18 Oct 2021

#Review: SERPENT & DOVE by Shelby Mahurin


Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Source: Gifted from Indigo Teen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from Indigo Teen. This in no way impacts my opinion.

As a way of disclaimer for things that happen in here: It's not graphic in the sense of smut or porn, but there is on screen sex. Which, to me, is pretty surprising in a book labelled in the YA age group. But the main characters are ~18 with a few that are 16.

Honestly, this was a really strong start to a series. I can totally understand why people fawn over it and the book. It had fake relationship (that turned real, obviously). A lot of great magical aspects. And some really interesting twists and turns. The world was fleshed out nicely and the characters sorta developed throughout.

But for me, I wasn't a huge fan of it. It fell directly into the "meh" category for me. I thought that too often, everything that was revealed or done was way too convenient. There were barely any consequences or guessing about who or what was going to come next because everything was too contained.

The book has a really interesting magic system and I liked learning more about it as we saw the characters start to use that magic. But it definitely focused way too much on the main romantic relationship rather than building out the world, the magic, or the other relationships present. I wanted way more about Jean Luc and Reid's "frenemy" relationship. Or more about how the Chassuer world trained and what they did.

There was also a lot of "I'm totally a badass" main character vibes going on and we rarely saw that play out. We got a few glimpses but this book needed more show and less tell for some of these aspects. And because of that, everything started to feel a bit underdeveloped.

Like did I cry over Reid and Lou??? Yeah. But that doesn't make up for the rest of the storyline or how it played out. Because everything was too much of a coincidence. In fact, after the Lou "reveal" I thought sarcastically that there would be another reveal that happened. And it was just a bit disappointing.

TLDR: I really enjoyed this one and thought it was a great start to this series. A lot of cool magical aspects, a good mix of French history, and enough twists to keep me interested. But there was a lot of times things felt too convenient or connected just for the sake of having everything connected. I'll definitely continue since I have the other books but we'll see how this goes!

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick up this series?

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