Author: Rati Mehrotra
Narrator: Zehra Naqvi
Audiobook Length: 14 hours 12 minutes
To learn what she can become, she must first discover who she is.
Katyani’s role in the kingdom of Chandela has always been clear: becoming an advisor and protector of the crown prince, Ayan, when he ascends to the throne. Bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has grown up in the royal family and become the best guardswoman the Garuda has ever seen. But when a series of assassination attempts threatens the royals, Katyani is shipped off to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir as an escort to Ayan and his cousin, Bhairav, to protect them as they hone the skills needed to be the next leaders of the kingdom. 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, 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 by monsters, Katyani must find answers from her past to save all she loves and forge her own destiny. Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.
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Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove that combines Indian mythology with a story featuring action, political intrigue, romance, and more. The pacing of this story was difficult to judge. Currently, this novel is a standalone, so I feel the pacing was a little slow, especially at the beginning; however, if this is the first novel in the series, then this novel is “on track” with the pacing as typically the first novel is slower to lay the groundwork for the sequel. The ending itself does wrap-up enough to hold up as a great standalone, but there is room for a sequel if the author decides to release one.
The main protagonist is 18-year-old Katyani, who is an orphan that is magically bound to the queen of Chandela who adopted her, and she now serves as the royal guard. Katyani’s story opens with an introduction to her loyalty to her new family and how she wants to protect them at all costs. After a series of assassination attempts, princes Ayan and Bhairav are accompanied by Katyani to the school (gurukul) of famous Acharya Mahavir to learn some new skills. Here the love interest, Daksh, and his family are introduced. While the two share some flirty banter and a nice connection, their romance does not have a lot of focus. Their relationship is a slow burn, but it is mainly in the background, so I had a difficult time connecting to it.
With the war against the rival kingdom of Paramara, there are some interesting twists and turns that help move the story along. The actual set-up had some potential to stand apart from others of the same genre, so I was disappointed when the author followed those while I thought her writing had potential for more. I still love the “usual” plotlines, but I also love when there is something completely unexpected in the story. The magic system with “spiritual power” was very interesting but did feel a little underdeveloped at times. The characters themselves were all interesting and they were well-written. I could have used a little more depth for some of them, but they did all work well in the story. For me, the pacing would have helped this as I felt the reader spends too much time in some sections and not enough in others, so a little more balance would allow for better exploration of the characters. Overall, this is my first novel by the author, and I enjoyed enough elements where I greatly look forward to reading more from her in the future.