Books,  Fantasy,  Reviews

Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin



Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Pages: 513

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published: 2019

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★.5

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.

I absolutely was not expecting Serpent & Dove to suck me in between its pages as much as it did but it happened and now I fully understand the hype. In fact, despite the fact I gave this book 4.5 Stars (which I’ll get to a bit later), I think this has become a favourite book of mine. I loved the characters, the fact that witches are an integral part of this book and the whole enemies to lovers sub-plot? We love to see it. Not to mention that there was only one bed. If that doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will. 

Serpent & Dove follows Lou, a witch, and Reid, a witch hunter aka a Chasseur, who are forced into marriage after an unfortunate incident and are made to live together in the Chasseur tower which is probably one of Lou’s worst nightmares considering she is, you know, a witch.

From the get go, this book was addictive and I did not want to put it down as I wanted to keep following how the story progressed. Coming in at just over 500 pages, I was a bit worried going into this book that it might get a bit stale at some point or that the pace might start to lag a bit, but this was definitely not the case. As the story progressed, I really just wanted more and more. 

‘I was no one’s sacrifice. Not then, not now, not ever.’

Serpent & Dove is told from two points of view and includes quite strong French elements  including the language throughout the book. I’ll be honest, those elements did feel a little out of place sometimes. I think it’s probably important to note that this book is inspired by France but it is not actually French. There are some French words dotted throughout and Belterra, which is the city where this book is set, is definitely inspired by France. 

From the very start of this book, it was fast paced, helped by the writing which made me want to keep reading more and more. I thought that everything was developed really well – the plot and the character development wasn’t too pushed and felt like a really natural growth for the story. I also enjoyed the world building of Belterra and the surrounding areas throughout this book, but what I really liked was the magic system. The magic within this book relies on small sacrifices of a witch and there are different types of Witch meaning that the sacrifice required for magic is something different for each type.

img_4918Chasseurs are taught to view witches as ‘it’ rather than women, like they actually are and any woman who is a witch is immediately declared as evil. This is definitely demonstrated throughout the book but of course, this view is to be argued with during the course of the plot.

I really liked Lou. She is a determined character and does whatever she needs to do to survive, which includes marrying a Witch Hunter. I liked the fact that she owned who she was, she’s clever and that she doesn’t really care for other peoples opinions. I also thought she was quite a funny character, with lines that actually made me laugh a few times throughout the book. I thought she was a great protagonist and I really enjoyed reading from her point of view. 

At the beginning of this book, I didn’t really feel like Reid had much of a personality. He pretty much lives and breathes Chasseur life. However, as the plot progressed, I felt like we saw some pretty major character development with him almost questioning everything he has ever known and been taught. Reid is quite blatant in his actions and is always the noble one. When he’s angry, he has to calm himself so that he doesn’t fly off the handle and he is committed to the Archbishop, God and his morals and values which includes being very against witches. Reid isn’t necessarily a hard character in terms of how he’s not a tough cookie to crack, but over the course of Serpent & Dove, his attitude towards Lou does soften more as his eyes are opened to how different the world is outside of his little Chasseur bubble. I would say between Lou and Reid, he has a bit more character development. 

There were a few side characters that I enjoyed seeing, particularly Coco who seems even more badass than Lou. There was a great friendship between the two, one that has come out of almost equal experiences when growing up. I’m hoping we’ll see more of the side characters in the sequel.

‘Now move, or I swear to god, I will strip naked right here and dance the Bourree!’

Despite my love for this book, my only complaints are that I felt as things went a little too quickly at times. I just felt like I wasn’t really aware of how much time had passed throughout the book and I think that has contributed to me feeling like things moved quite quickly between the characters and with the story. Or perhaps I was just gobbling this book up so quickly that I lost all concept of time…

Final Thoughts

Serpent & Dove is a delicious fantasy including witchcraft, witch hunters, romance and an addictive plot. I was captivated by the story within the first few pages and I never wanted to put it down. I am now very much looking forward to the sequel, Blood & Honey, which is due for release in September 2020. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a Fantasy that will pull you into its pages and not let you go until it comes to a close.

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