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Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

This post contains a gifted item

When I first read about Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin in the Harper360 newsletter I knew there and then that I needed to read it, and that I would love it. Particularly as it was tagged “for fans of Sarah J. Maas“. A witch and a witch hunter forced to come together? How could I possibly say no! Huge thanks to Harper360 for sending me an advanced copy of the book, and today I’m sharing with you all my spoiler free review of this wonderfully witchy debut.

Title: Serpent & Dove Author: Shelby Mahurin Publisher: Haper360 Pages: 528
Release date: 3rd Sept 2019 Edition: ARC Rating: 4/5 stars Source: Gift from the publisher
Synopsis

In a world inspired by 17th century France, an ancient war between witches and Church still burns strong. Louise le Blanc left her coven and sought refuge in the city, suppressing her magic and stealing to stay alive. During a burglary gone awry Lou meets Reid, a Chasseur sworn to the Church to kill witches. After an altercation brings the two together into a forced marriage Lou can’t ignore the danger approaching them, or her growing feelings. But she knows what she is… and she knows what Reid does to people like her.

My Review

I was destined to love this book. There, I said it. It featured all of my favourite tropes, from enemies to lovers, to forbidden love, to forced marriage and ONE BED THAT THEY UNFORTUNATELY MUST SHARE. Dun dun dun…

Characters

Told in dual perspective, we hear the story from both our main characters Louise, or Lou as she is known, and Reid. Lou is sarcastic, self sufficient, brave, cunning and clever and just gets shit done. Reid is the perfect blend of innocent, not innocent, strong willed, devout and protective, who spent a lot of time coming to the realisation that the ideals that had been instilled in him for most of his life may not be strictly true, or right. Both compliment each other perfectly!

I’ve actually seen reviews comparing Lou to early Celeana and Reid to Jamie from Outlander and actually, I agree! However lol at that pairing.

Both Ansel and Coco as secondary characters felt so fleshed out and that they hadn’t just been inserted in the story in order to further our main character’s development. They both had their own arcs and things to overcome. Ansel is actually one of my favourite characters from the book overall! I loved seeing his friendship with Lou grow throughout the story, despite being on Reid’s “side”. He helped her, stuck up for her and he was just everything. I also particularly enjoyed the focus on healthy female friendships with Lou and Coco. No spite, no inane jelousy, just two good female friends.

Sometimes you may think of witches and into your mind pops the ‘witch closing the trap door holding an apple’ scene from Snow White. Well these witches are so much more well developed and interesting. With an intriguing magic system, all witches bear their gifts (or curses depending on who you ask!) differently to serve different purposes.

The Plot

I believe this to be a ‘morally grey’ book personally. With the main focus of the story on the battle between the church and witches, I felt as though there were no clear bias on either side, as though the author did not want to say “this one is good and the other is bad”. Both sides did atrocious things, but there was good too. Interesting!

The story was packed with visual and satisfying storytelling, accompanied with rich world building. It was so easy to picture each scene which always ends up in me enjoying a book so much more! Serpent & Dove was fast paced and never once boring despite being 500+ pages long.

The discussions surrounding women in society at this time were interesting for sure. In particular, how women are viewed due to the church and its messages. Lou also quotes the Holy Book and asks whether she is Reid’s property as his wife which raises some important questions between the pair.

Final Thoughts

Serpent & Dove felt both character and plot driven, with development in both areas. A high stakes, fast paced story aided by characters who go through a lot and come out the other end with more understanding and appreciation of the other side which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I devoured the book in one day while on holiday earlier this year, and while some aspects of the story were predictable it was thoroughly enjoyable and I didn’t guess everything! I definitely feel as though I want to re-read the story to fully appreciate it though.

There was no cliffhanger per se which I was happy about and I am definitely excited for the second book. I can’t believe I have to wait basically a year to read the next instalment, especially considering that I read the first in July!

Serpent & Dove was published on 3rd of September so you can get your hands on it now! If you’re still not convinced whether this book is for you, don’t just take my word for it. You only have to look at Goodreads to see how many people loved it. A personal favourite is a quote from ElliasReads “HOLY FUCK. *deceased*. So go… read it!

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15 Comments

  • Reply berriesandbooks

    So nice to see you enjoyed this one! I really would love to get to it as well! Great review!

    8th September 2019 at 2:59 pm
  • Reply BookHookedNook

    Yes I need this book! It sounds right up my street 😍 Fab review!

    8th September 2019 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply Lois

    I’m glad you enjoyed this! Not really up my street but a great review!

    9th September 2019 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply iambookmad

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review and it’s made me want to pick it up asap.

    15th September 2019 at 2:40 pm
    • Reply amyjanealice

      Thank you Beth! I hope you love it too 🙂

      15th September 2019 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply northernplunder

    brilliant review love, im p interested in reading this one day 😀

    15th September 2019 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply amyjanealice

      I think you would really like it! Thank you <3

      15th September 2019 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply thebookishfairyblog

    Ooooh, this is making me want to pick this one up and add to some witchy October reads!

    15th September 2019 at 4:07 pm
  • Reply twobookthieves

    Your excitement for this book definitely made me want to pick it up ASAP and I loved it! Definitely agree that it was a morally grey book.

    17th September 2019 at 10:55 am
  • Reply TeaPartyPrincess

    Urgh I was *gutted* when I was turned down for this because it sounds amazing. Your review has made me want to read it even more.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk

    19th September 2019 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply bookloverkate

    Okay so I’ve seen this about loads but I didn’t really know what it was about, now I know, you’ve totally sold me on it! I love all those tropes and I need it in my life!

    25th September 2019 at 5:55 pm
  • Reply Imi

    YES AMY I LOVED THIS TOOOOOOOOO honestly, it was bang on for me a tropes the sHARING THE BED. Ugh so good. I’m actually writing up my review of this right now funnily enough!

    5th October 2019 at 5:38 pm
    • Reply amyjanealice

      Yesss all of the tropes are just *chefs kiss*. Can’t wait to read your review!

      6th October 2019 at 4:47 pm
  • Reply bookishcoffeeblog

    Love the fact that you described this as a morally grey book! I just purchased myself a copy of this book, and I am so looking forward to loving it as much as you did!

    6th October 2019 at 10:45 am
    • Reply amyjanealice

      Ahhh I hope you enjoy it!

      6th October 2019 at 4:40 pm

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