4 / 5 stars
Read in September 2020
Book #2 in The Raven and the Dove series
Happy release day to The Hunter and the Mage!!! I absolutely loved The Raven and the Dove, so this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. It did not disappoint!
This story starts off right where The Raven and Dove finished, with Lyana, Rafe, Xander, and Cassi navigating the new circumstances in which they each find themselves. The confusion, heartbreak, and pain from the events of book one are still there, mixed with the anticipation of what’s to come and questions on how the characters will find their way back to one another. Like book one, their chapters alternate among them in 3rd person POV, with two new POVs added for a total of six. These two additional POVs, while delightful to read, only have a few chapters between them, so I wouldn’t consider them main characters like our four original protagonists.
Surprisingly, as I read the first third or so of this book I was convinced I would ultimately give it three stars. Fellow reviewers can probably understand what I mean by that gut feeling you get early on in a book, and in my case it usually ends up being true. Still, that doesn’t mean I never leave room for a book to prove my intuition wrong, and in this case it absolutely did!
If anything, so far this series has proved that author Kaitlyn Davis is a master of character arcs and knows exactly how to make external and internal conflict come together in a satisfying and meaningful way. Not only does the action make for a thrilling story, but it also provides the strongest circumstances to push our protagonists to examine what they believe and stand for. Seeing where The Hunter and the Mage leaves the characters and thinking back to who they each were at the beginning of book one, I feel genuinely proud of Lyana, Rafe, Xander, and Cassi. They each have faced their demons and emerged from strife and tragedy as stronger people on the path to becoming who they’re meant to be, working to accept their scars, mistakes, and flaws as integral parts of their stories. They all still have room to grow, but I anticipate Davis will continue to flawlessly build these arcs in books three and four.
The first half of this book was a bit slow and took me longer to get through, as it felt like a lot of setup for the characters to adjust to their new circumstances. Around the 40-50% mark it really starts picking up, and one night where I thought I’d read for maybe an hour or so turned into an hours-long session that went well past midnight. I doubt you’ll be able to put the book down until you’ve gotten through the final page!
Along with the slow start, I chose to dock this book one star because the characters’ senses of deduction were often so spot-on it came off as unrealistic. Multiple times, a character would discover one piece of information that would be enough for them to put together complicated pieces of the plot to which they had previously been oblivious. In minutes, they would understand exactly what had happened or what someone intended to do, all within a couple paragraphs of internal monologue. I think Davis’ intention was to keep the plot moving without info dumps or each character having to put together clues bit by bit, especially because the reader is already privy to those details, but sometimes it seemed too convenient and therefore unbelievable.
Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. Along with her amazing character work, Davis continues the excellent worldbuilding we saw in book one while heightening the stakes and introducing new discoveries and unexpected twists for book two. Now, I cannot wait to see how the sky isles and the kingdom beneath the mist continue to collide (no pun intended) in book three!
Thank you to author Kaitlyn Davis for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Book 1: The Raven and the Dove review