Saturday, December 21, 2019

Review: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin


Title: Serpent and Dove (Book 1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 2019)

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.

I am back and have been reading up a storm!

The first of this batch of reviews is the much-hyped Serpent and Dove, a book that sold me on the cover alone.

This is a hard review for me to articulate because I really did love this book, but it has massive flaws that bothered me throughout the narrative.

Lou, our protagonist, reminds me a little too much of Celaena Sardothien with her badassery and sass, however all it did was make me want to return to the Throne of Glass universe (which I will do when my books arrive from South Africa in the next week or two). But, she at least isn't a complete carbon-copy and carries her story well.

The story is well-paced and told from alternating points-of-view which suits the duality of this story. We need both sides as these are very different characters from different worlds and seeing their opinions of the other side is imperative to the plot. This is, at the core, a romantic fantasy and it makes for fun reading.

I did also have a problem with the romance and the building of sexual attraction between the two leads. There were times where their interactions felt a little forced and this is perhaps due to this being the author's debut novel. I just wasn't rooting for the couple as hard as I have other fictional couples and don't feel the need to look up fanart or any of that fun stuff to fill the void left until the next book releases.

***Also going to make a note that there is pretty descriptive sex in this for a book aimed at teens. There is no "fade to black" here kids, so be aware if you are getting this for a younger teen.***

But if you like YA fantasy and hate-to-love romance tropes, this is worth picking up.

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