Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


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 unionβ€”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’m a huge fan of enemies to lovers so when this was recommended to me I couldn’t help but pick it up. Then I saw a really hilarious roast review of the story and I thought ‘oh no, is this going to be bad?’ so I put off reading it for a while. I’m glad I finally picked it up though! I think it’s a book that can be really fun if you just don’t take it too seriously. πŸ˜‰

Let me start out with the world building here which was, perhaps, the most confusing part for me. It feels like a sort of 16th century France. But then there is some technology that is a little bit later than that and also, from the names, it’s obviously a totally made up secondary world. And yet they keep speaking French? So….??? Also, the way the dialogue is interesting in that sometimes it feels right for whatever era the author is trying to portray, but then other times it feels completely modern. However, I’ve chosen to take a Knight’s Tale approach to this in that it’s sometimes modern because it’s easier for a modern audience to understand the ‘translation’ if you will. I don’t know if that was the author’s intention, but that’s how I’m taking it. And honestly the dialogue didn’t bother me as much as the rest of the confusing world building because it was pretty funny at times. Other times it felt a bit awkward. But mostly I was amused. There are some other things about the world that were interesting to me, such as the different factions of witches and the way the magic works, but even those things felt like they weren’t completely thought out–I would have liked to have seen those ideas more developed, but it wasn’t a major hinderance in my overall enjoyment of the book.

Now, for my favorite part of any book–the characters. Louise aka Lou is both really fun and really frustrating. She’s loud and crass and the last thing you expect from a witch trying to hide from the authorities. She’s been surviving on her own for the last couple of years and is basically a street thief. Meanwhile you have Reid who is a which hunter aka a Chasseur. He’s been raised by the archbishop and fed this doctrine his whole life about how witches are not human, they’re demons and they all need to be killed and sent back to where they’ve come from. So you have a witch and a witch hunter and that’s a great set up. But I feel like it fails a bit in the execution. While I did really enjoy Lou and Reid together, I feel like it didn’t nail down the real nature of the conflict between them and instead focused on more petty issues to create constant tensions between them. Mostly how stodgy and stuck in his ways Reid is and how much of a wildcat Lou enjoys being for the sake of getting under Reid’s skin. Nevertheless, I did have a fun time with their banter and part of me loved how Lou liked being so outrageous out of spite. I did buy their romance as well and while I wish it would have explored the deeper issues more in depth, it was kind of fun. I did appreciate Reid’s character because you can tell from the beginning that he’s not a true fanatic in that he repeats the words and believes himself to be a believer but you can see that his actions don’t always match up with that thought. You can tell right away that he may be able to be swayed from his thinking.

As far as the pacing and plot, well, the pacing was pretty good. I didn’t understand a lot of the plot. I mean, I understood what it was supposed to be, but there are so many plot holes in this story it could be made of swiss cheese. I just don’t get the logic. Also there were so many reveals and plot twists. Like…wow, what a coincidence, isn’t it crazy how this worked out? Once again, if you push those to the side and don’t think to hard about it then you can just go with it and have a good time, kind of like soap operas. πŸ™‚

Overall, this was a fun book, although I did have to go into it with the idea that it would be a bit ridiculous to enjoy it. 3.5/5 stars.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

  1. Mary Drover says:

    I felt pretty similarly about this, though enjoyed it enough that I was excited for the sequel, which ended up somehow being even more of a plot hole ridiculous mess, to the point where it slipped past enjoyment and into me kind of not wanting to finish out the trilogy. Alas, we’ll have the fun romp of the first one, I guess!

  2. dinipandareads says:

    I honestly can’t remember much of the world building and though I started off feeling lukewarm about the romance between Lou and Reid, I did end up getting really on board with them and I loved their banter and sparky chemistry! πŸ˜‚ I’m honestly a little worried about the second book cos I’ve heard it’s awful but I’m going in with fluff expectations so hopefully that’ll make it more enjoyable! Great review πŸ˜‰

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, this wound up being pretty fun. I am also worried about book two from the things I’ve heard but I still want to check it out. May our expectations work out for us LOL. Thanks, Dini!

  3. @lynnsbooks says:

    I think if a book is entertaining that can definitely be good enough – although the fact that everyone seems to dislike the sequel would put me off picking this one up.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

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