Serpent and Dove – Shelby Mahurin

Release date: 3 September 2019
Goodreads link
Book Depository link
Rating5 stars

Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1) blurb:

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.

This book wasn’t one of my most anticipated reads of the year. In fact, if it hadn’t come in the FairyLoot box then I’m not entirely sure I would have bought it. And if I hadn’t seen certain people screaming about it then I probably wouldn’t have read it so quickly. (I try not to board the hype train…) But, here we are, and once again, those recommendations haven’t let me down.

Oh wow. Where to start?!

The story is told from both, Lou and Reid’s perspectives, and this was more amazing than I thought possible. They are both such vastly different characters and their voices were very distinct. I love them both, possibly Lou slightly more, but they also both broke my heart – which is intentional and I both love and hate Mahurin for it.

In fact, all of the characters are amazing. I never felt like any of them lost who they were on their journey – they always stayed in character, and when they grew or changed you could see it happening and the reasons why, so it never came across as stilted or forced.

In terms of plot, while the story isn’t predictable but you get enough clues that you tend to figure out what plot points are going to be revealed just before it happens. I quite like that aspect, but it might not work for some people.

The world building was really interesting. I love that it feels like it’s set in France, but it’s not. It’s got this 18th century French city feel to it, that I hope at least inspired the novel (but I’ve not read anything about the novel so I can’t be sure). There’s royalty and the church, who operate together but separately. And then there’s the witches but also the start of a feminist uprising. Together it sets the scene for this atmosphere that could turn dark at any moment.

I also love the rules for magic – you have to give something to get something. There’s certainly no Harry Potter hopefuls in this where you can cast a wand or say a phrase to cast your magic. I also really love the differences between the two witch tribes we get – the Dames Blanches and the Dames Rouges. Honestly, I can’t wait to find out more about them in book two.

The romance is very slow burn, enemies to lovers, but it’s not everything the book is about, which is nice. I think it’s actually more duplicitous than it is enemies to lovers, but that’s probably very one sided, as you’ll come to see at the start of the story. But again, the romance isn’t the be all, end all of the book. There’s so much more happening that it.

Honestly, there’s really not that much to say on this side of the fence.

The only thing I would say was that I expected more characters to die. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely deaths in this, just not as many as I thought. However, I also didn’t realise it was a duology until the end, so perhaps some of the others are required in book two!

I must admit, if I had known this was book one of a duology I may not have picked it up so quickly. I hate cliffhangers and prefer to wait until all the books are out to start a series. This does tend to mean that I see spoilers sometimes… but I’m really glad that I didn’t wait for this one. Not because the spoilers would have ruined it, but because it’s just such an amazing story that I’m glad I didn’t wait.

Overall, I think my 5 star rating will speak for itself!! Grab yourself a copy and get reading!!

15 thoughts on “Serpent and Dove – Shelby Mahurin

Add yours

  1. Okay, I’ve already bought this and I’m excited, but I do have a question – does it end on a big cliffhanger? Because I genuinely can’t copy with those, haha, and I’d rather wait until closer to the release date to pick it up. (I’m happy you didn’t regret reading it rn, though!)

    I’m glad to see you mention that the book is more than the romance – it’s definitely the aspect everyone was highlighting, which had me a bit worried. I mean, I love romance, but in a fantasy that’s not enough. Also, the magic system sounds GOOD. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Veronika!! It’s not a cliffhanger ending, but it’s definitely only halfway through the story. There’s some resolutions though. Like, I won’t die not being able to read the next book immediately.
      The magic system is so good!! I loved it. I hope you like it too!! There’s a lot of focus on friendship and trust too which is lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

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