12 Sept 2022

#Review: BLOOD & HONEY by Shelby Mahurin



Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #2
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

The story follows Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel on the run from Lou’s crazy witch overlord of a mother, while they simultaneously search for people (and werewolves) to join in their fight against Morgane. Yet, emotional tensions run high, and every character has to learn to live with their emotions and feelings as the fight continues.

I had put off reading this series because I saw that this book was a flop. I’ll be completely honest that going into this I was not expecting to enjoy it more than Serpent & Dove but I also wasn’t expecting to want this to be over so badly while reading it. 

Blood & Honey picks up pretty much right where book one left off and gives you little to no refreshers. I was lucky that I read these back to back because I remembered all the little details of the first book, but this was one of those series meant to be binged over a weekend.

The characters in this book felt so off. Granted, after how the last book ended character growth was bound to happen. However, this was more like character regression? Reid and Lou felt like entirely different characters – not the ones I fell in love with in the first book and it got to the point that I actually started to dislike them and become more invested in the side characters.

Reid wrestles with his newfound identity of being both a witch and a witch hunter, giving him his own emo moments. He hates magic, yet it’s a part of him now. At the same time, Lou pulls an “Anakin Skywalker” and struggles with succumbing to her own powerful magic in order to keep Reid safe from harm. She goes so emo that she even undergoes a crappy dye job. Even Ansel and Coco are caught up in their own teenage drama. I understand that the characters are teenagers but it felt like they went from mature and competent to running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

I loved the romance between Reid and Lou in the first book, that slow burn enemies to lovers type of love just fuels my soul. Obviously, since their feelings for one and another had been declared and were out in the open I knew it wouldn’t be the same but I wasn’t expecting it to be so lackluster. As the rest of the story went downhill so did the romance.

On top of that, the book is over 500 pages….and nothing worthwhile happens until about the last forty or so pages. This is another case of where publishing has failed with duologies and just drags out the "hype" of books to make more money with trilogies. But it does leave on a "cliffhanger" so have the next book handy!

To say I’m bummed is definitely an understatement. I really wish that this just been published as a duology and not dragged into a trilogy because this had so much potential and lived up to none of it. I like the romance a lot but Lou's madness arc feels really overdone. I'm going to finish the series but I'm not super impressed overall!

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

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