Apr 7, 2020

Review--Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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.

I finally found the time to read Shelby Mahurin’s debut Serpent & Dove and I have to say it was one of the best reads I’ve read so far this year! The characters were just amazing and I loved them so entirely. The story is a fast paced one and even with its 500+ page length, it’s still not long enough!
What we know of Lou when we meet her is that she’s a witch in hiding. Not just from the Chasseurs who basically hunt witches and burn them at the stake all to protect the people, but from a mysterious “she” that we only catch whispers of in conversation. When she learns about a magical ring that could help shield her from her enemies, Lou is all for stealing it and does, but she happens to make herself a bit more known during the robbery.
Reid is our golden boy. He’s the perfect Chasseur and is even the Captain in charge of the squad. He follows the Archbishop’s orders without thought, for he’s also a father figure to him as Reid was left abandoned as a baby and was raised by the Archbishop with other potentials in training for the title of Chasseur. Then he stumbles upon Lou one day and their paths were locked together for the foreseeable future as after a few chance encounters, one led to them being caught in a pickle of sorts that sprang into their getting married to help save face.
Yup, Lou, the witch, marries Reid, the witch hunter. Except, he doesn’t know she’s a witch. He just thinks she’s a thief who knows of other witches, hence why he has to interrogate her as their “honeymoon” you could say. Lou only reluctantly agreed to the farce marriage for the protection that it could provide her from her dangerous enemies…for there are few other people she’s made mad too, so a little Chasseur help couldn’t hurt.
Lou is a riot! I love how feisty and snarky she is! She doesn’t take crap from anyone and has the best snarky comebacks. She pretty much makes married life hell for Reid. The Archbishop has very old school views on marriage. Though Reid doesn’t agree with everything he teaches, he doesn’t expect Lou to be romantic with him, but he does want the obedience part, which, as I said, is laughable once you get to know Lou.
The story moves along at a slower pace at that turning point, but it’s not a bad slow pace. We see how each of the other half lives at this point. We get both Lou and Reid’s points of view in this one, which is an added bonus because wow! Then we reach that part where the disdain Lou feels towards Reid changes into something else, and he sees her as something more than a heathen (his words). And seriously, this is why slow-burn romances are the best!!
As others have probably mentioned before me, there is a bit of a graphic scene in this one that puts it on par with A Court of Mist and Fury. It’s definitely more of a mature YA for that and there is a bit of language too, but nothing too terrible really when you look at other "older YA" books. But I just wanted to put that advisement in there as well!
The ending was so good! So unbelievably good! Things get intense and the pace dramatically increases as events begin to unfold along with a few other jaw-droppers. I began making guesses as to how things would eventually unravel and I'm quite pleased that one thought didn't appear to be an issue...this time! I had the greatest fear that this one would end with a terrible cliffhanger—you know the ones that leave you dying, positively dying for the next installment. While things were intense, I felt like Shelby left things at a nice breaking point where the characters are at a nice pause in the action. Yes, you’re still craving more from the story, but the wait isn’t so torturous…any more than usual that is, as we continue to wait for the next book and the next book.
Serpent & Dove was a stunning debut from an author that has immediately made it to my favorites list! It’s the right blend of paranormal with witchy involvement and fantasy. I adored this book pretty much from the start and the love only grew as the pages turned! I cannot wait to see what else Shelby will have in store for us in the books to come!
Overall Rating 5/5 stars


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