Gods & Monsters | book review

Gods & Monsters

Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove, #3
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 612
Publisher: HarperTeen
Original Publication Date: 2021
Genre(s): New adult, Romance, Fantasy

After the death of one of their own, and having lost a few others in the chaos, Lou and the gang are out for blood. Lou is determined to march on Chateau le Blanc and burn it down—with her mother and sisters inside it. But Reid and the others are convinced something is…different about Lou. Something beyond grief and heartache. She doesn’t seem quite right. And once they figure out just how right they are, their plan takes a detour to save Lou’s life—if they haven’t lost her already. Because they know only she will be able to defeat Morgane and end things once and for all.

I know you’re all eagerly awaiting my review of the last book in this trilogy, as well as my thoughts on the series as a whole. Which is why I consumed this book in less than 24 hours. …but also because I just wanted to be done. And now I am and I will never read them ever again. Huzzah!

Gods & Monsters picks up where Blood & Honey left off—on that cliffhanger where we find out Nicholina has possessed Lou. The book follows the same format of alternating perspectives, except a few new ones are thrown into the mix, including Nicholina as Lou. Lou fans, fear not, as we still get Lou’s perspective—or her…soul’s(?) perspective—from within her mind/body. I’ll go ahead and be real with you all right now: I skimmed all of Lou’s chapters until she was back in her own body. I absolutely hated them. I felt they served no purpose to the narrative and we would have been better off not having Lou’s perspective during this time.

Throughout all of book 2, Lou and Reid’s relationship is tested. They basically spend the entire book arguing, and somehow lost pretty much all their charm and chemistry from book 1. I expected in this final book that once Lou returned to her body, she and Reid would quickly mend their fractured relationship and we’d get that nice final part of their arc to close out the book. What actually happened still makes me angry two days after finishing the book. Instead, Reid erases his memories of Lou so that Morgane also forgets Lou.

Why? I don’t really know. To buy them time, I guess. It did little to no good, to be honest, and felt like an annoying way to not only lengthen the already too long book, but to also try to bring back that enemies to lovers magic from the first book. Basically Reid hates Lou all over again, but on top of that is told she’s a witch right off the bat, supposedly making it much harder for him to fall in love with her as opposed to how he fell the first time. It doesn’t, though, obviously. He battles his feelings for her and eventually chooses to remember her, and then does. It was not the same as the magic of their relationship in book 1. It felt like Mahurin was trying too hard to bring back that enemies to lovers feel and it didn’t work for me. Also, adding that to the same book where Lou isn’t really herself because she’s been possessed is honestly overkill. Like okay, chill, we don’t need that much strife in their relationship. Like this was supposed to be the book where they healed, not started all over. I could have done with just one or the other plot device, not both.

All in all, there was too much going on. With the first two books clocking in at over 500 pages each, and this last behemoth over 600 pages, this series is just too long. I feel like if Mahurin would have shortened each book by half the amount of pages, maybe it would have been a good trilogy. Maybe. I still feel like I’m just not a fan of her writing style. The only ounce of emotion I felt while reading this book was at the very end, during the epilogue. WHICH, by the way, was beautiful but also incomplete. I liked the wedding. I liked that Ansel was watching. But I hated that we don’t really find out about what happens in the world after Morgane is killed. Is Beau ruling the kingdom and has he put an end to the witch hunting? Does the kingdom feel at peace with the witches? Are the Chasseurs still a thing, and are they allowing women in their ranks? (Oh, and speaking of the Chasseurs, Célie wanted to be one? That just didn’t make sense. Her inclusion in this book felt so random and I kind of hated her for most of it. I didn’t like how she was written at all.)

Overall, I did not enjoy this series. I wish Mahurin would have shortened each book, or maybe just wrote S&D as a standalone novel with a different ending. I don’t know. Maybe there’s nothing she could have done to make me like the story. I’m pretty sad I bought all the books before reading the first. I don’t want to say I wish I never read this trilogy, but also…I don’t feel like I’ve gained anything from reading it. As someone who has finally reached the end, I can honestly say if you’re on the fence about reading this trilogy, you should consider passing on it. Even if it sounds like a story you’d enjoy, it wasn’t executed as well as it should have been.

I’m happy to finally be done. I will most likely never read this series again. It was overhyped and is not at all what I expected. Romantasy fans, you’ve been warned.

My Rating

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