Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
- Author: Rati Mehrotra
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: October 18, 2022
- Publisher: Wednesday Books
Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: violence, blood, gore, murder
Bound to the queen of Chandela through a forbidden magic that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has trained all her life to become the best guardswoman and adviser to the crown prince when he ascends the throne. But when a series of assassination attempts threatens the royals, Katyani is sent to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir to protect the future heirs of Chandela.
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, whose gaze makes her feel like he can see into her soul.
But when tragedy strikes, Katyani is torn from the only life she has ever known. Alone and betrayed in a land infested with monsters, Katyani must discover who she is so she can save what she loves and forge her own destiny.
Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.
This is a fantastic example of a standalone YA fantasy, and it incorporated some of my favorite elements and tropes and did them all so beautifully. It takes place in a fantasy version of medieval India, and incorporates traditional elements of Indian mythology and culture with some other fantasy elements seamlessly.
The beginning of the book started off kind of slowly, allowing me to get used to not only the author’s writing style, but also the world-building. Without any info dumps, we get to know not just the world, but the political intrigue that is going on, and the various factors at play in Katyani’s life, including her adoptive family. Everything is so vividly depicted that it felt as though I was right there with the characters, experiencing everything through there eyes. It was incredibly easy to picture what was being described.
Right from the start, Katyani is likable. She’s tough, determined, focused, and even a bit rash. However, this allows her plenty of room to grow throughout the book. And she didn’t let me down. She demonstrates so much growth over the course of the story, changing dramatically as we progress through the book. It felt completely natural, as she goes through a lot, experiencing significant events and emotions that alter her outlook.
There’s a lot of action and dramatic plot twists during the story. The author’s use of Indian folklore through adding monsters to the story made it intriguing, and the pace picked up relatively quickly as I got further into the story. Towards the end, I couldn’t put the book down, even staying up way later than intended to finish it, because there was no way that I’d have been able to sleep wondering how it was going to end.
I loved the way that a strong female character took on a traditionally male role, serving as a guard and a warrior. If there was one complaint I had, it would have been that the slow-burn romance in the story was too much of a slow-burn and I would have liked to see more of it. Instead of actually catching fire, it just kind of started to catch by the end, and left us hanging, instead of coming through on the promise that was teased throughout much of the book. Other than that, this was a fantastic read!
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 10
Categories: Book Review
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