Serpent and Dove

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.

Shelby Mahurin, Serpent and Dove
September 3, 2019

Maggie’s Review

Seriously, the characters of Serpent and Dove are the best part of this book and I honestly don’t even know when it started, but I love them so much that if anything happened to them, I’d die.

They’re both awkward and strong and pushed each other in ways that made me love them even more. Gimme more girls who make their big, burly man blush. I’ll gobble that right up.

I have to admit that it was a bit of a slow start. If Jessi hadn’t told me how much I’d love it, I probably wouldn’t have kept going. But the book really hit its stride a few chapters in and then… I couldn’t put it down.

Y’all. I sobbed at work over this one.

Serpent and Dove has a lot going for it; a truly unique magic system (that we still didn’t learn too much about and it took me some time to really understand it, as I didn’t fully grasp it as it was being used) and characters that are morally gray and lovable. Some of them you just plain love, some you hate to love and others you love to hate.

The setting was really rich and the tension of the story really picked up near the middle to end parts. But I do agree with Jess’s remark. The ending just sort of stopped. It felt like it was trying to be this big “DUN DUN DUN” moment but because we don’t really have any context for that last word. We literally have no idea who this person is and it replaces the tension with confusion. It almost feels like the book was longer but someone decided, “aaaand we’ll chop it off here.”

Still a dang good book though. 100% recommend. 10/10 would cry about these oafs in love again.

Jessica’s Review

There is so much to love about Serpent and Dove, and it all starts with the characters.

Lou and Reid absolutely stole my heart with their awkwardness and attitudes. Lou loves to push Reid’s buttons and his naivete knows no bounds.

I enjoyed Shelby Mahurin’s storytelling craft as she showed us Lou’s life outside of magic and her struggle to remain without it for her own safety. Serpent and Dove also features a magic system which I haven’t seen before, using patterns, smells, and individuality as well as acknowledging the ambiguity of magic’s cost.

Perhaps my favorite part was that the cost of magic was up for interpretation. A broken finger for a broken lock or a memory for memories feature as magic’s equivalent exchange, but later as tensions rise and the need for more complicated spell work comes into play so too does wordplay and a little faulty logic.

My only derogatory remark about Serpent and Dove is in regards to its ending, which seems to just stop like the draft wasn’t supposed to end there at all. As we begin the closing arc, addressing the consequences of the actions in the novel, we just stop. A character who was only mentioned as “my aunt” is finally named, but the name had never been mentioned before in the text. It lost all tension where it should have been a big explosion off the page, especially if it was to be the final word.

Despite that though, I’m proud to add this to my library and my little list of book recs.

Maggie’s Rating: ★★★★☆

Jessica’s Rating: ★★★★☆

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Published by Booked All Night

A podcast & blog about the young adult books that keep us up all night.

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