Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
October 18, 2022
ISBN
978-1250823687
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In Rati Mehrotra's YA fantasy novel 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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
fast-paced YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE is a YA fantasy that takes the reader to a world of intrigue and monsters. Katyani has become head of the guardsman in the kingdom of Chandela, a position that she has been training to fill for the entirety of her life, ever since the Queen saved her life when she was 3 years old by creating a soulbond between them. This kind of magic is generally seen as corrupt, but Katyani loves the royals that have become her family and has heard the story of how it saved her life many times.

Katyani will continue to protect the heir, Ayan, and towards this aim, the Queen is sending Ayan, his cousin Bhairav, and Katyani to train at the gurukul of Acharya Mahavir, a famed neutral party between the kingdoms who helps to control the many deadly monsters who live around the kingdoms. Their journey to the gurukul is anything but simple, and the questions asked of Katyani will set her on a new path, one that becomes solely her own.

What I loved: Katyani is a compelling character, and her journey of self-discovery and self-determination is what drives the story. She has grown up believing one thing about the world, and she soon learns that it can be much darker and crueler than she ever could have expected - but with glimmers of good between it all. This journey will resonate with YA readers who are also beginning to question who they are and what they know of those around them. Between it all, Katyani also feels like a girl who makes mistakes, jokes when she shouldn't, and can't always seem to get it just right. She is someone that the reader can empathize with, even while living in this fantastical world.

There are some thought-provoking themes around the power of promises, connection, family/found family, lies and deprogramming, ethics, politics, and betrayal. Katyani's journey remains central to the story, but it is one filled with the errors of those around her, as well as the ways in which they have used and abused her.

What left me wanting more: The book spans a wide range of time with some smashcuts that leave the reader reeling. There are not smooth transitions to leaps in time, and some points in time are told with a seemingly random series of events, almost as if being dumped after the fact. This is particularly true of the time when they were training in the gurukul, when important bonds were formed, but due to the method of telling, it is hard to fully grasp and appreciate these bonds. It was a bit jarring to have these sudden transitions without them being clearly marked, and it would have been helpful to divide the book into longer parts or give guideposts to the reader. The story did get smoother later on, but the beginning felt disorienting in places with the vignettes told in succession over time.

The world-building also felt surprising in places as they are suddenly thrust upon the reader, particularly with regards to the other kingdoms and their politics as well as the monsters. Descriptions of the monsters were slow to come and limited in scope, so that the brunt of the interaction could feel confusing at times. The magic also felt thrown into the story in places, without context on the training in the use of it or how it works. The sudden use could feel shocking and confusing, as it is brought in somewhat randomly, particularly later in the story.

The relationship between Katyani and Daksh ended up being quite the driving force, but the foundation was a bit glossed over without the reader also being led through the way it developed (it was particularly subject to the smashcuts through time). It would have really helped to have gone more in-depth in these scenes into the feelings and connection that was shared/built early on so that the reader could be right there with them in later scenes. In some ways, the plot felt like it was drafted but not yet filled out into the full book.

Final verdict: Overall, NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE is a YA fantasy that encompasses a young girl's journey to self-determination and discovery. While it could have used some additional context and flow, this was an action-packed read that will work for readers who appreciate the surface level of world-building and romance.
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fast-paced YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE is a YA fantasy that takes the reader to a world of intrigue and monsters. Katyani has become head of the guardsman in the kingdom of Chandela, a position that she has been training to fill for the entirety of her life, ever since the Queen saved her life when she was 3 years old by creating a soulbond between them. This kind of magic is generally seen as corrupt, but Katyani loves the royals that have become her family and has heard the story of how it saved her life many times.

Katyani will continue to protect the heir, Ayan, and towards this aim, the Queen is sending Ayan, his cousin Bhairav, and Katyani to train at the gurukul of Acharya Mahavir, a famed neutral party between the kingdoms who helps to control the many deadly monsters who live around the kingdoms. Their journey to the gurukul is anything but simple, and the questions asked of Katyani will set her on a new path, one that becomes solely her own.

What I loved: Katyani is a compelling character, and her journey of self-discovery and self-determination is what drives the story. She has grown up believing one thing about the world, and she soon learns that it can be much darker and crueler than she ever could have expected - but with glimmers of good between it all. This journey will resonate with YA readers who are also beginning to question who they are and what they know of those around them. Between it all, Katyani also feels like a girl who makes mistakes, jokes when she shouldn't, and can't always seem to get it just right. She is someone that the reader can empathize with, even while living in this fantastical world.

There are some thought-provoking themes around the power of promises, connection, family/found family, lies and deprogramming, ethics, politics, and betrayal. Katyani's journey remains central to the story, but it is one filled with the errors of those around her, as well as the ways in which they have used and abused her.

What left me wanting more: The book spans a wide range of time with some smashcuts that leave the reader reeling. There are not smooth transitions to leaps in time, and some points in time are told with a seemingly random series of events, almost as if being dumped after the fact. This is particularly true of the time when they were training in the gurukul, when important bonds were formed, but due to the method of telling, it is hard to fully grasp and appreciate these bonds. It was a bit jarring to have these sudden transitions without them being clearly marked, and it would have been helpful to divide the book into longer parts or give guideposts to the reader. The story did get smoother later on, but the beginning felt disorienting in places with the vignettes told in succession over time.

The world-building also felt surprising in places as they are suddenly thrust upon the reader, particularly with regards to the other kingdoms and their politics as well as the monsters. Descriptions of the monsters were slow to come and limited in scope, so that the brunt of the interaction could feel confusing at times. The magic also felt thrown into the story in places, without context on the training in the use of it or how it works. The sudden use could feel shocking and confusing, as it is brought in somewhat randomly, particularly later in the story.

The relationship between Katyani and Daksh ended up being quite the driving force, but the foundation was a bit glossed over without the reader also being led through the way it developed (it was particularly subject to the smashcuts through time). It would have really helped to have gone more in-depth in these scenes into the feelings and connection that was shared/built early on so that the reader could be right there with them in later scenes. In some ways, the plot felt like it was drafted but not yet filled out into the full book.

Final verdict: Overall, NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE is a YA fantasy that encompasses a young girl's journey to self-determination and discovery. While it could have used some additional context and flow, this was an action-packed read that will work for readers who appreciate the surface level of world-building and romance.
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5.0
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5.0(1)
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5.0(1)
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jasika
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