Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – Review

Cover- Serpent and Dove

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Serpent & Dove #1

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


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.

What could be more appealing than a book where a witch is forced to marry a witch hunter who doesn’t know she’s a witch? I mean, what could possibly go wrong, RIGHT? It’s a YA fantasy, so it’s almost a given that they will fall madly in love, overcome their differences, and live happily ever after but in this case it’s more the journey rather than the destination.

Louise le Blanc is the aforementioned witch and she’d rather not have anything to do with her heritage since it’s done far more harm than good. And also, she now lives in a city where witches (all female)  are actively hunted and burned by the Chasseurs (all male). They can’t abide a witch to live until poor, handsome Reid Diggory (no kin to Cedric) sees Louise in a crowd and then in the midst of a theft. He just can’t leave well enough alone and events transpire so that they end up married – not a spoiler, just the plot outlined in the synopsis. He and the other Chasseurs obviously don’t know what she is when she goes to live in their intimidating tower otherwise she’d be a crisp. Did I mention that Lou’s mother is the high queen witch? Yeah, she is so that would be even more of a problem if anyone found out.

I really liked the characters in this book, despite the previous paragraphs sounding a bit snarky. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up on my own, but it came in one of the book boxes I’m trying out and decided to give a whirl since I paid for it and all. I (much to my surprise) read it in a single very long sitting, wherein I migrated from couch to chair to bed and back again over the course of several hours. This is like a 500 page book that managed to completely hold my attention in that horridly addictive way that YA books tend to do UNTIL I WAS FINISHED. Lou is irreverent, a criminal, and loves to have a good time while Reid is entirely the opposite of that. He’s wholly dedicated to his order and thinks they are absolutely right in what they’re doing. Of course, it was fun to watch them slowly… scratch that, quickly fall for one another and reevaluate all their core values for a fine specimen of the opposite sex. 

Overall, this was a really fun read with side characters that were as likable as the main characters. This is a fairly standard YA plot with YA tropes, but it was fun nonetheless and I read it precisely when I was in the mood for such a book. There are some parts that are totally ridiculous and make me roll my eyes nearly to the back of their sockets, but I EXPECTED IT AND EMBRACED IT AND THEREFORE ENJOYED IT. I like the sort of French atmosphere, the descriptions of food, and all the emotion. This book didn’t have incredible world building and I couldn’t have told you what city it was set in if it wasn’t in the synopsis or even how the city was supposed to look. I just know there were numerous eateries, a blacksmith shop, a theater, and obviously some rich people to steal things from. It was definitely character driven, though I did expect that and probably always will from this type of novel and will be pleasantly surprised if it were to prove otherwise.

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