Title: The Raven and The Dove
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Retelling
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Told in a multiple third-person point-of-view, The Raven and The Dove is an intriguing tale of love, betrayal, and destiny. Following four characters, we witness this spectacular avian-inspired world unfurl through the eyes of a privileged yet caged Princess, an ambitious Prince, a scorned bastard, and the mysterious best friend.
The Raven and The Dove takes place in a floating kingdom far up in the open sky. The Royal Houses rule the isles with each house representing a different bird with different gods and culture. The story begins with the introduction of the courtship trials. The courtship trials is a significant event where the princess and princes of each House must win a partner.
At the dawn of the courtship trials, where the princess or prince must secure a… mate, we follow Lyana, the dove princess from the House of Peace. Upon discovering a shared secret, she then chooses the most unexpected person as her partner—the raven prince of House of Whispers. However, as secrets begin to unfurl, forbidden magic starts to manifest, and prophecies take place, there is so much more to come.
The writing was clear and easy to follow. I liked how the author vividly describes the characters. Also, the diversity of the birds and their wings was such a nice touch. Whilst I enjoyed the writing, the story progression felt disjointed at times despite it being action-packed. I’m thinking this was more on my part and my two brain cells working overtime, trying to separate ‘Taetenos’ from ‘tetanus’, but I felt some parts of the story was too convoluted. There was so much going on whilst simultaneously, not. I don’t know how to articulate it, but it’s like the reader got bogged down with certain details whilst things were happening quickly. (again, I just think it’s got to do with me and lack of investment in the romance).
I’ve read other reviews state that they felt funny with the continual use of the word ‘mate’. I agree to an extent, but also as an Australian, I had a different voice in my head whenever I read that word. And because of that, it felt jarring. (I’ve never read a book with the use of ‘mate’ lol so this was new).
The world-building was interesting and unique. With winged people inhabiting the isles and a landscape of floating isles, this was a different and refreshing concept. And can we just take a moment and appreciate the floating kingdom? The floating isles in the sky was a truly magical concept. I liked how each bird represented different houses and possessed different culture and specialties. Reading about each House was fun and I hope we’ll explore more on that in the later novels.
Lyana, the Dove Princess is one of the four POVs. I liked Lyana’s vivaciousness and optimism. Albeit naive and privileged at times, she was fun to follow. However, I can see how she can come across as selfish and therefore unlikeable but I enjoyed her narration and her adventure-seeking attitude.
Cassi, the best friend. One would easily assume she’s the typical ‘mum friend’, but she is a character in her own right. Her chapters were the most interesting and whilst I’m not going to say she’s my favourite, I’m very curious to see what will happen!
Rafe, the shunned bastard was intriguing to follow. He’s the character with the tortured past and trying to do the thing right despite not really doing anything wrong other than being born a bastard. Stubborn, loyal, but genuine. He’s a character you can’t help but cheer for.
The Raven Prince Xander was interesting to read. He’s an earnest soul trying to be the best prince for his people and be good to all those around him. He isn’t perfect, and he may lack courage at first, however, he had good intentions and tried to do things right.
My favourite thing about the characters were their bonds, particularly the brothers. Despite having the perfect opportunity to blame and hate each other due to their circumstances, the two set aside their differences and remain loyal to each other. And yes, of the characters, my favourites were Xander and Rafe. Who can’t help but love the tortured soul? And who can’t help but feel for Xander? I felt he was so underappreciated!
With each POV we get glimpses of the characters, uncovering their aspirations and motives. Whilst some character motives are more known than others, each POV is engaging and quite intriguing. I am really interested to see how everything will all pan out.
The romance felt quick and quite insta-lovey but I enjoyed the star-crossed lover trope aspect. Although, it didn’t feel like the romance was reasonable. There was nothing other than a shared moment between the two characters that deepened their bond or propelled them to be together. Having commonality is good (both wielding magic), however, there was no deeper conversation or actions that grounded their relationship or strengthened their bond. Other than Lyana and her googly eyes at Rafe and Rafe trying to ignore her, what was there? And whilst we can understand the pining and tension at times, we don’t see any chemistry with their limited interaction. Therefore, the romance felt more like infatuation or lust rather than love. And that is such a shame because I could’ve really rooted for the two. As a result, I couldn’t invest that much into the romance. Especially towards the end. I suppose, it adds more drama and twists…
Overall, this was an interesting read. With a fascinating world filled with hidden magic, secrets and betrayals, The Raven and The Dove is a solid YA Fantasy book. If you’re a fan of YA Fantasy, a sucker for star-crossed lovers, forbidden romance, and a mix of intrigue and heartache, this may be for you!
Thank you to NetGalley and to the Kaitlyn Davis for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
highlight for spoiler: cheating, mild violence and blood