Book Review- Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
This book is not only about the married couple and the endless war they wage against each other throughout the book, but also about dark family secrets and the truth about why and how Lou ended up where she is today...
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin is a chaotic, humorous, and dark book, gleaming with anticipation and fiendishly wicked plots.
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.
Upon first hearing about the book, to reading the description and glancing at the cover, nothing sparked my interest besides the fact that it was a popular book on booktok and bookstagram ,as well as being infamous enemies turned lovers. So, when I finally gave the book a read (holding no expatiations whatsoever) I was presently surprised by the plot, characters, and mysteries it had to offer.
The Plot- What happens when a witch marries a witch hunter? Chaos. Just starting the first chapter, I was hard on riddling out the possibilities of how Lou (our daredevil heroine) could possibly be forced to do anything, much less marry one of her biggest enemies!
As I said before the book held many surprises. This book is not only about the married couple and the endless war they wage against each other throughout the book, but also about dark family secrets and the truth about why and how Lou ended up where she is today.
When it was first hinted at, I was captivated by Lou’s big family secrets, and what she was running away/needed protection from. As the book progressed, however, the big twist was a little short of my expectations following the big hype. I can see what draws so many people to this book, but for me personally, the “Big Secrets” was little more than a small disappointment. This fact does not reflect on the whole book up to that point, as the witty dialogue, knives to throats, and broken humour more than make up for it.
The Characters- There really isn’t much to say about the characters – they aren’t particularly well written, and in-depth, however, they aren’t written poorly either. The only thing I think is worth pointing out is the character’s interactions with each other and the witty, sniding, complicated relationships they have, adding to the way it affects their dialogues.
In the beginning, Lou and Ried were constantly antagonizing each other, with silent jabs, and passive-aggressive comments in almost all their conversations and interactions. While Reid is a more straight foreword person who has dedicated his life and morals towards his duties, Lou is an easy-going jovial girl who is a lot to handle – especially when it comes to appropriateness.
“Our lives reflect our hearts.”
Reid- He is by far one of the best characters in this book, in my opinion, he is extremely relatable in terms of his awkward interactions with the charismatic Louise and certainly adds the much needed comedy with his reactions to Lou’s attempts of cracking jokes. Although he does break my heart towards the end, he makes up for his mistakes and thoroughly earns the award of being one of my favourite characters.
“Why is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife?”
Louise- Lou was certainly a mystery of a character during the beginning half of the book, the adventure starts off with her trying to steal something to protect herself from somebody she simply refers to as “Her”. This book is written from multiple perspectives and during Lou’s POV’s I found myself eager to uncover any hint she gives of her past. Even though I expressed how I found her past to be like during the reveal at the end of the book, this in no way reflects back to the character herself.
“Maybe men can learn a thing or two from women.”
Lou and Reid aren’t the only main characters in the story, there are so many more additional characters that add significant contributions to the plot, I am hoping to mention more of them in my next review from this series- Blood and Honey, where I feel like I can write more about them and have more to offer. I cannot wait to tell you my opinions on Coco, Lou’s best friend and an amazing woman in her own right!
Romance- This book is mostly a romance, with some underlying plot which I hope will be uncovered more in the sequel. Lou and Reid. Possibly one of the best or one of the worst couples I have read about. The scene is a classic cliché of forbidden love, combined with the enemies to lover’s trope, with the addition so much angst. Their romance is a slow burn from strangers to enemies to friends, to lovers to enemies to lovers.
“Death couldn’t take him away from me. He was me. Our souls were bound.”
The author certainly took her time with writing their relationship and the quality of her work really shines through when reading the book. Their relationship. is funny and jovial, and they joke around like friends teasing each other endlessly. Reading this is simply heart-warming and I loved every second of it. Some of the end scenes were sure to break my heart, but that added to the book as a whole, and it was definitely enjoyable enough to be a reread.
The Magic System- The magic system in this book is lovely. I love the witch in the woods vibe the book gives me, and the magic system just adds to the overall effect. So far there are two types of witches. Lou can only do magic if she gives something in return, acting as a sort of sacrifice to keep the balance of things.
This goes so well with her best Friends’ type of magic which is all related to her blood and the types of magic properties it has. The author has written it in a way for it to sound simple yet be more complex. I feel as though we have barely started to discover the possibilities of Lou’s magic and I hope to see more of it in the upcoming books.
“Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.”
After reading this book, I am excited to read the next two books in the series as I hope that will broaden the characters, and give them more personality. I am excited to see a new side of their interaction with one another and see what the plot has in store for two of my favorite characters.
In conclusion, I give Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin a 4.5 out of five for hilarious dialogue, a sharp plot twist, and lots of action, I recommend this book to anybody in a reading slump, or in the general mood for a laugh.
About the Author
Shelby Mahurin grew up in a small town in Indiana, where she used her wild imagination to conjure up dragons from cows and magic wands from ordinary sticks. That imagination didn’t fade when she grew up, and her debut novel- Serpent and Dove was released in 2019. She currently lives near that small farm with her husband, toddlers, two dogs, and one cat. Other books she has written include Blood and Honey and Gods and Monsters, all part of the Serpent and dove trilogy.