Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publishing Info: September 2020, Harper Teen
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.
Serpent & Dove was a surprise read for me last year. There was so much hype around it that I was curious to read it and ended up loving it more than I expected. The sequel, Blood & Honey, has not been received quite so well, so I was a little cautious going into reading it as I didn’t want to set my expectations too high and be disappointed.
It took me a while to orientate myself at the beginning of the book, and I had to search for a recap online in the end because there were some important points from the end of Serpent & Dove which I just couldn’t remember. So I would definitely recommend rereading Serpent & Dove or looking for a recap if it’s been a while since you read the first book.
A comment I’ve seen in a lot of reviews was that people didn’t like how Lou and Reid were at odds a lot in this book. But it seemed like a natural progression in their relationship to me. Reid spends most of Serpent & Dove not knowing Lou is a witch, so in Blood & Honey, he really has to confront that, as hatred of witches has been so ingrained into him because of his role as a Chasseur, and it inevitably leads to conflict between them. The nature of the enemies to lovers romance in this series means there are two characters who stand on opposite sides of a conflict that runs deep – witches and the Chasseurs who hunt them. As much as Lou and Reid care for each other, that division is bound to lead to some issues in their relationship, and I’m glad Shelby Mahurin showed that conflict. It would have been less realistic to me if they’d fallen in love and with a click of their fingers forgotten all about what divides them.
Blood & Honey expands on the world and magic system, with the additions of blood witches and werewolves, which really made the world feel bigger and more detailed. It also explores the consequences of magic and the cost using particular kinds of patterns can have for a witch. This is one of my favourite elements of this series as it explores how even someone who is ‘good’ can experience the darkness of magic and the toll using it can take.
As much as I did enjoy this book, after I finished it, I did realise it hadn’t really progressed the series’ plot all that much. This was originally planned to be a duology but was later changed to a trilogy, and I do wonder whether it would have been better as a duology. Making it into a trilogy may have dragged out the story unnecessarily and it might have benefited from tighter storytelling and less, well, filler. But we shall see how things conclude in the final book.
The cliffhanger ending left me stunned, a little confused, and with so many questions. I was not prepared for that at all! And now I have to wait months for Gods & Monsters to be released so I can find out what happens next!