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 union—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.

My rating: ⭐⭐

Once again I failed to resist the hype and once again I fell flat on my tender backside.

I was led by a carrot bait in the form of a love/hate relationship, which is my favorite trope in YA. I should’ve known a book with a title like Serpent&Dove is destined to be a sappy historical romance masked under the guise of a young adult fantasy. Don’t worry, though, it’s not Sarah J. Maas level of mountain explosion but it’s close.

“It’s . . . a love story.” Her brows shot up, and she examined the cover with newfound interest. “Oh?” “Oh.” I nodded, biting the inside of my cheek to keep from smiling. “It’s tastefully done. The characters are from warring kingdoms, but they’re forced to work together when they uncover a plot to destroy the world. They loathe each other initially, but in time, they’re able to set aside their differences and—” “It’s a bodice-ripper, isn’t it?” She waggled her eyebrows devilishly, flitting through the pages to the end. “Usually the love scenes are toward the back—”

Serpent&Dove is a bodice-ripper with a love scene toward the back. I can’t say it’s a terrible bodice-ripper example, because it has humor, and scary witches, and decent action scenes, but the core of the book are still romantic smelling shenanigans.

Our faces inches apart, I fought the urge to lean down and inhale. Not to smell me—but to smell her. When she hadn’t been traipsing in the infirmary, she smelled . . . good. Like cinnamon.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with romantic shenanigans, and if you are into something of the kind, this book might be your sort of sin. But for me, all this smelling and mountain shaking becomes some kind of a pet peeve in YA. Ironic, considering the characters use pet peeve phrasing in their conversation. I am not sure it was a thing in the 15th or 16th century, this book seems to be taking place in. My point is the characters acted too modern for their time to consider it fitting for the setting.

Some of the reviews that seduced me into reading this book mentioned that the main characters remind of Nina and Mathias from Six of Crows. I can see there’s something slightly similar in ‘from enemies to lovers’ and ‘a shy boy and a brazen girl’ vibe, but Serpent&Dove is a more primitive version that presses on the nether regions of one’s body instead of pressing slightly higher.

Overall, Serpent&Dove felt like an unnecessary book to me. Neither characters nor their tale of woe was memorable enough to make me feel a shred of connection. There are better romantic shenanigans out there…


3 thoughts on “Book review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

  1. –A Court of Books–

    NOOOOOO! Serpent & Dove is my favourite read of the year 😦 I’m so sorry it didn’t work for your Nastassja 😦

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s