Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Hello peeps!
After everybody and their grandma raved about this novel, I finally picked up my Fairyloot edition and tore through the pages of Serpent & Dove. Did I love it? Hate it? Let’s find out!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

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.

The Rating:

I enjoyed this book a lot, and I’ll go into detail on the hows and whys in a moment. Before I want to address a rather big issue I had with Serpent & Dove that made me feel rather uneasy through most of the novel.

While I can enjoy well-written enemies to lovers stories, the fact that here the main guy is basically a religious fanatic out to hunt witches and then ends up with a witch somehow didn’t sit right with me. The way they referred to witches as “it” instead of “she” and how they saw himself as the savior almost made me sick to my stomach. For a big portion of the novel, I actually questioned whether I would be able to enjoy this at all.
At some point Shelby Mahurin managed to win me over, but that slightly uneasy feeling in my stomach never fully went away.

After that rather depressing note, let’s talk about the things I liked.
First of all: witches. I’m always down for a book about witches. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with magic and witches in particular. The concept we get here with different kinds and how they can or can’t use their powers was amazing. It’s also nice that nothing is ever black and white here.

Furthermore, I liked our main characters! Lou is wild, she doesn’t take shit from anybody, and she can take care of herself. On top of that, she also funny and sarcastic as hell, so what’s not to like about that?!

The story is just the tiniest bit far-fetched in some moments but still unfolds nicely. There are a ton of twists and turns. Surprises are peppered in at every turn and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the story (well, apart from what I mentioned above).

There’s only one additional point of criticism I want to address. We get chapters from two perspectives: Lou and Reid. I’ve read other books where we get multiple perspectives and often (e.g. with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels) you read two sentences and know which character is speaking without even paying attention to the name under the title of the chapter. Here that was not the case. Oftentimes I was a page and a half in when I read a sentence that didn’t quite make sense only to realize that we’re dealing with Reid instead of Lou. It got a little better the further along I got but overall I had wished for better differentiation in writing for both characters.

While there were some things I couldn’t really get on board with, Serpent & Dove was a rather fascinating experience. I’m already curious about the second novel!

Did you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you think!

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3 thoughts on “Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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