BOOK REVIEW : SERPENT & DOVE (SERPENT & DOVE #1) BY SHELBY MAHURIN
TITLE : Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
AUTHOR : Shelby Mahurin
GENRE : NA, Fantasy
FBRC RATING : 3.5 Stars
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.
FBRC REVIEW :
Serpent & Dove was all I could see for a while almost everywhere on the internet. The book was fun to read, not so believable at times. I liked the story but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I love the cover and found it be really stunning, the blurb also drew me in. The idea of a witch hunter and witch in an arranged marriage, the possibility of a hate-to-love trope all appealed to me.
Reid and Lou seemed to be a recipe for disaster and their interactions were fun to read. Reid seemed to be the stereotypical hero and Lou is wild, loud and just colorful. Reid and his beliefs are the only things he cares about. His love and sense of duty drive him. Whereas Lou lives each day as an adventure. She is on the opposite spectrum from him on all levels. She has the zest for life that comes from being free to live. Her life under her mom and the coven was stifling and leave her no choice but to give up her life as a witch. She doesn’t want to succumb to her fate and wants to be able to live her life on her own terms.
The Archbishop is someone whom I would have loved to see more of. He is interesting and his motivations are something I would have loved to see. We don’t get his perspective and his actions are so hypocritical and overall he is I find a very intriguing character in this book and has a central role to play in the unfolding of the drama.
I would have loved to see more of the witches, their story and history in the book rather than the abrupt explanation we got towards the ending of the book. Lack of knowledge about the different kinds of witches and their inner workings was evident in Reid’s behavior. The idea of hating something without having enough evidence or knowledge about it is very clear in this book. The fact that they were the organization meant to eradicate the witches but have no idea of the presence of the two kinds of witches but have heard of the head of the covens seemed a little bizarre to me. The reactions you see from them and yet being ignorant about a lot of the history seemed odd to me.
The way the story kind of picked up the pace and the final events got rushed was not something I liked. I would have to see more of an explanation as to the why and how of it. I had a lot of questions about the coven and the people and their history in general. Instead of a detailed rich history and world-building, we got more of a focus on Lou and Reid’s relationship. I felt a lot of the details got rushed in the end and we get the sense that things are only going get really convoluted.
I think there is potential for the book to pick up from the ending and develop more of the magic system and give us some clarity to the events. Overall the book was long and a bit slow and I expected more of magic, action, drama and adventure and some cool world-building as well. So I can understand where the book failed me. But I still think it is possible to develop a brilliant story.
I felt the main focus was on the romance and hence the magic system and the world-building took a back seat to it. I can see the possibility of a great story and hopefully we will get a more adventurous and action-packed book to follow up on this one.
I gave it 3.5 stars. If you love romantic fantasy that has a marriage-of-convenience, hater-to-lovers trope set in a fantasy world then this book is for you. I recommend checking it out and seeing if this is something you will be interested in.