Serpent & Dove — Book Review

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Shelby Mahurin


Young Adult/fantasy







After Lou and Reid make separate mistakes that impact each other, they are forced into holy matrimony by the Archbishop. There is only one problem: Reid is a witch hunter and Lou is a witch. Will she be able to keep her secret safe, or is she doomed?


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. And there are a couple reasons why. But they’re small. Overall, the book just didn’t totally resonate with me.

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 entirely 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 nothing I would call spectacular.

“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, even if she was proclaiming the feminist message of the book rather than showing it. I think it is a small portion of it. I’m glad it has the feminism in it, but it is mostly white feminism. So while I enjoyed it for the reason it was trying to empower women, I understand that there are still other underlying issues with it.

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.

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 love it. I’d read the next book in the series, but it isn’t one I’d rush out to buy on release date. But I liked it – I enjoyed reading it and I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time!

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4 replies on “Serpent & Dove — Book Review”

Aww, darn it. Sorry this one didn’t turn out to be one you loved! I love the sound of enemies to friends to lovers, but I’m not sure how I feel about proclaiming feminism rather than showing it. Perhaps Lou will show it in the sequel? I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t say anything about white feminism (other than the fact the book IS set in 17th century France? I don’t know, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself until I read the book.).

Mere says:

Yeah, I know some POC on twitter at least had commented how much it was white feminism…and I think that’s because there weren’t really any POC at all in this book? For me at least it read very white centered,
but that could just be me. idk. It was still a good book overall, and I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’ll probably do a reread and see if I still feel the same way later. 🙂 I would love to see what other people thought about it/think about it!

Laurie says:

This is a book I changed my rating for, from 4 to 5 stars. I’m sorry it wasn’t working this well for you. Reid was supposed to be boring because that’s what his upbringing taught him, but I guess he will be more likeable in the sequel.

By the way, will you include a Bloglovin or WordPress follow button? That way, it’s easier to follow your blog 🙂

Mere says:

I just felt that even if it was his upbringing, he wasn’t a terribly original character — he was boring in the sense that we see a lot of his type of characters. It was nothing new or exciting, especially the end — I was not surprised at all by that portion with him.

Yeah, I really wasn’t feeling this book all that much. I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel unless my library gets it.

A wordpress follow button will do the same thing if you type your e-mail into the subscribe box! 🙂

Neither of those work on my site at the moment — it’s something to do with jetpack and we’re working on it.

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