Book Review: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin ★★★★

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“I-I’ve never seen anyone savor anything the way you do everything. You make me feel alive. Just being in your presence – it’s addictive. You’re addictive . . . The way you see the world . . . I want to see it that way too.”

I had an inkling I would like this book, but I wasn’t 100% sure, based on all of the mixed reviews I kept seeing. Granted, most of the negative reviews were talking about problematic elements and I, being someone that doesn’t give a hoot if a book is “problematic,” was still very much interested in reading it. And guess what guys?? I freaking loveddddddddd ittttttt. This was the first book in SO LONG that kept me up until almost 3 AM on a work night, just so I could keep reading. It was fabulous and I have already purchased myself a permanent copy 😏. So begone haters!

I literally could not put this book down. I stayed up way too late to read it and nearly finished it in one sitting. The basic premise is a witch and a witch hunter are, for various reasons, forced to marry. The witch has to hide her true self from not only her new husband, but also from her old coven of witches who now want her dead. Hello!! That sounds fabulous!

It was very quick to read, very engaging from the start, and had a really interesting set up. The world building was not completely developed, but it seemed to me like we would get an expansion on that in the second book. The magic was really cool and I love how it is high-stakes magic, meaning there is a balance between what a witch can do and what she has to sacrifice to do it. I am hoping we get more detail on the magic, as well as the world, in the next book.

The set up and the basic premise were done very well. I was going into this book expecting it to be a hate to love romance under the guise of a fantasy novel, and it is in a way, but it actually was much more complex and plot-driven than I thought it would be. The romance too is given plenty of time to simmer and burn before anything actually happens, making it more believable that a pious witch hunter would grow to care for a witch. When the reveal does happen, I think the reactions on both character’s parts are very authentic. The study of religion versus the Occult or magic is also very interesting to me, especially when you take two characters who were brought up in such different environments/circumstances.

The characters themselves are great. I loved the main characters and the side characters. I think everyone was developed well and given distinct personalities that I am curious to see grow in the next installment. The main two, Louise the witch and Reid the witch hunter, had amazing chemistry and banter right from the start. They had a fantastic “opposites attract” quality that worked really well here. Lou is very blunt and open and crude, never hiding her brash personality or trying to be something she is not, and Reid is extremely religious, obedient, and stoic. That is one of my favorite tropes! When a raunchy female character can make the tight-laced male lead smile against his will or get all hot and bothered, I am sold. I loved how Lou was very sexually free and owned her own sexuality/needs, and was the more experienced of the two. That can be cringey sometimes, but it was written really well here. Great steamy scenes!

My only complaint about the characters, and just a thing I noticed in general, was that the author heavily, very obviously, modeled Lou off of Celaena/Aelin from Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Some lines she says or things she does are nearly identical to scenes in Throne of Glass. Just the fact that she is so arrogant and snarky, loves to read books and gets all gushy about the characters, likes sweets and fashion, is tough and talks her way into trouble, and even her “women power” relationship with her best friend…IDK it kind of turned me off from her character at first. There were just way too many obvious similarities to be a coincidence. The author even used the overdone “shattered” to describe a freaking orgasm, just like SJM used to do! That’s too close to another book in my opinion. You can be inspired by other authors, but don’t make a carbon copy of their work; that’s not cool. Other than that, though, I did enjoy all of the characters.

I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this book. It was such a fun, entertaining, and interesting read! It gave me couple/ship feelings and tension that I have not experienced with another book in a long time. It was well written, the plot was fascinating, the world and the magic were intriguing. I am so glad I read it and I cannot wait for the sequel, Blood and Honey which comes out later this year (as of right now)!

Did you guys love it? Or hate it?

I’m so glad we got to stay up really late and read this together! Well, you read it, I just got some pets until 3 in the morning, which was ok by me!

Thank you!

Title: Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Fantasy | New Adult | Young Adult | Witches | Romance
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Page Count: 513 pages
Buy It: Wordery Book Depository

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