Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.


After my heart was so rudely ripped out by the end of the last book (ANSEL BABY) I was livid. I was sure I was going to hate the third book on principal because ANSEL WASN’T THERE. Therefore, I think I went into this book without a lot of hope. I was prepared to roll over in my grave and suffer. But to my surprise – and delight I should add – this book ended up being my favorite in the series. Or at the very least tied with the first book. I liked the second book fine, but it wasn’t mind blowing for me, but this one was.

I think as the conclusion to a series Mahurin did an excellent job of wrapping up the series and getting us to a place where it may not be super happy, but was happy enough. I feel that had the ending been over happy that it wouldn’t have fit with the overall tone and theme of the previous books. Why am I talking about the ending first? Because I feel like it was a good ending, and that the rest of the book really show Mahurin’s talents to get us there, and the ending was sublime. I was very happy with it.

Mahurin is a talented writer. She drew me in and made me love Lou and Reid and the world they inhabit. We have a full cast of characters that we both love and hate (love you Coco!) Even Beau and Celie were amazing in this one! I felt that she has really made the characters easy to love. Sometimes larger casts can be hard to handle, because characters end up being lackluster or not fully developed. I am happy to say that this isn’t a problem in this book.

In this book we do get several perspectives aside from Lou and Reid, one from a witch, and one from another character…which the reveal is worth it. I cried. Mahurin makes them so different and it is easy to tell who they are.

I also liked Lou and Reid’s journey in this book as they learn each other again as well as find themselves and what they want. We have actually communication skills here, people! Which made me very happy overall.

Do you want to know what I also love? Worldbuilding! I feel like  this world Mahurin has created is so well done, clearly based in history, but still has a fantasy element to it. And in this book we do get more of the world that she has created for us as well as more background on Coco! I loved those parts of the book.

I like how we get a theme that runs through the book, and I also like how Mahurin created the witches in this series. I think they are fleshed out and create a lot of interest.

We also get a bit of political intrigue as we did in book two, but it was a bit more obvious in this one. Still, I loved how it added to the worldbuilding. It was all so cohesive.

I’m honestly very much in love with the series as a whole. I think it was fantastic – and one that I will be binge reading to get the full experience of it. I will admit I wept a little at the end, not too much, but some. It also gave me a nice big book hangover. It was hard to move on from this book. I actually would love a novella – just an aftermath kind of thing. This is because I am not quite ready to let go of these characters just yet.

Title: Serpent & Dove
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 512
Source: Bought


Goodreads 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.

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

There’s something haunting about a body touched by magic.

And with that opening line, this series draws you in. There have been a lot of people raving about this series, and I admit, the description of it certainly seemed appealing to me. Enemies to friends to lovers? That is usually a SIGN ME UP kind of book. And overall, I’m glad I read the book. I think there were a lot of good things about the book, but I didn’t overwhelmingly love the book as in a five star rating. And there are a couple reasons why. But they’re small.

So this supposedly takes place in a romantic 17th century France. That’s the backdrop for this…except it’s not France France, it’s more like an alternate France. Anyways, that part doesn’t particularly matter in terms of the story. The important parts are the witches and the witch hunters. The church has their very own special section dedicated to hunting witches down and burning them at the stake. Your pretty typical response to witches.

I mean, as far as a plot goes, it isn’t overwhelmingly complicated, and it isn’t boring. I had known going in that there was also the romance aspect to this: that there was a forced marriage. Essentially Lou and Reid are forced to marry to please the Archbishop to get them out of trouble. Neither particularly want to do this, but it benefits them both in some ways. Or so they think. All in all, as a plot I think it was interesting enough to hold my attention. I enjoyed Lou and Reid’s banter for the most part, but there were a couple times I was just “eh” about it. The end reveal was a bit…I wasn’t that enthralled with it. There were a couple twists and turns overall, but I will say I had guessed some of it. In a second reread I appreciated it a bit more.

“I doubt you’d ask such a question if you had. Trousers are infinitely more freeing.”

As a character, I loved Lou. I think she was a great heroine. She was a really fun character that I loved. She was complicated and she was great. I really loved her relationships with the other characters. They were all generally absolutely hilarious on all levels.

Then, we also have a bit of a contradictory message with Reid and Lou’s relationship at parts. There are a few instances when I feel like Mahurin undermined her own message. But overall, I think it was relatively small parts.

I was about to marry a wild animal.

Reid I found boring mostly. I didn’t really enjoy his chapters all that much, I would have much preferred this book to be solely from Lou’s POV, it felt a bit awkward switching back and forth at some points in the book. I know it was to show different perspectives, but I wasn’t totally sold on it. Even in a second read, I like him more, but not enough to totally be ga-ga over him.

I did like Mahurin’s writing style. I think she is a good writer, and I think although the pace was somewhat stilted at some points, a good job was done. Overall, I liked the book, but I didn’t five-star love it. It’s closer to a 4 than a 3 star rating for me. I’d read the next book in the series. I enjoyed reading it and I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time!