Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove follows Katyani, a bodyguard who has had a forbidden soul bond with the Queen of Chandela since she was a child. Along with the two princes of Chandela, Kayani is ordered to travel to a monastic school—the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir—in the middle of a forest that’s crawling with monsters. It’s both at the school and her return home that leave Katyani reckoning with everything she’s ever known.
Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is an upper YA fantasy inspired by medieval India. I enjoyed the setting, especially the monster-ridden forest (since, as you all know, I’m a sucker for a creepy forest). The story has political intrigue, a slow-burn romance, and plenty of monster hunting.
I especially liked Mehrotra’s writing style and the humor she sprinkles into the story. I found Katyani to be an enjoyable main character; she’s definitely the female version of a himbo, but had a great character arc. There are a lot of layers and reveals in this adventure story that kept me wanting to keep reading.
Some of the characters, especially Daksh, Acharya Mahavir’s son, could have been a lot more fleshed out. Daksh and Katyani’s relationship also felt too underdeveloped considering it takes up a decent chunk of the story. Some character motivations seemed a little too easy, as well, which made me hesitant to give this book a full 5-star rating. However, I really enjoyed this story and definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an action-packed, adventurous story with Indian mythology.
Anna: Thank you to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy of this lovely book! His Only Wife is a smart simply written and beautiful story about a modern woman finding her voice under complicated circumstances.
When Afi’s family arranges a marriage for her with one of the richest and sought after men in Ghana, she is excited and nervous. She finds it a bit strange that her new husband, Eli, doesn’t come to the wedding, but she’s told not to worry about it. From there, Afi moves from her small village, where she shared a tiny room with her mother, into a fancy apartment in the city. Weeks pass, and she’s yet to meet her husband. Slowly, Afi learns more about her husband and the other woman he is hiding. As she becomes accustomed to her new luxurious life, she also becomes obsessed with securing her position as Eli’s only wife.
I loved the simple and straightforward way this is written. There are complicated relationships between the characters, made even more dynamic by cultural expectations and traditions. When she first marries Eil, Afi is completely subservient to society’s expectations and worries about her cooking, cleaning, and pleasing her husband. But as the story goes on, she starts to question everything she knows about being a woman.
Spoiler: The only complaint I have is that everything regarding Afi’s career as a seamstress comes very easy for her, almost too easy for here. There are no obstacles in the plot in regards to her career, and by the end of the novel she has become a renowned designer in a matter of months. Unrealistic? I think so.
Otherwise, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Ghana, and I enjoyed the rich descriptions of the customs, culture, and the food. I look forward to reading more by Peace Adzo Medie in the future!
VERDICT: 4/5 books!