Serpent & Dove | book review

Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove, #1
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 513
Publisher: HarperTeen
Original Publication Date: 2019
Genre(s): New adult, Romance, Fantasy

“If she was destined to burn in Hell, I would burn with her.”

After escaping her coven two years ago, Louise now hides in the city of Cesarine. She’s given up practicing her magic and depends on petty theft to stay alive. Reid is a Chasseur, a huntsman of the Church. He lives his life by one rule: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But as fate would have it, Lou and Reid are forced to marry—to save Lou’s life and Reid’s reputation. A witch and a witch hunter tie the knot, but will they fall in love despite themselves?

I think in order to enjoy this book, you must first accept that this is much more a romance than it is a fantasy. Though there are witches and magic and other fantasy elements, the story focuses most on Lou and Reid and their enemies to lovers romance. If you go into the story with this in mind, I think you’ll have a better chance of enjoying it.

Serpent & Dove is told in first person POV chapters alternating between Lou and Reid. Lou is a witch; Reid is a witch hunter. Even though Reid is unaware that Lou is a witch, the two still do not get along. Lou is a “heathen” in Reid’s mind—she’s not a prim, proper young lady. Lou’s distaste towards Reid stems beyond him being a huntsman: she can’t stand that he buries his personality to wholly embody a rigid Chasseur, someone who lives in a bleak, black and white world. Obviously these two make for a great enemies to lovers story. My only complaint here is that we get both sides of this enemies to lovers romance, which tends to take away the best parts of that trope. Usually we only see inside one character’s mind: we get to slow see the change from “I hate them” to “I think they’re okay” to “I love them.” But the tension remains throughout because we don’t know what the other side of this romance is thinking—only what they’re doing and what they appear to think/feel through the eyes of our main character. So being able to see inside both characters’ minds and hearts takes away that tension, I think. Because we can see both characters never really hated each other, and both of them are very quickly becoming fond of one another simultaneously. So though I love getting to experience both Reid’s and Lou’s POVs, it absolutely takes a bit away from the trope.

Other than that, I love the dynamic between these two characters. Mortal enemies forced to marry? Only one bed in the room? Both characters with mommy/daddy issues? Sign me up. As I said, the main focus of this book is on the romance between Reid and Lou. Obviously the story revolves around witches and the hunters, but most of the effort is put into the relationship. The beginning of the novel dragged and is hard to get through. I’m not entirely sure where the story takes place, as the world is mostly left unexplained (which does lead to some confusion at times, at least on my end). But if you are just reading this for the banter between Lou and Reid, and the tension between the two, and the steaminess (this is much more NA than YA, friends), then I think you’ll enjoy it just fine. Plus, all the witch vs hunter drama is pretty entertaining in the latter half of the novel, so that should keep your attention, too.

500+ pages is a bit long for this story, but it’s worth it for Lou and Reid. Though the ending left plenty to be explored in the sequel, I’m not sure what to expect. And I’m not sure it’ll hold up to this first installment. Like I said, the highlight of this book is the enemies to lovers romance, so with that played out and exhausted in the first book, will things be just as tense and interesting in the sequel–another 500+ page book? We’ll see.

My Rating

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