Just when I thought standalone YA fantasy would be the end of me, this book came along to renew all my hope in the genre! It’s a Halloween miracle*!
*and no, this book has nothing to do with Halloween LOL
A huge thank you to the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review!
TL;DR: A girl who is the bodyguard to the royal princes must navigate the fallout of betrayal, secrets, and monsters. Age Rating: 14 and up.
Night Of The Raven, Dawn Of The Dove is quite honestly one of the best fantasy standalones I’ve ever read. It has some of the richest worldbuilding, the most fleshed-out characters, and the most heightened intrigue I’ve seen in a while. If you all like a slowburn romance, political intrigue, monsters and monster-slaying, all with a dash of Indian mythology, then pick this up! You won’t regret it!
This story follows a girl named Katyani who is the royal bodyguard to the crown prince and his cousin. She is bonded to the queen of Chandela, but was essentially adopted into the royal family when she was orphaned as a child. When she accompanies the princes to a monastic school headed by the famous Acharaya, she begins to learn the truth about her past, all while struggling with new feelings for the son of the Archarya.
THIS BOOK. WHAT IS THIS BOOK.
It has the brutality that made An Ember In The Ashes so high-stakes, while still having the humor and banter of something like Six of Crows or The Raven Boys. This very much follows the Three-Act format, and it wasn’t until the ending of the first act that I got truly hit with how complex this book is. Like, up until the point something very shocking happens, it’s mostly a “magic school but not” sort of vibe with a ton of excellent banter.
And then my jaw dropped.
And it just kept dropping??? Because to give a proper synopsis that encapsulates the caliber of this story is to spoil some of its greatness.
Katyani is an amazing female character. She’s kind, smart, and cunning. Honestly, after reading These Hollow Vows, I appreciated how she wasn’t just another “not like the other girls” character. She stands strong on her own without the author going out of her way to make it obvious. And her romance/relationship with Daksh was SO slowburn. It was actually nice for once to have a YA fantasy focus more on the plot than the romance??? Like, it did wonders for the worldbuilding and the plot. Who knew*???
*that’s sarcasm btw. i think we all know that unnecessary romance ruins half of otherwise good YA fantasies
I really cannot recommend this book enough in terms of worldbuilding. This story comes alive through the descriptions of the various monsters and creatures from Indian mythology. I could easily picture the palace, the jungle, and the river. And the various politics enriched every action in this book. Like, I could physically feel the emotional, political, and lasting consequences. This just is so well-written.
I guess I’m not giving this the full 5 stars because I’m picky and didn’t get the 5 star poke from my brain? But this does get 4.25 stars so that’s still insanely good! Overall, Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is one of the most well-thought-out fantasy books I’ve ever read. This comes out on October 18th (aka tomorrow!) so be sure to order a copy, add it to Goodreads and add it to Storygraph! Tell me: what’s one of your favorite books featuring Indian mythology?
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