Book Review ★ Serpent & Dove Book One ★ Shelby Mahurin

Book review Serpent & Dove Series Shelby Mahurin Serpent & Dove Blood & Honey Gods & Monsters

Serpent & Dove Book One 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.

Instagram totally made me buy this book. For starters, just look at that cover – it’s stunning. I love the title & how the artist used a serpent to represent the ‘&’. Not to mention how elegant the black and gold look together. Nothing about this cover suggests it is going to be a young adult book & I was instantly curious about it.

As far as storylines go, there was nothing overly complex about this one. It’s chock full of all the regular literary tropes you would expect to find in a novel and it was easy to follow the events as they unfolded. When I first started reading though, I felt like I was already in the middle of a story. Like I missed a chapter or two. I went back to check for a prologue, convinced I must have missed it, but there wasn’t one. I truly believe this book would have benefited from a prologue.

The story is told in point of view chapters from the two main characters perspectives, Lou & Reid. POV storytelling isn’t my favorite. I love that we get different perspectives but it can get messy. At the beginning of this story, I didn’t like the POV chapters. There were times where we seemed to abruptly move onto the next chapter & perspective with little to no closure for the events prior. Then there were other times when the story flowed seamlessly from one perspective to the other. In the end, though, I was enjoying moving from Lou’s perspective of events to Reid’s.

The story starts from Lou’s perspective. A young witch who has been suppressing her powers & living on the streets for the last two years. Even to the reader, Lou is extremely secretive of her past. Almost from the very beginning she bothered me & in the end I still didn’t particularly care for her. I wish she had been more open. I understand why she wasn’t in her interactions with other characters, but I couldn’t understand why the author chose not to have her share more about her past with the readers.

When we first meet Reid, our huntsman, it is from Lou’s perspective. I paid little attention to his character throughout parts one and two. I liked him enough, but I was more interested in other things. I wanted to know more about how magic worked. I wanted to know more about the Blood Witches & Coco. I wanted to know more about the White Witches & Morgane. How the Archbishop & King came to be in power. It wasn’t until part three that Reid really started to interest me. Until then he was nothing more than a plot device moving the story along.

Part three is when things really started to come together and get interesting for me. Up until then, I was feeling fairly indifferent about everything. During parts one & two, the elements I found interesting seemed to be getting no attention at all. Almost right to the end, I wasn’t going to bother with book two. As a novel on its own, Serpent & Dove leaves a lot to be desired. I had to take a step back & remind myself that this was part of, at the very least, a trilogy.

I have the next book, Blood & Honey. If I had to wait to read it, I doubt I would. Although there was nothing, in particular, I didn’t like about Serpent & Dove there was nothing that I loved about it either. I’m hoping that, as part of a trilogy, Serpent & Dove is a better book. There is a lot of potential within the pages, and in the end, I gave it four stars out of five.


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