Blood & Honey
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove, #2
Page Count: 536
Original Publication Date: 2020
Genre(s): New adult, Romance, Fantasy
After escaping death at the hands of her mother, Morgane le Blanc, Lou and her friends are on the run from the entire kingdom. In order to defeat Morgane, the gang knows they need powerful allies—and lots of them. Though tensions are high and a rift has begun forming between Lou and Reid, Lou knows that the only way they are to gather enough allies is to split up. So while Lou, Coco, and Ansel enter blood witch territory, Reid, Madame Labelle, and Beau go in search of the werewolves. Even if these groups agree to help Lou defeat her mother, will it be enough? And can she protect the ones she loves in the process?
Like a fool, I purchased this entire series before even reading the first book. Rookie mistake. Had I read the first book without buying them all, I’d mostly likely have given up on the series. That’s not typically something I do, but it’s better than wasting my time with a series I know I’m not really going to like. Unfortunately for me, I did purchase them all and I refuse to DNF this series. I can’t give them away and I can’t leave them on my TBR cart when I know I won’t ever want to read them and I can’t put them on my shelves knowing I haven’t read them. It’s quite the conundrum. So I’m basically just pushing through despite only being somewhat interested in the story. I’m sure you know where this review is going…
Blood & Honey is told in the same alternating perspective format as the first book, with Lou and Reid as our trusty narrators. The enemies to lovers aspect from the first book is officially gone, and with it a lot of the charm of the first book. Though Lou and Reid do struggle to maintain their happy relationship throughout this book, it’s not the same as it was in Serpent & Dove. Seeing as that was my favorite part of the first book, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the sequel far less. I didn’t connect to them in the slightest, or any of the other characters for that matter. I liked them all, but I felt like I couldn’t get close to them. When something happens to one of the characters in the book, I didn’t even cry. I always cry. So what gives?
The worldbuilding definitely improved in this book, though, so maybe that makes up for the character disconnect? (For you, not for me. I’m really just here for Lou and Reid.) However, I still felt…lost? I don’t know. I’m not sure I’m a fan of Mahurin’s writing. The whole thing feels…a little cringe? Fan fiction-y? Especially some of the dialogue… Maybe that’s just how it’s appearing to me—I feel like I may be in the minority with these opinions. This series was so hyped up, which is why I felt confident buying the whole series without reading book 1 first. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but this series is not really for me. And why is it so long? I really don’t think each book needs to be 500+ pages. I could have done with half that.
If you enjoyed Serpent & Dove, I say go into this book with caution if what truly charmed you was Lou and Reid’s relationship. I’m all-for a sequel that adds bumps to the road for the couple in love, but the magic between the two was lost on me in this book. Perhaps this book just suffered from “middle book syndrome,” to take a term from my friend Heather. Maybe I’ll end up enjoying the last book as much as I did the first (which, to be honest, wasn’t a lot, but it was enough, I guess). I don’t know. Just take my rating as my unpopular opinion and not how I think the book should actually be rated. Being a mood reader that really fell out of the mood to read this series when finishing up with the first book, it could just be that my mood is off. I don’t know. But I definitely had to push through this second book. I really hope you enjoy it more than I did. Sequels are often just a means to get you to the third book, anyway, so if you’re content on reading this series, good luck on getting through this one. I will say the ending has enough packed into it to propel you immediately into the third, and that’s exactly where I’m headed right now.