Serpent & Dove: ARC Review

Perfect for fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope, Serpent & Dove is powerful and full of swoon worthy moments, but an over abundance of snark and a shaky magic system keep this from being the perfect book.
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Serpent & Dove
Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Synopsis: 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.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage. Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy duology will leave readers burning for more.

Serpent & Dove, Shelby Mahurin’s debut novel, is a stunning start to the career of a fantasy writer that I’m sure will take up much real estate on my book shelves. And while Serpent & Dove was lacking in certain areas for me, I devoured this beast of a novel and relished every moment of it.

Even though I felt it was a bit long at 528 pages, I can honestly say I was amused the entire time. Lou is fierce and strong, but she has a realistic vulnerability to her that makes her accessible. I will admit, that at times, Lou’s snark made me roll my eyes but I enjoyed her as a character. Reid has the best character growth of the novel and is wonderfully swoon worthy. The buildup between Lou and Reid was nothing short of enthralling. There are a host of side characters that get varying degrees of development, but by far the best of the bunch is Coco. A blood witch with some serious sass, Coco always commands the scene when she is on the page.

I do wish there had been a little more exploration and explanation of the magic system. Coco’s blood magic made sense, but it was the type of magic we saw the least. Lou’s magic has something to do with seeing golden patterns and trades with the universe or something? It never quite made sense to me and as a lover of unique magic systems, this bummed me out. I’m hoping for some better understanding in the next book.

There are twists a plenty in this one and the last quarter of the novel was tense and gut-wrenching. After that ending, I am desperately awaiting news of book 2.

Serpent & Dove is available NOW and order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

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