Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance  

Publishing Info: September 2019, kindle edition, Harper Teen

Pages: 518

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I have heard so much about this book that I just had to read it. I was curious why it was being raved about so much. At first when I started reading, I wasn’t sure about it. I thought I might find Lou annoying, but the characters and story grew on me. Shelby Mahurin really pulled me into their story and I ended up being hooked. It was an addictive read and even though I only recently finished it, I know I’m going to want to read this book again.  

Enemies to lovers romance seems really popular right now. I hope we’re not going to get flooded with these types of stories like we did love triangles years back. The romance was gradual and not forced in anyway, their growing chemistry was written really well. I can see why enemies to lovers romance is appealing to readers, and I did enjoy the romance in this story, even though I don’t usually enjoy romance-focused stories as much as plot/action focused ones.

Lou and Reid really grew on me and I loved seeing how they changed over the course of the book. The supporting characters were great too, especially Ansel and Coco. Although Beau felt a bit randomly thrown into the group at the end and I wanted to know more about him and why he didn’t seem fazed by the magic. Maybe he’s just a rebellious prince. But I hope we know a bit more about him in the next book so his presence doesn’t seem so random.

I would personally have liked more description in places, particularly of the settings. This book is very light on description for fantasy. I found it hard to visualise the world at times because there wasn’t enough description. The characters were described well, but some of the settings weren’t described much so I couldn’t really picture where they were or get a sense of the place. The author could have used setting to create more atmosphere in places. But saying that in some ways it was a relief not to have to wade through paragraphs of description that you sometimes get in fantasy. I would have just liked a little bit more.  

I like the idea of magic having a price and how the Dame Blanches use patterns to do their magic. In order to use magic, they have to follow the patterns and sacrifice something in return. That was a really interesting concept. Lou couldn’t just throw magic around, she had to work out the patterns in order to use it, which made the magic system more complex and intriguing. It also made it more difficult for Lou to use her magic to get out of tricky situations which added more suspense. 

Overall I loved this book and I can see why there’s a lot of hype for it. It kept me hooked all the way through with great world building and characters. The sequel, Blood and Honey, comes out later this year and I will definitely be reading it. 

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