Tuesday ARC Review: The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

let's go summer!Title: The Raven and the Dove

Author: Kaitlyn Davis

Anticipated pub date: March 9, 2020

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


*Note: I received a free copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong…

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart…

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

My Review:

This book was amazing and yet a bit frustrating at the same time. A fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde, the book showcases an intricate bird/human hybrid culture, a prophecy, and a forbidden romance between two characters.

Some of the pros of this book in my opinion and strong pros at that were the world-building and the beautifully described scenes. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book was the opening day of the mating rituals when all the different bird clans entered the castle with their own dances and traditions. I love reading books where the author creates such a detailed otherworld that you feel like you’ve entered a dream, and Davis does this with such finesse. Another pro is how the plot keeps you guessing. We get pieces of information here and there but it isn’t until the end of the book that things start to make sense, and even then we don’t get the whole picture.

Now for the cons, which aren’t huge but I do feel like the book would have been absolutely phenomenal if I didn’t have these hang-ups. For one, the book is really slow-paced, which I would expect at the beginning for world-building purposes, but honestly, the book stays slow until the last handful of chapters. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it, but I sure got pretty close a few times in the middle. Also, I was frustrated by the romance. There was a lot of useless pining and guilty feelings, and in the end, I wasn’t really a fan of the two main characters. Seriously, Xander deserves better. I’m a fan of problematic characters but I need to see their struggles vividly, and I just didn’t get that here. It just felt like a sad kind of struggle.

Overall, it’s a solid book and I’m really interested to see what happens next. It’s just one of those books that doesn’t feel like a smooth ride, you have to power through to get to the great stuff.
By the way, the author is hosting a pre-order giveaway for this book. Everyone who preorders an ebook will get an exclusive double-sided art print. Everyone who orders a print edition will get the double-sided print, plus a bookmark and a signed bookplate to attach to their copy! More details about the pre-order can be found here: www.kaitlyndavisbooks.com/p/pre-order-giveaway.html.


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