Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

serpent and Dove by shelby mahurinSummary:

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.

Review: 3 Stars

Serpent and Dove caught my eye as soon as I saw the cover, but when I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read it. This book was probably one of my most anticipated fall releases, so clearly my expectations were quite high. After reading I do have to admit, I am disappointed. I expected this to be an amazing fantasy novel with a romance between a witch and a witch hunter. It turned out to be mainly a romance novel and missing some of the amazing fantasy aspects that I was expecting. I really wanted to love this, but I just didn’t. This book is also marketed as a young adult fantasy, but it read more like an adult novel to me, with themes of marriage and more graphic sex scenes that I would expect to see in the YA genre.

When I pick up a fantasy that is over 500 pages I expect some great world building and character development, but in Serpent and Dove both aspects could have been done better. The world building was very vague and mostly occurred in the beginning of the novel, leaving me with a lot of questions that never got answered. The details of the magic system are skirted over so you don’t have a very clear idea of how it all works besides that Dames Blanches use natural magic that requires a balance and Dames Rouges use blood magic. There are a few more details to it all, but with over 500 pages I was left feeling cheated on the world building.

The main focus of this book was the romance between Louise, who is a witch in hiding, and Reid, who is a Chasseur otherwise known as a witch hunter. The romance is slowly built up over the course of the novel. Reid was really uptight and Lou was very outspoken which I found really entertaining, but I had a hard time understanding what Lou saw in him, because I didn’t see anything desirable about him. She was a thief and a witch and he was a religious witch hunter, they were total opposites, so it was interesting to see them fall for each other and start to meet in the middle. Although some of the romance was cringe worthy, for the most part I liked it, but I found it hard to believe that a lifetime of values and beliefs went out the window because of the romance. The romance just didn’t feel entirely believable to me.

The novel felt less like fantasy and more realistic. If there were witches in the world religions would probably persecute them and believe they were demons. The prejudices and believes that held Chasseurs and witches at odds with each other was interesting and added to the character arcs. I think my issue was that it was so long and slow paced and really focused on the romance until the very end when the plot finally came together. This book could have been so much better because parts of it are absolutely amazing, but overall I am left disappointed. If you like a romance to be the main focus in your fantasy novels I would highly recommend this book, but if you don’t then you might want to look for something else.

26 thoughts on “Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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      1. We Hunt the Flame right? HAHAH I am getting better!! I wanted a copy of it so bad, but they wouldn’t give me an ARC. You know what always makes me laugh, when a publisher is willing to send me a physical copy, but denies me for an eARC.

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      2. Yay! That is bizarre. Now if I ask for an arc I usually don’t request an electronic copy unless I really want to post it online. Like I wouldnt have asked for one in Edelweiss but the book tour people did. But otherwise I dont request it. All the hardcopys for sept oct and nov I dont have electronic of..
        What I have electronic of except in the hall with the knife because that just happened to go backwards, I dont have hard copies of.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I dont like having both if I can help it. Not now that I know how it works. I dont think it is fair to others. If i have one, I let the other go. No matter how cool it is to have a hard copy, if I have an electronic copy I let it go. Let someone else have it. There is limited of each.

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      4. I feel like they let a lot of electronic copies go. I always seem to get granted the eARC first and then MAYBE the physical as well. I always request both when I really want something because sometimes I will get one or the other. But also for reading preferences because sometimes it’s not easy for me to bring physical copies with me everywhere, but I can always bring my kindle. Or like when I’m on the boat and the kindle dies, it’s really nice to have a physical copy so I can continue reading. But on the boat when I am reading and fishing it is a LOT easier to read kindle because I don’t have to keep the book open with my knee.

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      5. LOL Well I’m also about to be taking the bus for work.. It’s going to be like an hour and a half both ways, so I’m going to have plenty of time to sit… I just got to remember to charge my kindle ahead of time. We fish for like… 4 hours at a time, so sometimes the kindle dies if it’s not fully charged ahead of time.

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      6. Well that’s good. Oh my Kindle last forever! Especially if I put it in Airplane mode. Even not itll go at least a day. On airplane mode it’ll go days. Even if I sit there and forget to snap the cover on.

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      7. That’s one thing I wish my kindle had, a better battery life. I figured out that pawn shops sell them super cheap! Like 40 dollars for a kindle fire that cost 200! If mine ever goes that’s how I’m going to replace it

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      8. I need a new phone desperately and heard that maybe swappa will have a cheap one. My phone is fine, but it is completely out of space and SO glitchy all the time that sometimes when I really need it I can’t use it. It drives me nuts but there is no way I can afford a new phone. I’ve tried clearing stuff out, but somehow it always fills right back up with stuff that I don’t even need and then can’t delete. So it’s like I got rid of all my pictures so I could have space to take more pictures, and then it took up all my space with crap I don’t want. But whatever, at least it works most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’ve deleted everything I can. What I do to free up space is actually “Clear data” on apps that I don’t use. I don’t really want to reset to factory bc I would lose my contacts. I have backed up all my photos on Google Photos though bc I feel like it’s just a matter of time. I should probably see if I can back up my contacts somewhere without downloading yet another app. I have a lot of stuff on an SD card and there is still room on there, but certain stuff NEEDS to be on the phone, but I have no clue how that stuff is taking up all 16 GB of my internal memory. Like what the heck?

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    1. Some people felt like it was more believable, but for me and the way the characters were developed to feel SO strongly about their beliefs.. it didn’t feel real that they just threw all of that away so quickly.

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  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry this book ended up being a little bit of a disappointment, it sounded SO good from the synopsis and… well, despite being a romance lover, I’m a little sad that it was so romance focused when this had so much potential, world-building wise :/ thank you so much for sharing this review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It just… wasn’t totally for me. It was good, but romance heavy when I wanted it to be world building heavy. You might love it though. I would read other reviews before you decide not to give it a chance. I am not a huge romance lover anymore. I think I just read too many of them and it doesn’t always feel real for me anymore. When it does I am a huge fan though.

      Liked by 1 person

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