some of the other characters. Yet he could be ruthless when it aligned with his ethical code, and those scenes were so fun to read!

The conflict between characters was very well done, and their differing opinions of fairness and mercy was interesting to read. There were so many beautiful metaphors throughout the book, as well as stark examples of ethical principles applied in difficult situations and how good people still have the capacity to do cruel and terrible things. I loved the exploration of ethics in the context of war and survival, the cruelty of making impossible choices, and the nuggets of wisdom throughout the book. There were so many raw instances of atonement, karma, and balance, of questioning what is right and keeping your promises, and of being brutally honest with yourself about your emotions, intentions, and motivations, and I absolutely loved it!

I really hope there's a second book.

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Katyani has been bound to the queen of Chandela her whole rememered life through a soul bond. Being raised with the princes and princess, Katyani has felt the pressure to excel and protect her adopted family. As assassins are closing in on the royal family, Katyani's responsibility is even higher. So when she is asked to accompany the princes to a monastic school, Katyani is reluctant to leave. Katyani is eager to return to her duties, especially as the Acharya asks her questions about her past that she cannot answer. As the weeks pass, Katyani settles in but her run-ins with Daksh, the Acharya's son, heat her up in more ways than one. Suddently Katyani and the princes are summoned back to the castle and their arrival is followed by tragedy. Katyani is torn from everything she has ever known and believed and now must find the answers to who she is and figure out her own destiny.
The setting of this story is beautifully told and woven with Hindu and culture from India. You quickly become immersed in this fantasy world. Katyani is a delightful character full of loyalty, love, passion, and sass. You will enjoy her interactions with the more stoic Daksh, as she teases him and teaches him how to live a little. The story contains plenty of intrigue to keep you turning the pages. I really enjoyed this book.

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