Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
This was a book that has been on my radar for a while, and while I definitely wanted to read it, it wasn’t exactly my most anticipated of the year. After reading this, I think it definitely should’ve been! I’m so happy that I was able to read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed this.
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.
Two years before the events of this book, Lou leaves her coven (the reason for which is a spoiler and I’m certainly not giving it away) and in order to hide herself, stops using all magic and fights to survive by becoming a thief. For two years she managed to stay away and (mostly) out of trouble, until a burglary to get an object very important to her goes wrong and she ends up in a…compromising position with a chasseur. In this world, chasseurs are witch hunters and it just so happens that Lou is a witch. The Archbishop then gives Lou an ultimatum: go to jail for the rest of her life, or marry the chasseur whose reputation she has ruined.
Of course, Lou chooses marriage because that means an extra level of protection from her coven, but also puts her in extreme danger if her new husband finds out what she really is. At first I thought it would be a simple plot line as this is more of a fantasy romance, but I was wrong and there were quite a few twists and turns and revelations along the way!
One thing to note is that there is a fairly explicit sex scene in the latter half of the book so if that’s something that makes you uncomfortable here’s your warning! Oh, and there is quite a bit of profanity as well, if that isn’t your thing.
I loved how sarcastic and crass Lou was! She frequently disguises herself as a man in order to move more freely in this world because women are meant to be meek and obedient – which Lou is definitely NOT. She isn’t afraid to be herself even if it means others give her strange looks.
Then there is Reid, her chasseur husband. He is frequently described as having a stick up his ass and it’s honestly a great description of his personality…at least when we first meet him. It was so nice to watch him slowly open up to Lou and tell her more about himself and really let his true personality shine through.
I also truly enjoyed the side characters in this book, especially Coco and Ansel! They were so supportive of Lou and Reid and were there for them when they needed it most. And how can I forget Beau singing Big Tiddy Liddy while stripping his clothes off? That was fantastic and so funny!
Oh, did I mention that this is a French inspired world? Because it was so amazing! I know a little french (thanks to 6 years of French classes in school) so I was able to pick up on some of the words used throughout the book. My (limited) knowledge of French and French culture made me really enjoy the atmosphere and world building done in this book, and I feel like it’s very accessible to those unfamiliar with it.
This story revolves around the fight between the Church and the witches, and I really liked that neither side was shown as completely good or completely bad, and the magic that the witches used was interesting. I do wish that it was explained a little more and the limitations of their magic shown, but for a debut and the first in a new series I think it was a solid start and I can’t wait to see the blood witches come into play more in the second book! (That isn’t a spoiler, we find out about blood witches within the first few chapters of the book.)
Hello it’s me, the broken record! I love writing that is easy and doesn’t distract you from the story, and that’s exactly how this was! I flew through this book and I think part of the reason was how easy the writing was.
If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely loved this book! It had a ton of things that I really love: enemies to lovers, slow burn, great female friendships, morally gray characters, and actual chemistry between the love interests! It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that could also be considered romance, and it reminded me how much I love being able to truly ship characters together and watch romance bloom. Plus, it’s the perfect read for fall!
I would 100% recommend this to anyone looking for a fantastic fantasy with dangerous witches and steamy romance! I honestly couldn’t read fast enough and this book cured me of my reading slump! The characters are so fantastic you will be rooting for them the entire time and by the end, you’ll want to get your hands on every single piece of fanart that you can find.