Member Reviews

I received a digital and audio ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

This book was wonderful. If you like me and you drawn in by lore and myth this is a great book. This is also filled with political intrigue as our main character Katyani, the queens bodyguard, is framed for the murder of the royal family. Katyani not only has to uncover what really happened and what motivated someone to kill her beloved queen and the family she was raised with. As the story unfolds there are so many other things at play that she had no knowledge of and she must use all of her skills as a warrior and those that she's learned during her time with the local spiritual leader to thwart the real villain.

This was was so well written and developed. The world building was so well done. Each of the monsters was well described as was the setting. The magic was based on spiritual power and time spent in spiritual learning so it was fairly straight forward. I loved all of the characters and felt they had great development. I thought the pacing was really well done too. This started off slow, but once you get past the initial set up things pick up nicely. I really enjoyed the aspect of the Indian lore and the medieval setting.

Like other readers I felt the romance aspect could have used a bit of work. It was a bit under developed compared to the rest of the plot. While you knew it was there and there was something developing between Katyani and Daksh there wasn't enough of it on the page for their relationship to really develop. I think the author did a good job wrapping it up in the end though. This certainly wasn't your typical YA romance with all the emotions and feelings though. The focus was more on the action side of the plotline.

I believe this is a standalone. It ends as if it is a standalone and I thought the ending was perfect, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get another book. Either way I loved this and can't wait to read more from this author!

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I enjoyed this YA fantasy novel. I thought the storyline was well thought out and interesting. The build up to events was great and the story was pretty fast-paced which was perfect for this novel! I didn’t have a difficult time following the world building information drops despite their being a lot of different categories of magical beings and I was happy to see that they were pretty active within the storyline rather than just pieces of the world that get mentioned every once in a while. Katyani’s character was fierce, independent, and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, which I appreciated in a young female character. Her interactions with her brothers and Daksh felt realistic to how characters their age would converse with one another and react to situations around them. The banter and tension between Daksh and Katyani was perfect and my only complaint is that I wish we would have gotten a bit more of it.

Hoping this will have a sequel, I’m wanting more from these characters and to see where the storyline takes them!

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Special thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Content warnings: gore, animal killing

Rep: found family, slow burn romance, pan/bi sexual mc

Thoughts: 3.5 ⭐️s
Neutral thoughts:

This was fun! It think the pacing and the plot were a little rough and there were scenes that were dragged out longer than they should have been. But I liked the characters enough that I overlooked the pacing and I kept in mind that this a debut. There are some laugh out loud moments & the banter between Katyani and Daksh was really good!!

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What's it about (in a nutshell):
Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra is a YA Epic Fantasy based on India's folk lore and mythology. Katyani, an orphan, grew up in the royal household of Chandela. Once she discovers her true identity, her world spins out of control, and she becomes in danger of losing everything and everyone who has ever meant anything to her.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
I'm curious about the Indian influences in this fantasy. I'm not very familiar with the folklore and mythology of India, so I'm looking forward to learning more about it. The absolutely gorgeous cover catches my eye, too!

Actual Reading Experience:
I loved that I was pulled in immediately to this foreign fantasy world. The sights and sounds enticed me to forget about the outside world and enjoy the story. Which I did happily. I also loved learning more about folklore and mythology that I didn't already have any knowledge of. It is fascinating and beautiful.
I also enjoyed the shocking twists that round out this highly adventurous story. An overriding mystery must be solved, and I never once suspected the culprit. A good mystery with surprising twists and turns is even more than I could have ever hoped to be a large part of the plot.
But the biggest strength of this story rests in the characters, and I will go more into that below.

Katyani is the main character of this story. She is everything I love in a heroine: intelligent, determined, and physically able to defeat her adoptive brothers. She never backs down, and she never gives up. But yet, she's also sympathetic and relatable.
All of the characters are well-developed, even most of the support characters. Each character's layers are pulled back and explored as the story unfolds. Since the story is a mix of character-driven and plot-driven, this level of development is needed and is delivered.

Narration & Pacing:
The story is told using third-person narration that is focused on Katyani. This is the perfect way to tell the story to ensure that the world is built fully and immersively. But focusing on Katyani gave it that more personal touch needed to tell her story. The pacing is medium to fast, which is a pace I always love.

Audiobook Narration:
I enjoyed the audio narration by Zehra Naqvi. I read the book's first half, then switched between listening and reading the second half. The narrator's slight Indian accent perfectly fits the Indian influences in the story. I loved hearing the correct pronunciation of names and words that I was butchering in my head. Naqvi did not have distinctive discernable voices for the different characters, so sometimes dialogue became confusing. Otherwise, I loved the narration pace and quality.

This story is set in a fantasy world called Chandela, which resembles medieval India. The world-building is phenomenal, and it pulled me in immediately with all its beauty and exoticness. Plenty of sensory descriptions allowed me to experience this land fully and completely.

What It Reminds Me Of:
This story is like none other than what I have read.

Read it if you like:
• Epic Fantasy with a strong female lead
• Incredible world-building
• High-stakes adventure
• Court maneuvering and political schemes
• The mythology and folklore of India

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a high fantasy story packed with betrayals, revenge, heart-wrenching losses, and a beautifully developed romance. Set in an alternate India filled with monsters of all kinds, Katyani is a gaurdswoman to the Queen of Chandela through a magical bond. But Katyani's world is ripped apart as hidden truths start coming to light. She sets on a path to uncover the answers behind these betrayals and her own past.
To sum up my feelings quickly, the initial scene where we learn Katyani is bound to the Queen through magical bonds and realize there is more to Katyani than originally thought had me immediately engaged. However, past that, the beginning felt like a slog to get through. I do think that it was worth it once I got past the slow 25% ish of the book for sure. When I hit the 70% mark, I couldn't fathom putting the book down. That large portion losing my interest is what made me give this a 4 stars, but it is definitely a high 4.
The plot is steeped with betrayal, revenge, pain, loss, love, and so much more that hooked me. The twists were perfectly crafted and made sense without being easy to guess. The world felt incredibly unique, and the monsters we learned about were ones I have never experienced in literature before. They were so interesting to learn about, and some played major roles in the story that were cleverly done. The themes of morality and justice were heavily woven into the story, as Acharya Mahavir (the 'teacher' of a monastic school Katyani is sent to) educates his students on justice and doing what is right. I feel the way these themes were integral to the story and the characters added to the depth and, although it isn't something I would have thought I'd enjoy so much beforehand, I was pleasantly surprised.
Rati Mehrotra's writing was outstanding. She set up moments of tension very well, and the action scenes had my heart racing. Her characters were the perfect mix of lovable and flawed. I love it when sometimes I want to wring the characters' necks but love them despite that- and that's how I felt here! The slow-burn romance development was amazing (though I am a sucker for slow-burn). The tension between the main character and love interest was so fun to watch bubble over, and seeing Katyani bait him had me laughing. I was not only rooting for Katyani to achieve justice but for the romance as well.
In the end, I felt like we got all the answers we needed. Nothing was tied up 'conveniently.' The ending was incredibly satisfying, leaving a smile on my face. Oh, I also always give props to books that make me tear up, and this one did a couple of times.
This book is listed as YA but it is definitely a mature YA, one that I think could be enjoyed by readers of mostly adult fiction. There are several trigger warnings to keep in mind- mainly violence, death, blood, and torture. If you're looking to expand your reading outside of western settings, this is definitely a must as it's unlike anything I have ever read. If you enjoy betrayal/revenge stories- this one is perfect for you. It would also be a great fit for readers who enjoy political machinations, uncovering the true history of the world, and action-packed scenes.

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dnf @58% 😭

Literally just ignore this review. This book is good, in fact it's a really good YA fantasy. I just think I've been struggling with YA fantasy recently. There is nothing wrong with this book, I just didn't feel the urge to continue (I may be in a bit of a slump).

Honestly, what I read I enjoyed! It's very action-packed and way more brutal than I was expecting, but I just couldn't get myself to pick it up and finish. This is 100% a me thing.

Okay, I'm embarrassed, please just pretend this entire review didn't happen and I gave this 4 stars like I should have. If you're looking for a new YA fantasy, definitely still consider this, as it did everything right, I'm just the wrong person at the moment.

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Thank you, NetGalley for the Arc!

When I began reading this India-inspired fantasy romance, I was instantly attracted to Katyani's character. For one, she's clever and the kingdom's best swords woman (which is fantastic in itself) but she's also hilarious and a strong feminine character. Her story was very well-rounded with likable characters, a great arc for her, a slow-burn romance that was realistic and full of humor, and plenty of twists that left me with my jaw dropped. My only criticism is I think there are parts that could have been trimmed to keep the pacing quicker, but that's my own preference. Anyone who is seeking a rich fantasy that delves into beautiful relationships, a strong heroine, and a beautiful culture, I would 10/10 recommend this one!

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To craft an entire fantastical world in just one book is always impressive, and I think that above all, Rati Mehotra has created an incredibly intriguing one in NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE with a healthy dose of slow burn romance, familial dynamics, and self discovery. I’ll admit, it was a little bit slow to grow on me, but once I was hooked, I was hooked. Mehotra manages to pack so much story into this book, I often found myself shocked that I had read less than I thought. But I think it manages to build itself into something interesting, never quite going where I expected and making me root for an m/f YA fantasy romance which is a feat in and of itself. If it interests you, I think that it’s worth the read.

The world of this book was fascinating, combining monsters and fantasy with political court intrigue and complicated family dynamics. There are so many threads woven together to create this story, and it was satisfying to see when those threads came together and made more of the story, though I think a few threads weren’t given quite as much weight as they could have been. It makes it all the more interesting.

Character-wise, I generally enjoyed the development and discovery throughout, especially with our main character, Katyani. A surety of self is dismantled and made into a more solid sense of self. I love character development and I enjoyed the development we saw with Katyani, the Acharya, and Daksh individually, although I sometimes wish I’d gotten more throughout, though it might be a personal preference.

When I first started this book, I thought the romance would be a lower point for me, but I have to admit I greatly enjoyed the way that Katyani and Daksh’s dynamic developed. There is a level of slow burn that is intentionally very well done and had me on the edge of my seat. I am rooting for their happily ever after and would happily read an epilogue of their adventures. YA fantasy, especially with romance, can be risky business, but I do think that this book was a success for me.

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Rati Mehrotra creates a beautiful world with great adventure but not-so-great characters.

Bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani’s role in the kingdom of Chandela has always been clear: becoming an advisor and protector of the crown prince, Ayan. But when a series of assassination attempts threaten the royals, Katyani, Ayan, and his cousin Bhairva are sent to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir to hone the skills needed to be the next leaders of the kingdom. Life here is hard but enjoyable except for Daksh, the Acharya’s son who annoys her because he makes her follow rules. Then tragedy strikes and Katya and Daksh must seek justice and revenge for those that they love

I am really tired of the “sassy” bitchy women trope. There's no problem with sass but Katya is straight-up rude and disrespectful. It took a while for her to grow on me. She develops more character during the book, displaying actual sass but also having honest emotions. I was rooting for her by the end.

It also contained one of the weirdest romances I ever read. I don't mean the two people, I mean how they go about it. There is flirting of both the sweet and cruel kind. One will leave flowers while one (the woman surprisingly) bullies the object of her affection. Then the guy pulls away and no one talks about anything other than the mission. It's the very end when they finally freaking acknowledge each other outside of that. I got tired of reading “does he love me, does he not”.

I did not get tired of the beautiful world. I loved reading about the traditions and death rights. The monsters were “fleshed out”, and I could see them in my mind's eyes. The author gave the world a variety of settings and painted a beautiful (or scary) picture. That's what sells this book: the scope of adventure and attention to details of the culture.

This was a hit-or-miss novel. There were components I hated but some things I really liked.

Publication Date: October 18

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

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I loved this book so much! It's so nice to get a good standalone adventure that wraps up in a satisfactory way but doesn't suffer from feeling too abrupt. I thought it was the perfect length and the pacing was excellent throughout. I connected very quickly with the characters and was consistently surprised by the plot twists.

One of my favorite things is reading fantasy books set in places other than "Medieval Europe" and learning about the customs, mythical creatures, food, clothing, etc and there is plenty of all of that in this book where the setting is an alternate medieval India.

The writing was beautiful and kept me fully engaged while I read and listened. There were many passages I took note of for their beauty.

I loved learning about all of the different monsters. I had limited knowledge of most of them and so I appreciated the descriptions of their physical forms and actions. It never felt info-dump-y though and was always relevant to the plot.

I especially loved how there were many descriptions of monsters and their monstrous ways and it managed to be bloody and occasionally horrific without being horror. I was never really scared by the monsters - only intrigued. Especially since there is an emphasis on the monsters' humanity even though they are not human. They're very different, but in many ways they aren't. In fact I would say that the most monstrous characters were humans.

I loved the slow-burn romance - there was just enough of it to make me root for them while not overpowering the rest of the story - the magic, the monsters, the politics, and Katyani's journey to knowing and finding herself were the main focus.

Katyani goes through many trials throughout the story as she learns who she is, who she was, and who she can become. Her journey of self-discovery is compelling and pulls the reader breathlessly along for the ride.

The audiobook narrator did an excellent job bringing the story and characters to life. She obviously knew how to pronounce all of the unfamiliar terms that I would have stumbled over, and that made it a richer experience.

Even though this is a standalone and does wrap up satisfactorily, it leaves room for future books exploring Katyani and Daksh's adventures. I hope the author does write such sequels, and will read them as soon as I can get my hands on them.

*Thanks to NetGalley, Wednesday Books, and Macmillan Audio for providing an e-arc and audio arc for review.

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I had really high expectations for Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove. In theory this should have been something I absolutely adored. I adored the writing style and the characters. I felt the development of the world and the magical system was confusing. There were times where I was unsure what was happening. I also did not feel the the book needed a romance subplot. Additionally, I felt the romance felt a little forced. This book is worth checking out and I am looking forward to the future works of Rati Mehrotra.

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This story is so epic and world building. I just want more of this story and these characters. I am just trying to avoid spoilers but just read this story if you like good books and wonderful tales.

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra is a young adult fantasy set against the backdrop of a reimagined medieval India. This story is rife with monsters, magic, and political intrigue and has similarities to An Ember in the Ashes and Raybearer. If those are stories that you have enjoyed, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

This book suffered from inconsistent pacing. The beginning was quite slow, and there were portions that would pick up but then taper back off, making the reading experience feel a bit disjointed. Similarly, some language felt incongruous with the world building, like the use of the word “stuff”, however this was minor and only occurred near the beginning of the story. Some elements of the story seemed extraneous. It felt like the author over complicated the plot for the sake of over complicating instead of having much real purpose. This ended up making a lot of things feel too convenient.

The slow burn romance was a stand-out element of this novel even though it wasn’t the main focus. I really enjoyed the banter between the love interests, of course I wish we could have seen more interactions between them toward the beginning as they were getting to know one another instead of skipping over that with a time jump.

At times, the narration felt a bit repetitive when expressing emotions and some cases of telling instead of showing. This story is written in the third person and I think we actually really would have benefited from a first person perspective. This would have allowed for the reader to develop more of a connection to our main character.

Overall, I really enjoyed the world and the romance of this story, however there were some structural decisions that inhibited my reading experience and made it more difficult to feel immersed in the characters and the action. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Indian-inspired fantasy worlds, political intrigue, and intricate magic systems.

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a beautiful and lyrical adventure. It follows Katyani, a bodyguard and advisor to the royal family. Her fate was bound to the queen through magic when she was only a baby…or so she has always been told. Assassination attempts in the palace force Katyani and the princes to journey to a gurukul, where they will be tested like never before. At the sanctuary, Katyani meets the aloof and mysterious Daksh. Soon, secrets will be revealed that shatter Katyani’s worldview forever and she will be forced to choose who and what she will stand for..

I absolutely loved this book! Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove swept me up into an adventurous tale with gorgeous writing. I especially loved Katyani and her determination to always keep fighting for her family and goals. Her budding romance with Daksh is both swoony and serious. While they find each other in dire circumstances, they can’t manage to keep their distance. The bond magic that Katyani deals with is unique and very well thought-out. Katyani's journey is compelling and filled with growth.

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove has it all- monsters, betrayal, sacrifice, heroics, and slow-burn romance. I would highly recommend this for readers who enjoy standalone fantasy, beautiful world-building, and a fierce heroine who will burn the world down to get back what was taken from her. Thank you to Rati Mehrotra, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The alt medieval India setting fascinated me and I loved it. Great writing, great characters, great monsters too! All in all, a good fantasy book.

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I honestly teetered between two and three stars for this book, but ultimately I landed on three because while I didn't love the book I did manage to finish the vast majority of it in a day so it did keep me oddly hooked at least.

I liked the overall writing style and the general worlding building, but I had an issue with the pacing. It felt like we went back and forth between nothing happening for a while and a sudden burst of action and revelation that occurred and was over too quickly.

Regarding our protagonist, I liked Katyani overall but loathed the insta-love/connection she felt toward Daksh. It was made worst by the fact that she kept saying ugh I don't know why I need this way blah blah blah. Like girl, I don't know why either. Because in the beginning, he was barely present and had little personality. I grew to like him a bit more later, but he kept running hot and cold all the time I was getting whiplash along with Katyani.

I saw most of the betrayals coming, but I was genuinely confused/surprised as to the reasons. And I can't quite decide if that was good or bad storytelling.

So for those who don't mind insta-love and many lulls throughout the story, this could work well for them. It was alright for me.

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This book was so fast-paced and quite the wild ride. I’ve realized that sometimes being thrown headlong into a YA Fantasy can make me a bit disoriented, but I’m not sure that’s the fault of this book. I overall enjoyed this story, especially the second half, which felt more cohesive to me than the second half, but there were moments when the story was a bit jumbled and messy, so this wasn’t a perfect read for me.

This story is set in a medieval India inspired setting, and you should know going in that there’s a lot of political intrigue and politics, as well as complicated family dynamics. Sometimes in YA versus Adult fantasy, those elements can be jarring, I’ve realized, but again, I think this book handles them well.

The character dynamics in this book are one of its strongest elements, as we really believe Katyani’s love for her adoptive family, and her love/hate relationship with Daksh.

I also felt that the second half of the story balanced out some of the surprising twists in the first half by fleshing out more of the motivation behind some twists and turns and giving deeper characterization, and the ending feels really earned.

I will say though, especially in the first half, the worldbuilding and plotting sometimes felt a bit messy (keeping in mind this is a debut!), and I never quite meshed with the language (the author frequently jumps into more modern language but it’s kind of mixed with a more antiquated style? This threw me off more than it should have probably, and I doubt a ton of people would be bothered by it.)

However, I think this was fun and fast and way more unique to me than many big YA fantasy releases getting attention this year.

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Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read in exchange for an honest review!

“Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.”

"Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove" was more heart-wrenching than I ever could have anticipated because the main character, Katyani, had a lot to overcome and secrets/deceptions to uncover in order for justice (and vengeance) to be served. It was a very good fantasy standalone.

I love the setting - “a monster-infested alternate medieval India”: from all the different, well thought out monsters whose depth influenced the plot in great ways to the magical aspects (always love magic) to the infusion of Indian culture and the societal commentary. This was a fascinating world to deep dive into.

Katyani (love her name) is loyal, clever, a force of nature, a fighter, and very outspoken. When all she thought she has ever known is turned upside-down in the most cruel and shocking of ways, Katyani does all she can to make things right. I felt so bad for her circumstances and fury on her behalf, seemingly a pawn in something monumental. There were times I wasn’t sure how she would succeed. But with each interaction she had with monsters you can see part of the why of it all. Katyani dares to be forthright, understanding, and willing to negotiate with monsters in ways others never would (or haven’t) in a long time, which sets her apart in the eyes of humans and monsters alike. She is an agent of change.

The romance was okay at first but I did like it in the end. It felt kind of rushed. Through all Katyani endures, there wasn’t much time, I feel, to truly develop anything deep or meaningful. Her and the love interest are certainly attracted to each other and I think they do see something in the other worthy of love. They had some nice, sweet, and funny moments between themselves that I think with more time will definitely grow into everlasting love. I feel like there’s still more to learn about them both.

There’s a lot to like about this story. Given the state of things at the end, I do see potential sequel material, but I am very satisfied with this as a standalone novel. I enjoyed reading "Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove." It was the perfect read for the fall season.

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I really enjoyed this read! It's such an inventive fantasy. I absolutely love the medieval India setting, the various monsters (both fascinating and creepy), all of the political intrigue, and the slow-burn romance. There were some twists that I truly didn't see coming. One scene was so shocking that I couldn't put the book down and just had to read the next chapter! Fans of action-packed, gripping YA like An Ember in the Ashes should pick this one up. A truly refreshing YA fantasy.

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***ARC received from Wednesday Books and NetGalley in exchange for honest review, opinions are all my own. Thank you!***

Do you like court intrigue? Secrets, lies, betrayals intermixed with monsters that aren’t what they appear and magic? A slow burn romance with a feisty heroine and duty bound hero? Because I certainly do and Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove delivered on everything I could have hoped for and than some.

Katyani is an adoptive member of the royal family, saved by the Queen as a young child who seems her primary responsibility to protect and pay back the woman that saved her life. Katyani is a great lead heroine, shes incredibly loyal, calls into question thinks she doesn’t agree with yet is willing to listen to their wisdom and is most willing to acknowledge her own faults even if she isn’t always quick to correct them. There is a lot that happens that would give reason for her to test her loyality and despite it all she holds true to who she is. She just wants to protect the people that she loves even when she is betrayed as the truth slowly comes out and she must question everything about her life is called into question. It made her character arc that much more enjoyable as while she grows she is still who she is. Daksh is such a sweet male lead, he’s not brooding or cruel, he clearly likes Katyani from the beginning and she loves to tease him which makes their back and forth sweet and funny. They play well off each other.

The romance between Katyani and Daksh is the definition of a slow burn, they dance around each other and their feelings for the entire book. It may be a bit frustrating watching two characters that clearly adore each other find every reason to be apart but it true to who they are as characters. Katyani and Daksh both has responsibilities that they are dedicated to and how they come to a resolution on their romance and responsibilities fits who they both are and I loved it. Anything other than how they got to the point wouldn’t have fit with the story that was being told.

The court intrigue is really interesting and a great part of the book because you aren’t going to get all the answers. Yes it a little frustrating to see that aren’t going to get all the answers to Katyani’s past and that is okay because ultimately you can figure it out on your own. Power plays and holding people as pawns fits perfectly into the intrigue and it isn’t always a simply answer. I appreciate that the author doesn’t shy away from not just laying it all out, leaving a little bit of mystery for the reader to piece together with the clues from the story.

The writing is really nice, I loved the ancient setting and the mythology woven throughout the story. The different monsters all have their own unique treats and are more than just face value they are given their own complex stories and unique traits which just adds more depth to an already wonderful story.

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