Thank you to Netgalley and the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.
Overall: 4.5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: The Raven and the Dove is full of loyalty, love, and betrayal. With a complex and fascinating world, this book will transport you into a classic tale of forbidden love and lies that just might tear your heart out. You’ve been warned.
“How fragile unbreakable bonds can be.”
[ Related: Interview with Kaitlyn Davis, Author of The Raven and The Dove! ]
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, War Themes, Mental Illness, PTSD, Kidnapping/Abduction //
Release Date: 3/9/2020
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Page Count: 506
The Raven and the Dove is a retelling of Tristan and Isolde, which is an amazing folk tale and honestly deserves way more retellings than it has. Thank God for Kaitlyn Davis, giving this story the recognition it deserves.
This book takes place in a fantasy world, where there are those who live on floating islands above the mist covering their planet and those who live below. Princess Lyana Aethionus lives above, the Dove princess of the House of Peace. On the dawn of her courtship trials, she saves a Raven, who she believes to be the prince of the House of Whispers.
Rafe is the bastard son of the dead Raven king. When his brother, Prince Xander, asks him to take his place in the courtship trials and bring back a mate for him deserving of their kingdom, he agrees. However, after an incident with a dragon, he is saved by a dove who has the same illegal magic as him. When the courtship trials begin, he must fight to prioritize his kingdom and his family over his heart.
Meanwhile, below, a king is desperate to save his people, no matter what the cost.
“Everyone has secrets.”
I didn’t know how to properly summarize this book, because there is quite a bit going on here, and every bit of it is important. This book reads like a proper epic, with interwoven plots and various character’s motivations competing, but ultimately leading to an astounding climax. Be prepared- this ending might kill you. Or, at least, have you dying to get your hands on the sequel. I’ll admit, while I liked the beginning, it was slower and was heavily focused on character dynamics and relationships that didn’t quite captivate me as much as I would like. But boy does that change. The second the courtship trials ended, the plot was in motion and I was swept away. There’s action, betrayal, forbidden romance, and fascinating revelations. I couldn’t put it down!
“This will not defeat you. It will not define you.”
Cool that quote made cry so thanks for that
Writing & Setting
Can I talk about this world for a second? Because I’m in love. Seriously. Kaitlyn Davis has crafted a unique world that feels both complex yet understandable. There is a lot put into this world- from the seven different houses, all paired with a bird and their own different attributes, to the interesting magic system that I really want to learn more about- but the information never feels overwhelming. That said, it can feel a bit exposition-heavy in the beginning, but it’s crucial to understanding the plot moving forward. The writing itself is great- it’s easy to jump into while also balancing the lightness of the romance aspects and the darkness of the more brutal fantasy aspects.
“Leave your worries to your waking hours, Kasiandra. They will always be there, waiting. Dreams, especially your dreams, are made for so much more.”
So, these characters took me a minute to warm up to but I’m glad to say that I would die for them. Two of them especially. Lyana is our main female protagonist, and she probably took me the longest to come around to. At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t really a fan. She’s a little naive at times, immature and kinda spoiled, but ultimately she’s strong, dedicated, and caring, which are all character traits I can get behind. She was written well, but in the beginning, her personality just wasn’t my favorite. However, she grew a lot in this book, and she ended up becoming a character I did enjoy, and I really look forward to where she goes in the next book. Rafe is our male protagonist, and he also took a second to warm up to, but not quite as long as Lyana. He was a pretty run of the mill love interest, but what I found really admirable was his loyalty to his brother and his people. It’s what made his character stand out to me, and something I think will make him stand out in line up with other male protagonists. By the end of the book, these two characters really cemented themselves as strong protagonists. As for their relationship- it’s definitely a little insta-lovey, but given what it’s a retelling of, it makes a lot of sense. And, while they start to fall for each other a little fast, there is some explanation as to why that makes is slightly more believable.
And then there’s Xander and Cassi. Oh my god, I loved them so much. Xander is Rafe’s brother and he is too good for this world. I get why Rafe would do anything for him- I would too. I could go on for hours about how much I love him. He’s a bookworm, who wants to help his people and those he loves, and he is just Too Precious. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t call Cassi precious, but boy is her story great. She’s torn between worlds and lives and caught up in a love that definitely isn’t good for her. Her growth throughout this book is iconic, and while she doesn’t always make the best decisions, they’re so thoroughly grounded in her character that I can completely see why she makes them. I really can’t wait to see what happens with her in book two!!
Pros- Cassi and Xander are amazing, absolutely stunning world
Cons- It may take a minute to warm up to our two main protagonists (but don’t worry, you will!)
Overall- 4.5/5 stars.
The Raven and the Dove has me hooked. This book is a fantastic first installment in a series I can’t wait to read more of!
If You Liked The Raven and the Dove, I’d Recommend:
- A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas [ Review ]
- Of Fire and Stars (Of Fire and Stars #1) by Audrey Coulthurst
What is your favorite fairy tale retelling?