Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on January 3, 2020 | 3 Comments

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby MahurinSerpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Published by HarperTeen (9.3.2019)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 513 pages
Source: From Publisher

4 Stars

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.

My thoughts

In the beginning, I was on the fence about reading this book. I had actually picked it up once, wasn’t feeling it, and moved on to something else for a while before coming back to it. The French-esque setting (but not actually France?) and social themes had a historical feel, which I hate, and I was struggling. I didn’t care about anything and it was slow going.

When Lou and Reid met, everything changed. From the moment that Lou sets Reid up in the theater, resulting in him being publicly shamed and forced to marry Lou to negate said shame, I was hooked.

The banter and humor in this book was definitely the driving point for me! I freaking LOVED the banter between Lou and Reid. It’s a hate-to-love/enemies-to-lovers romance, which is my favorite trope ever! In the beginning, they despise and resent each other. They’re also sworn enemies: Lou is a witch, and Reid is a chasseur (a soldier) working for a Church of witch hunters. Of course Reid doesn’t know Lou is a witch – what could go wrong?

I was actually going to marry this woman. This – this creature. This heathen who scaled rooftops and robbed aristocrats, who brawled and dressed like a man and had a name to match.

It’s been a long time since I had this much fun reading a book. It was laugh out loud funny! Lou and Reid’s interactions were highly entertaining. I love that he was so proper (and quite a prude) and she was crass and obnoxious on purpose to irritate him. They had me cracking up!

“Do not urge me to leave or turn back from you. Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.”

The romance was absolutely perfect. Like I said, I loooove the enemies-to-lovers trope, but this one also had that glorious slow burn that I love so much. There’s a lot of angst and tension as they slowly fall for each other, and it takes the whole book to get there. Just how I like it! By the time they finally kissed I was practically yelling at the book for them to shut up and kiss.

I loved that there was a nice little twist in there toward the end! View Spoiler » There was also another twist at the end that I don’t think I liked very much, but oh well. I felt like the ending was too convenient – the twist came, deus ex machina, to fix everything. SURPRISE! Everything is just fine! No one is actually dead. I was pretty underwhelmed with the ending to be honest. View Spoiler » If it weren’t for the ending, this probably would have been 5 stars for me. I may have been disappointed in the ending, but I had SO much fun reading it for the most part!

Favorite quotes

“There are some things that can’t be changed with words. Some things have to be seen. They have to be felt.”

Would my soul remember him? A small part of me prayed I wouldn’t, but the rest knew better. I loved him. Deeply. Such a love was not something of just the heart and mind. It wasn’t something to be felt and eventually forgotten, to be touched without it in return touching you. No…this love was something else. Something irrevocable. It was something of the soul.
I knew I would remember him. I would feel his absence even after death, would ache for him to be near me in a way he could never be again. This was my destiny – my eternal torment. As much as it hurt to think of him, I would bear the pain gladly to keep even a small part of him with me. The pain meant we’d been real.
Death couldn’t take him away from me. He was me. Our souls were bound. Even if he didn’t want me, even if I cursed his name, we were one.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World-building: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Jessi (Geo)

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3 responses to “Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

  1. I had the same EXACT feelings. In my review I also mentioned how the ending was just… it was a big surprise. I’m not mad at it, since it could’ve been fixed with the appropiate foreshadowing, but it wasn’t there so I guess I’m a little mad at it after all!

    And the beginning was the same for me. You’re completely right, the party gets started once Lou and Reid begin to really interact. Before that it’s just very *yawn* Fortunately that first part doesn’t last long!

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