Title: Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: September 3rd, 2019
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.
“It doesn’t end in death. It ends in hope. Hope. A hope they would never see, would never feel, would never touch. As elusive as smoke. As flickering flames.”
After reading the synopsis I was so excited to read this book. I’m always down for a witchy novel, and even though in reality I haven’t particularly enjoyed most of the books about witches I’ve read, I was still hopeful for this one. And I have to say that I ended up really enjoying it, despite Serpent & Dove being something entirely different from what I had in mind.
I guess I was expecting this book to be more of a plot and magic driven book, but it wasn’t the case. The plot was a bit weak the first three parts of the story, and I could only see the path the story would take in the last 30% of the novel. However, despite all of that, it was a very entertaining and addictive book, and so easy to get into. I was constantly wanting to know what was going to happen, and though there was a certain time where I had the feeling nothing was really happening, I still wasn’t bored at all.
I was a bit sad to see the world building a bit lacking. We only got to know a bit about the city where everything took place, but nothing else, and thar pretty much happened with the magic system. I was still aware that I was reading a story about witches, and the little we learnt throughout this first installment was so interesting and I liked it, but I just wished the author took more time to explore the world and the magic along with the characters.
Like I said before, I think Serpent & Dove was more of a character driven type of story, with a heavy romantic subplot involved. I had no complains about the characters and I think they were so wonderfully woven and written. I adored our protagonist Lou and found her arc so intriguing. She was a very strong minded female lead, and she had such a great evolution throughout the story. I adored her dynamics with Reid and that little relationship they formed, and I think they complemented each other perfectly. Reid was quite a different male lead from what I’ve been reading lately, and at first I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like him, but as I continued the story I found myself more attached to him and the rest of the characters.
“Witches and people alike. One and the same. All innocent. All guilty. All dead. But not me.”
One of my favorite parts was the romance. I didn’t think going into this book that I was going to say this, because I’m very picky with my romances, but this one hit all the marks of what I tend to love in romance stories: it was an enemies-to-lovers, and not only that but there were so many little tropes that I adore seeing in said relationship.
The only thing that didn’t really hit the mark for me was the big reveals made at the very end. Though the climax of the story was pretty well done and I was at the edge of my seat biting my nails, I still think all the revelations were pretty predictable. None of them really surprised me as much as I hoped, and it was a bit anticlimactic, but maybe that was just me and my brain.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with how much I enjoyed Serpent & Dove. It was such a fast paced and fun, with an incredible cast of characters and well written interactions between them, and though I wished it delved more in the magic system or in the world building, I think the other qualities redeemed the story for me.
Side note: though this book didn’t have very graphic sex scenes, there was one that was a bit descriptive, so if you’re uncomfortable just be aware, but I didn’t mind it.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
“We will reclaim our homeland, Majesties. Time and time again, we have warned you. You did not heed our words. Soon, we will dance atop your ashes as you have our ancestors.”
TW: self harm
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