Book Review // Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin // #Gifted

Title: Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publication date: 3rd September 2019 (U.S.), 17th October 2019 (U.K.)
My rating: ★★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.40
Pages: 528
Genre: YA, Fantasy


I received an ARC of this book from the publishers Harper Teen. This book was gifted but all opinions are my own and are not influenced by receiving a copy of this book in any way. I would like to thank the publishers Harper Teem and also the author, Shelby Mahurin.

*Trigger Warnings – physical assault, mentions of sexual assault and an attempted rape, drugging of a prisoner, explicit sex scenes, violence, animal death, murder, blood, gore, death, self harm, explicit language and torture.*


Synopses:

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.


Overall opinion of the book:

This book was so incredible, one I thoroughly enjoyed. When I first read the synopses it gripped me, but I enjoyed the book even more than I thought I would! As you many know if you’ve read my blog, recently I’ve been reading more fantasy books and Serpent & Dove did not disappoint – I’m so glad it’s a series and not a stand alone as I can’t get enough of the plot and characters!

The plot was so engaging and completely unpredictable. Though I picked up on some hints about what would happen throughout, I wasn’t prepared for half of what happened – to say I was shook would be an understatement!

As the synopses suggests, the book follows the story of Lou, Reid and their very unlikely marriage. The narrative switches between the both which was great as readers get a fuller insight into both of the characters thoughts and feelings. I equally enjoyed both perspectives and can’t say I preferred one over the other. They were both equally interesting characters and I loved hearing both of their view points.

Lou was a fantastic character and was absolutely hilarious at times. She’s so sarcastic and shares my kind of sense of humour. I lost count at the amount of times I laughed out loud at her sly and brutally honest retorts to other characters. She’s strong willed and minded in a time when this wasn’t totally accepted. She’s not afraid to push the boundaries in her marriage and life in general, which made her such a lovable character to me. Although she pushes boundaries, her character still stays true to the time period.

Reid is the polar opposite of Lou, more reserved and driven by rules and sensibility. Though he’s a character who holds a lot of power, he’s deeply conflicted and isn’t your stereotypical love interest. He’s honourable, caring, strong – but a softie. I can’t say I was a huge fan of him at the very beginning of the novel, he was too set in his religious ways, but I was soon won over. He’s a funny character in his own way, and his vast contrast to Lou compliments her well.

This is the first book I’ve ever read where I haven’t rolled my eyes, and slightly cringed at the enemies to lovers trope. Usually it’s my least favourite trope, but Mahurin has changed my opinions on this… other authors take note – this is how you successfully write this trope! I was invested in the character’s relationship and although I wanted them to get together sooner, the slow burner worked perfectly!

While on the subject of the love interests, there is one scene in the book that’s particularly sexually graphic. While this book is classed as YA, I’d say it’s more suitable for readers, perhaps 15+. There is also quite a lot of language included in Serpent & Dove. While it does work in most parts of the novel, there were times where I found it a little unnecessary.

The church vs the witches (and seemingly everyone else) dynamic was brilliant and the chasseurs being deep rooted in Christianity was relevant to the time in which the book was set. Many of the characters are set in their ways and have an old fashioned, yet true to the time, views on purity, marriage and the role of a woman.

Serpent & Dove was full of suspense, action, sexual tension and drama. The writing was fantastic and had me hooked the entire time. The plot was well paced and the characters were brilliant. Aside from Lou and Reid, there were many secondary characters I loved too! I can’t wait to read more about them and their journeys in the next book. The book has everything in it I loved and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year and I loved that it focuses on the Dames Blanches and is set in France too!

Finally, one of my favourite things about this book is that Mahurin explains at the start of the novel that no character is simply good or evil, all are morally grey in some way. If this doesn’t describe the characters in Serpent & Dove perfectly, then I don’t know what does. I loved that the characters all have flaws and weren’t perfect. The blur between good and evil made for such an interesting read!


Final Thoughts:

I was absolutely blown away by Serpent & Dove, it was fantastically written and I loved every minute of reading it. It’s a book I didn’t want to put down and I don’t really have anything negative to say about it!

I would 100% recommend reading this, especially if you’re a YA fantasy fan. I have a feeling this series is going to be loved by so many people and for good reason too, it’s fantastic!


If you would like to preorder a copy of this book, you can do so here:

Amazon

Waterstones

Book Depository

WHSmith

Serpent & Dove is now published in the US but will be released in hardback in the U.K. on the 17th October 2019.

Are you excited to read Serpent & Dove? Let me know in the comments below! 😊


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