Caitsbooks Reviews: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin (5 Stars)

Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin – My New Obsession (ARC Review)

Quick Stats:

Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Serpent and Dove felt like it was made for me. From the characters to the setting, everything was well crafted and absolutely addictive. 

“A witch and a witch hunter bound in holy matrimony. There was only one way such a story could end–a stake and a match.”

[ Related: 15 September 2019 Book Releases ]

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Mature Content, Suicide Mention, Self Harm (for magic), Rape Mention, Murder, Illness //

“They might’ve all been hypocrites, but I was the biggest of all.”

Release Date: 9/3/2019
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Page Count: 528
Premise:

Serpent and Dove follows Louise la Blanc, a witch who fled her coven, and Reid Diggory, a witch hunter. After a chaotic second meeting, Lou and Reid must marry to save his reputation, and Lou would rather face the pyre than the enemies chasing her. However, when feelings grow, what was first a simple arrangement becomes infinitely more complicated.

Read more to see why I adore Serpent and Dove!

“There are some things that can’t be changed with words. Some things have to be seen. They have to be felt.”

Writing & Setting

Historical novels, or fantasy books heavily influenced by history, intimidate me. While I do love them, a lot of times the story feels bogged down by world-building. So naturally, I was a little scared when starting this book. I had no reason to be. The writing in this book is so easy to immerse yourself into. The dialogue is funny and witty, the inner thoughts of the two protagonists are painfully relatable, and the world felt fleshed out without heavy exposition dumps! Speaking of the world- I love this magic system. It’s well written, with plenty of specifics so you’re never left confused, yet vague in certain areas so you can be surprised. This is one of the few fantasy magic systems that I feel I truly understand, and what makes me really happy is that no one seems overpowered, and there are things in place so no one can become overpowered. 

“It doesn’t end in death. It ends in hope. Hope. A hope they would never see, would never feel, would never touch. As elusive as smoke. As flickering flames.”

Plot

Serpent and Dove is written in a way where you don’t realize how fast the pages are going by until three hours have passed and you’re halfway through the book. Speaking from experience. I had to physically put the book far away from me so I wouldn’t finish it in one day. Why didn’t I want to finish it in one day? It was too fun and I knew the second I was done, I wouldn’t be able to read anything else because I would just want more of this book. (I was right, by the way).

The plot is fast-paced, with plenty of action, magic, and drama. The romance plotline definitely plays a huge part in this book, but there is still a lot happening outside of it. There are great themes discussed, plenty of action, and no unnecessary drama.

“Witches and people alike. One and the same. All innocent. All guilty. All dead. But not me.”

Characters

I would read 100 pages of these characters just sitting in a room together. There are four main characters, with two POV characters, and they all interact really well. Each one of them has a well-defined personality and felt grounded and realistic. They also had amazing interactions and bounced off each other well. Even the side characters were multi-faceted and compelling, no matter how few pages they were on. There’s not a single character in this book who I wouldn’t want to know more about. 

But back to our main protagonists, Lou and Reid. I love them so much. Seriously. Their opposing personalities lead to some great banter, but even on their own, they are strong and fascinating main characters. Lou is a strong female protagonist, but she sets herself apart from the other strong female protagonists in YA fantasy by not being perfect and having weaknesses and flaws that ground her. Speaking of flaws- Reid. Reid has the best character development I’ve seen in a while. He’s a fascinating character from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see where this series takes his journey! 

“The future is inevitable. We might as well be proactive”

[ Related: July Favorites, Reading Rush Wrap Up, + My August TBR]

Conclusion

Pros- awesome characters, absolutely amazing romance, great magic system, and setting
Cons- I don’t know how I can move on after this book. It ruined me for all other books 
Overall- 5/5 stars. 
Serpent and Dove is a must-read 2019 release. This book reminded me exactly why I love fantasy. I started to reread it the second I put it down.

If You Liked Serpent & Dove, I’d Recommend:

Bonus: More Quotes I Love!

“With faith and fire in his heart, he hunted the wicked and set them apart to burn at the stake for evil committed…for the Lord’s word no magic permitted.” 

“I wanted him. All of him. We could make it work. We could write our own ending, witch and witch hunter be damned. We could be happy.”

“Why the fuck is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife?”

(I’m sorry but that last one always makes me laugh. Poor Reid did not sign up for any of this)

Are you excited to read Serpent and Dove? Who is your favorite fictional witch?

- Cait







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4 thoughts on “Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin – My New Obsession (ARC Review)

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