Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Monday, September 9, 2019


by Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

Oh, this was mind-blowing, friends! I picked up Serpent & Dove when, out of the blue, I felt an intense craving for a YA paranormal/fantasy book. This book could not have fallen under my radar at a better time. It was everything I was hoping it would be, and far more. Serpent & Dove is a sexy page-turner that left me feeling breathless for more.

Serpent & Dove is told in the dual POVs of Lou, a witch who is trying to escape her past, and Reid, a rigid rule-following witch hunter devoted to his job. Both of these characters have striking personalities that will stay with you long after you are done with the book. I adore Lou and the fire she possesses. After running away from her coven, she is trying her best to survive in the streets where witches like her are persecuted by witch hunters. Though Lou's life is undeniably full of struggles, she manages to keep an optimistic outlook. She is truly a breath of fresh air with her humorous and energetic temperament. Lou's impassioned nature does mean that trouble often finds her, but even when she falters, it's hard not to love the girl. She is simply one of those endearing characters you love, faults and all. As much as I loved how kick-butt she was, it was her moments of softness that endeared her to me. Your heart breaks along with her and you just want her to find peace from her wretched mother and past. Lou's latest troubles throws her right in the arms of Reid. Reid is a man of honor and honesty. He is very stoic at first glance and he only allows for the wall around him to crack slowly throughout the book. The more we learn of him, the more I grew to love him. Though he is quite stern and rigid, Reid is in no way not a young man of fervor. It just takes a while for his passionate side emerge.

When Lou and Reid are found in a compromising position after Reid foils her latest heist, they are forced to marry by the archbishop. Neither of them wants this marriage, but they have no choice. These two are polar opposites when it comes to their personalities, but her chaotic energy balances out his austereness. These two obviously do not like each other, but their forced proximity and their marriage-of-convenience leads to a slow-burn romance that has them opening up to each other. I love a good slow-burn torture and the romance in Serpent & Dove embodies everything that I love about this trope. Their fan-yourself-hot chemistry is delectable, and add the fact that Reid does not know his new wife is a witch, it's also a romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for that moment when the truth emerges. I should note that even though this book is published by a teen imprint, I would likely classify this book as New Adult because it does have an on-page explicit sex scene.

We also have a really fun secondary cast in this book who add another dimension to the story. Ansel, a witch hunter that Lou annoys and befriends, and Coco, Lou's fellow witch friend, are my favorite.! The 17th century French setting is another memorable part of Serpent & Dove. Shelby Mahurin's talent and craftsmanship shines in the rich and realistic worldbuilding. You feel as though you are there with Lou and Reid. The book also delivers on an exciting and dangerous plot that has you turning the pages of the book into the late hours of the night. It will have your heart racing, but what an experience. Not only that, but the book cleverly comments on sexism and the choices sometimes forced on women.

When I finished Serpent & Dove, I was simply desperate for more. The sequel cannot get here fast enough! I haven't felt this strongly about a non adult romance book in a very long time, so I'm really glad to have found this incredible book that I loved. I hope you give it a try too.

What are some fantasy books that surprised you this year?
Let me know in the comments below!

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