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Serpent & Dove #1

Serpent & Dove

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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.

This is a previously published edition of ISBN 9780062878021. An alternate cover edition can be found here.

513 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Shelby Mahurin

7 books12.3k followers
Shelby Mahurin grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana, where sticks became wands and cows became dragons. Her rampant imagination didn't fade with age, so she continues to play make-believe every day—with words now instead of cows. When not writing, Shelby watches the Office and obsesses over her Twitter feed. She still lives near that childhood farm with her very tall husband, semi-feral toddlers, two dogs, and one cat.

Shelby's favorite books include A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and, of course, Harry Potter.

Her debut novel, SERPENT & DOVE, will release from Harper Teen in Fall 2019, with a sequel to come the following year. She is represented by Sarah Landis of Sterling Lord Literistic.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33,375 reviews
Profile Image for Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰.
173 reviews2,750 followers
December 11, 2019
"It doesn’t end in death. It ends in hope."


Let me tell you about my favourite NA fantasy book of 2019.

A Story About A Witch Getting Hitched But Much More.
Serpent and Dove stole my heart in so many ways and all I want to do is go back and read it all over again. This lush tale full of magic and intrigue is wildly imaginative but soft at the same time and if you're a fan of romance + fantasy, I highly recommend trying this!

description ©

The sales pitch;
- enemies to lovers
- kickass heroines
- lovable side characters (ansel is the floofliest cinnamon roll)
- witches and witchhunters
- one badass song about a lady named Big Titty Liddy.

“I know if you aren’t swearing or singing about well-endowed barmaids, something is wrong.”

I honestly inhaled this and if it weren't for actually having to adult, I would have finished it in one sitting. Before I get into the crooks of my review, let's meet our two main characters;



If there's one thing about this book that completely sold me was the fact that I loved so many characters. Especially these two! The characters in this book had me crying, laughing and turning every page like an addict. Lou stayed true to herself throughout the entire book and was never sorry for being a badass female! I enjoyed her company right from the beginning and it was such a journey to watch her story unfold. Enter Reid... Reid was the horniest mess all encapsulated within the perfect gentleman. He was everything, to be honest. For all those people that mentioned their dynamic is so similar to Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows... you're absolutely right.

“You really think I could knock two fully grown men unconscious?”
My husband’s reply came instantaneously. “Yes.”

Their banter was off the charts, and their chemistry practically flew off the page. Because this book was told in dual POV's, I thought it was going to be a problem to distinguish two separate voices, but that was not the case. Both these characters had such a wonderful character development throughout the story and even better, was seeing them grow together. I do have to say that this is completely a New Adult book, and not a YA. Reid and Lou definielty get hot and heavy ;)

“When you weren’t in bed, I thought maybe—maybe you’d—”
“Left?” I said shrewdly. “It’s still on the agenda.”

For those who know my reviews, you know that I often fall into the overhype trap. I get very excited about books that have very high ratings and come in highly recommended, but then end up disappointed. I think I've finally found the winner, folks. The world-building (a lavish french renaissance-esque setting with a hub full of of illegal magic, a pleasure house with a mysterious lady, and the men of the church) was fantastic, and embedded within the story rather than separated by info-dumps. There were so many plot twists and character arcs that I was invested in more than just the romance between Reid and Lou, the story itself was fan-fucking-tastic. Truly such a magnificent debut! It was so easy to love this book.

“Can you put something on?” He waved a hand in my direction, the other firmly pressed against his eyes. “I can’t talk to you when you’re sitting there—sitting there—”
His teeth clamped together with an audible snap. “Yes.”

I didn't want this story to end to put it plainly. I loved it so much that I'm just going to ignore the randomness of the last couple of chapters (hehe). One shoutout that I would also like to mention is the fact that this book had LGBT characters but didn't make it a big deal or put any spotlight on them. It was briefly mentioned as a passing comment that Coco had female lovers and then when the fucking Prince of the kingdom all but asked if Reid and Lou wanted to join Coco and him on a sexcapade??! Hell yes to queer characters that don't have "being queer" as their major character trait.

description ©

This is going on my all time favourites shelf and I need the second book yesterday.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,793 followers
September 22, 2020
First Read July 2019

Few things compare to that feeling you get after finishing a book that lived up to your expectations. Ever since I read the blurb of this book I knew I was going to love this and I WAS NOT DISSAPOINTED.


It had everything I adore:

• addictive; easy writing
• enemies-to-lovers
• marriage of convenience
• witch/witch hunter romance
• slow burn
• intricate magical system
• heart warming female friendship
• morally grey characters
• inner battle of right and wrong

In the land of Belterra witches are burned at the stake and the Chasseur (Witchhunters), with the Archbishop as their leader, are ruthless. Their number one rule: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Two years ago Lou left her coven (for reasons I shan't go into) and was forced to live a life of suppressing her magical nature and living in constant vigilence. She has to do what she can to survive. That being: lie, steal and kill if necessary. For life is hard in the city of Cesarine, especially for a woman.

She's managed to live for two years undetected. She was careful... up until one burglary (gone wrong) set the wheels in motion.

With the Chasseur on her tail and enemies of her past close on her heels, Lou slips up again and ends up in a compromising position with the Captain of the Chasseur. The Archbishop comes up with a solution: Lou can either go to prison for the rest of her life or she can marry the Captain and save his virtuous reputation.

Lou, being the smart girl she is, chooses marriage to the handsome Captain Diggory ; ). Being married to a Chasseur also grants her the protection she desperately needs from those who (also) hunt her.

Reid Diggory is a dedicated witch hunter. Despite his views on witches, he is honorable and loyal. It was such a pleasure reading about him. He is so set in his ways and it was amazing to see him loosen up and change.

The beginning was really funny as neither of them trusted the other and they were always bickering. Watching as Reid and Lou's relationship slowly blossomed, how they opened up and became more than two people stuck in an unwanted marriage was so beautiful.

I knew who you were. I knew what you believed . . . and I fell in love with you anyway.

Their relationship reminded me so much of Matthias and Nina from Six of Crows. So if you loved those two, you're gonna love this!!!

I'd actually tag this as more of a New Adult than YA.
A warning for the youngins or for anyone not comfortable with it: there is an explicit sex scene. Kinda like ACOMAF.

The romance is a big part of this story but Lou has a part to play in the war between humans and witches and we're always made aware of what could happen if Lou's enemies were to find her.

This whole story revolves around the Church against the Witches. I liked that neither side was portrayed as comepletly good or comepletly bad.

Each side despicable—a twisted perversion of what should’ve been. Each side suffering. Each side capable of great evil. And then there was me.

I looked around at the worshippers once more—the men and women who pleaded for mercy and cried for my blood on the same breath. How could both be in their hearts?

One of the most important things for me when reading is whether I connect with the characters. And I feel like the author did a fantastic job in that regard. I felt their joy and their inner turmoil and by the end I would give an organ for any of these precious characters.

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

I just loved everything about this book. The romance; the action; the plot twists — IT WAS BRILLIANTLY DONE.

I could go on and on about how much I love this book but I think I'll stop now.


Publication Date: 3 September 2019

Quotes might change after final publication

Many thanks to edelweiss for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Second Read April 2020

I told myself I'd just read a few chapters and next thing I know, I was 300 pages in!

The writing was just as addictive as the first time. I love Lou's personality, she's an awesome MC. And as y'all already know, I'm trash for Reid. And Ansel is such a sweet cinnamon roll, this book would be nothing without him

I don't know what possessed me to read this now. There's still four months until the next book comes out (!!!!!).

I'm probably going to reread this book again and again in the future.

‹ Thank you to the publishers for sending me a finished copy of this book ›

My pre-review thoughts on:
Book 2 - Blood and Honey
Book 3 - Untitled
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
November 8, 2019
“Now move, or I swear to God, I will strip naked right here and dance the bourree!”
I thrust my hands on my hips and looked at him expectantly.
He didn’t even glance at the people around us. […]
Instead, he kept his eyes trained on mine, a slow smirk spreading across his face.
“Do it.”

Don't judge me! I can feel your judgement! I know, I know, I liked a YA fantasy, not even in spite of the romance but because of it. What is the world coming to?

I gotta say this right because many people I interact with on Goodreads will not like this book and under different circumstances I would probably be one of them. I really don't want any more of those "I read this because of you and it sucks" comments. So let me just say that this book was sold to me as a paranormal romance, not a fantasy, and I think it was pretty damn thrilling on that front. I got what I went in expecting.

This kind of love/hate sexy banter romance works really well for me. I especially liked Lou, which I think helped the whole thing, to be honest. Her witty comebacks and refusal to sit down and behave made the story even more fun.

I am fairly certain the main issue for most people will be the world of the novel. I'm not even sure what it's supposed to be. It’s some sorta like France fantasy world where people speak French, but it’s not exactly France-France. Yes, I know, I describe things so well. But I don't know what else to say. It's a made-up world and I don't think we're supposed to say it's France, but like, psst, it's also basically France. And it mixes some medieval views on women with more modern attitudes just in case you weren't confused enough.

But, you know what? I didn't really care. I had a lot of fun reading it. The banter, the steaminess, even the whole witches vs witch hunters plot held my attention. That's the central story line. I won't give away how it happens, but Reid is a witch hunter and he is forced by the archbishop to marry Lou who is, unbeknownst to him, a witch. The two of them hate each other, but of course things are about to change. It's exciting!
I knew what came next. I recognized the faint brush of energy against my skin, the familiar thrumming in my ears.
Then came the screams.

I do find myself wondering if the sequel can possibly be as good. This book drags out the tension through 500+ pages (which is too long) and by the end it's kinda been played out. While the witch aspect is somewhat interesting, I do not think I want to read another 500-page novel about just that. I guess I'll see.

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Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,194 followers
March 2, 2022
I know I know this does not have the qualities of a 5 star book. The magic system is nonsense and undeveloped. I have never read fanfiction in my life but this book sure felt like one. However I really really enjoyed it. Reid reminds me so much of myself because I too was raised into a family where there were no curses, and even as an adult now it still feels kinda awkward when someone curses near me.

If you enjoy my reviews and want to support my writing journey, please consider buying me a coffee. Cheers:)
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
January 25, 2020
it seems almost wrong to rate this bc it feels like i'm reviewing a fan fiction that i read at 3 am

there are a bunch of complaints i have about the craft of this book, but at the same time it was a whirlwind of a story that kept me wildly entertained even as i physically stopped myself from rolling my eyes every other chapter.

therefore, it sits right between a one (for quality) and a three (for fun).

although if i EVER see the phrase "big titty liddy" again it's on sight
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
January 14, 2020
This is one of the most ridiculous books I've read this year and it's only January. It has such an absurd setup for the plot, clumsy characterization, and the humor lands very poorly (I cringed every time the main character would loudly sing "Big Titty Liddy"). I did like the 1 sex scene though.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,313 reviews44.1k followers
July 24, 2021
I wasn’t attending to the star giving auctions for too long but finally I FOUND A… ( oh no I couldn’t find an adjective to express my feelings about this book. Fantastic! No! Too weak! Extraordinary! No! Not emphasizing my emotions enough! Okay let’s get over this auction as I resume my brain storming to find the right words!)

One zillion stars… Did I hear three zillion! What the hell! Five gazillion! What! One jillion, one jillion! Okay two, three jillion! Oh the read head crazy lady already wrote 5 squillion starred review check! SOLD!

I still haven’t found an adjective to describe how I fell in love with this book and it will need to be removed from my hands with an operation at the hospital because I accidentally glued my fingers as an answer to my husband tried too hard to pull it back and force me to sleep. Sorry pal, too many books not enough time is motto of my life!

The reasons for a passionate real reader to fall in love with this book are:

-Amazing story telling, fast-pacing progression, heartbreakingly enjoyable, likable, adorable characterizations, satisfyingly well rounded improvisations!

-Main character Lou is a freaking WITCH falls in love with her own hunter, chausseur Reid! Yes, there is flaming, undeniable chemistry, forbidden, impossible, heart-wrecking, angsty, edgy love story! The enemies to lovers and becoming every adorable thing of each other kind of heart throbbing, sweet stories are always my big winners!

Lou is witty, brave, tough, badass witch you want to choose to be on your side because she is more dangerous than she looks. And my dear Reid Diggory, charming, sweet chivalry in his shining fitting armor is one of the most loyal and genuine men in the earth. He still wants to protect Lou which is so noble intention as you consider the woman is already trained enough to protect herself as well.

This is amazing journey took place in 18th century France! Do I need another reason to add for liking this book? O lala! Now I’m sipping my Sancerre that I saved for special occasions (I know my husband will kill me not wait for his birthday to change the bottle with cheap grape juice!) and absorbing each words slowly by touching the pages gently (I bought its ten hardcover copies to share it my friends but I decided I love this book so much and I’ll keep all copies with me! Please don’t tell my husband, I used his credit card that I borrowed to buy him plane tickets for his business trip which I didn’t! Shh!)

This book makes you clap your hands with joy! It makes you smile, gives your soul a genuine laughter, brushes your heart gently and also makes you eat all your nails at the edgy parts and finally makes you jump up and down at your seat with its emotional turmoil.

Oh I felt like non-stop talking PR person and exhausted already to find better words to describe my love about this book but I’m not good at talking. I’m a mediocre writer but I’m a quite lover of reading extra-amazing-fantastic books.


Profile Image for  Teodora .
331 reviews1,775 followers
October 1, 2023
5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

This book's mood song match - Witching Hour by In This Moment


When other girls were playing with their dolls, pretending to be princesses like Rapunzel or Cinderella or whatever, I was hiding in my secret place aka a huge linden tree at the very back of my family’s orchard and pretending that I had the ability to control the elements.

I was basically running around pretending I’m flying on a stick, bending the wind at my will and “magically” talking to my dog (she was basically playing witch with me every day and I swear sometimes I could hear her speaking because I was able to “cast a spell” on her).

Even though it is not exactly how people in general picture witches and magic and spells and stuff Serpent & Dove was the perfect book for the witchling me because magic comes in all forms, sizes and colours. And for the grown-ass witch I am today (because I still love to think I can do magic) it is still something that warms my heart.

For real, every time I read or see something regarding witches or magic my brain cells feel the need to go wild like:


Important things I learned from this book:

- Don’t judge someone because you don’t understand them – not all the good is always entirely good and not all the bad is entirely bad;
- Boys are allowed to be shy and prude, girls are allowed to be daring and bold (and a bit nasty);
- Love is a powerful kind of magic and it is not bound by blood or forged by papers – it’s a wild being who gets to be tamed only when one believes it's true.

I truly loved this book, maybe until the verge of a tiny obsession. I mean, I was sure I was going to like it because I fell in love with that cover (and if you know me, then you know that covers play a big role in my choice of a book). I wasn’t expecting to love this book that much.

The action was lively and very well structured, based on the gruesome history of the witch hunt in the Middle Age, when all women were prone to be witches and burned on a stick immediately. In the name of God, of course. Duh.

I will never ever in a million and two and a half years understand why do people oppress other people only because they are different. People are allowed to believe in anything they want to believe. We must be the masters of our own lives, we cannot let others tell us how to live and in what to believe.
Own it, people or someone else would own it for you.

Okay so, the witches are, in most of the cases, women.

In this book, there are two types of witches: Dames Blanche, whose magic demand balance of nature, and Dames Rouge, whose magic is in their blood (they perform blood magic that doesn’t demand a sacrifice to keep the balance with nature).

Lou is a Dame Blanche. Coco is a Dame Rouge.

Although they were supposed to hate each other, they became friends sisters. And they would go to hell and back for each other because this is a book about powerful women and about sisterhood and love.

“If she was destined to burn in Hell, I would burn with her.”

Lou ran away from her coven because she was afraid to fulfil the one thing she was conceived for: to die. So she turns into a thief and a mischief.

Everything goes upside down when she meets Reid, the very boss of the anti-witch squad. He’s truly annoying in his religious indoctrination. Truly annoying, almost blind at everything concerning that matter. But he’s also very tall and handsome so I could totally see where this was going to go, honestly. And he’s a good man, kind and caring. He's real. Like, damn, he’s got them all, okay? He’s basically like the sweetest raspberry jam in the pantry.

I just love Lou and Reid together. He’s so serious and lives guided by his honour and she’s so vulgar and daring and she drives him mad. But when they fall for each other, they see through each other’s acts. And they fall deeper.

“And here I was – pouring my foolish heart out to you.”

Also, speaking of which, let me tell you how much I loved the fact that Lou and Coco are so vulgar and so daring and foul-mouthed and so unafraid to actually be sexual beings.

It Is InNaPrOpIaTe FoR a WoMaN tO bE tHaT iMoRaL.

Well, shit. Says who?
Just take a look at those two she-devils singing pub drinking songs about big-chested women (Big Titty Liddy – a bop, I want it in Billboard 100 ASAP).

Look at them saying everything they want to say, without censoring themselves. Look at them going for it without a single shit given. Judge them if you dare, but you won’t be able to stop them. Because they know how to carry themselves with pride. Because they know no shame. Fucking superb, don't you think?

“She revelled in their disapproval.”


There is love and hate and betrayal and plot-twists and everything you need in life just between the pages of this book. I really, really loved it. The characters are amazing, all of them. I loved Lou with that foul-mouth of hers, I loved Coco with her wickedly brave heart, I loved Reid with his pure heart and that stick up his arse and I truly loved babyboy Ansel who was the sweetest sweetheart of them all.

Of course, there is a religious touch to the story and a pagan one, men being the embodiment of God’s will and women being Satan or whatever. There is also empowerment going on there, feminist shit and all. There’s, actually, a lot going on there. And I loved it all.

Honestly, go and read this book. It’s been so good I almost devoured it. Yeah, there might be a slight chance not to like it, but there is an even higher one you’ll actually enjoy it very much. So go! Go for it and don’t forget to tell me how you felt about it afterwards! There’s love and hate waiting for you in there, so you’ll experience an experience, so to say.

“Now, there was only a woman. And she was small. And she was frightened. And she was strong.”

Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
May 4, 2019
4.5 Stars! Such a beautifully rich fantasy debut. I was so pleasantly surprised to find how attached I became to the characters and overall story. This is not a book you are going to want to miss!

Full review to come.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Teen in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
September 9, 2019
for the first time ever, i picked up a book without knowing anything about it. i didnt read the synopsis, not the back cover, nothing. and i have no idea if thats why im rating this so highly - because everything was such an exciting surprise - or what, but wow. this had me hooked!

the first thing that i noticed right away was the writing. my gosh, this does not read like a debut novel. this feels as if its written by a seasoned fantasy author. its utterly divine.

and the content is sooo magical. its totally giving off massive salem witch trial vibes, but set in old france. there are some moments where the religion aspect of the anti-witch stance gets to be a bit much, but i understand why its included. it helps with some character arcs, so i get it.

but overall, this surprised and excited me at every turn. i definitely need to start picking up books and going into them blind, because it proved to be such a wonderful reading experience! 10/10 would recommend!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Cardan Greenbriar.
90 reviews942 followers
March 25, 2020








insert Ellie Goulding quote


P.S. i have a weird satisfaction saying these words witch's blood
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,965 followers
August 6, 2022
4.5 Stars

Reread 2020 - 2022 - I still love this first book with the exception of a few things.


September Fairyloot Unboxing! As usual, click on the GOODIES LINK under the pic to see the Goodies!


She said, "You broke my ass bone!" I can’t 🤣😂

Sorry y’all everything is funny and good at the moment! I passed my cancer check up today!! 10/14/19

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,374 followers
May 15, 2020
This was a rather hard review to write. I have to say that it seems that with hyped/popular books, it seems that I either love them or hate them; unfortunately, this was the latter.

This book having an average 4,15* and 4,11* friends' average rating, seemed like a sure good read. Especially since even people who I "always" agree with seemed to like this book, the thing is while many people recommended this book to me, I still cannot blame it on having too high expectations for it. I honestly did not expect anything from this book. Yet, it did disappoint me.

I have to put the only/most positive thing right here at the beginning; the cover is truly gorgeous.

Back to why writing this review was hard, and it connects to why I found reading this book hard. It was hard to care for it. It took me a long time to finish; I fell asleep several times, I found different things to do rather than reading this. And when I was finished, it was hard to find the will to write this review because the book just left my mind. I usually think a lot about the books I read; I replay scenes in my mind etc. but not this one. I did not think about this book once since I finished it.

I found the story building and the background setting lacking. There was so little. Clearly, it was inspired by France even if it's totally fictional land. And for some reason, characters drop French here and there. Why is it necessary to say that they had chocolat chaud? Just say hot chocolate. Why they suddenly "speak" French? It does not make the book or the setting more french.
Same with "they were hunters, Chasseurs." So, they were hunters, hunters [in French]. What?

Also, since Belterra is clearly fictional why the religion is so clearly Catholic with the Bible and everything? It's just such a strange middle ground. On one hand, going full fiction creating a new kingdom but then sticking the Bible in there.

A few people told me that the romance part is the best thing about this book. I have to speak about it as well. (Btw, I just noticed that I did not mention anything about the characters so far.)
I don't like the romance part of this book; I don't get it. I don't see it. It feels very artificial. It does not help that I did not really feel them getting closer together more like deciding "we're married, so, we should care for each other and love each other." Did not really work for me.
Plus, Reid seemed to have a personality of a blank page which did not help much.
Note, I finished this review and only after that, I realised that I did not really talk about Lou. So, here I am with not much to say. She goes for a thief to a wife pretty fast, and while I like the glimpse, we got of her at the beginning of the book that person never returned.

But since this review was so far rather negative, I would like to mention a few more things which were the reason why this has two stars from me and not one.
The magic system had potential. I was interested in the difference between the Dames Rouges and Dames Blanches since in the "legend" only the latter were mentioned.
And I could get behind Beau and Coco that seemed like a potential for a fun arc. But then the author was clearly pushing Ansel to the mix, and I cannot suffer through another book just to get a love triangle or Coco ending with Ansel.

So, yes, this is me saying that I won't be continuing with this series. And yes, I know that this review is a mess, but I just cannot find the will to spend any more time trying to make it more presentable.

Reaction after finishing:

Big Titty Liddy? What was even that? Who thought that that was a good idea?

RTC but I can say that I was not a fan of this one.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews14k followers
November 13, 2021
reread: oct - nov 2021

hmm. it was good. but not incredible. also probably because it took me over a month to reread this and i knew the plot twists in the back of my head. i wasn't floored by this book like i was the first time and i know part of it was just because of my current mood and slow reading pace, but it was a good refresher so that i can get to the sequels.


originally read: nov 2019

the people who dislike this book are wrong, and that's just facts.

(i'm kidding--i love u and your reading tastes very much. muah.)

I'll preface this review by saying I typically don't enjoy books about witchcraft, so I was nervous going into this one. For me, books about magic walk a fine line of being too silly, which really takes me out of the world and makes it seem more childish instead of its intended intensity. But this book, its writing, and its world COMPLETELY captured me.

My favorite part of this book by far was the main character, Lou. If you loved Lila from A Darker Shade of Magic, you will absolutely love this book. Lou is crass and vulgar and charismatic and brave and doesn't care what other people think. Juxtaposed with a love interest and a world who are subdued and reserved, it made the narration so much fun. Lou was smart and talented and fun to learn about, which made her story that much more addicting. I also relate to using humor as a distraction technique, and the way Lou was written was so relatable.

On top of that, the writing in this book was stunning. The world is French-inspired, and I love that I could see the corsets in my mind and the cobblestones and smog. This author is also great at detailing out the characters and their interactions, which makes me feel like I'm in the room with them when they're conversing. Though this book is written in first person dual POV, there's a distinct difference between the voices of the two characters, and I never had to double check to see who I was reading from. I for sure want to read everything Shelby writes in the future.

Another interesting facet of this book (I could go on forever) is the whole conflict of witches vs the church. The conversations this book evokes about religion and corruption and fear are so nuanced and subtle, which I really applauded. Both from an external perspective and seeing how the characters develop and learn more about one another and shift their points of views to be more understanding and tolerant was so beautiful. I was actually crying for the whole middle section of this book because it was sad and touching and made me think a lot more than I had anticipated.

Although this book is a definite far stars from me, I did find myself a little bit more impressed with the first half of this book than the last. Don't get me wrong, I devoured this 500 page book in nearly two sittings, but it felt like the first half was full of funny and cute and angsty moments, and then the last half of this book was a bit more subdued. The reveals weren't as shocking, the progression of the relationship wasn't as special, but I still like the direction it went. I wish the enemies to lovers plotline was fraught with a little bit more tension in the end, but that's more of a personal preference than an actual flaw of the book.

But this book was glorious and I'm highly anticipating book two and that's that on that.
Profile Image for Irina.
97 reviews152 followers
July 26, 2020
this is definetly one of the best books that i've read this year
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,774 followers
May 13, 2023
[2nd Read]

#1 Serpent & Dove — 4 Stars
#2 Blood & Honey — 2.5 Stars
#3 Gods & Monsters — 1.5 Stars

Well, this is awkward . . .

The girl who was totally obsessed—and I mean like, TOTALLY it’s the love of my life kind of obsessed—with this book last year (as you can probably tell from my “I’m over the moon when I’m writing this review” review below) and the Debbie Downer, slightly more critical version of myself who just re-read it in preparation for the sequel are not on the same page anymore. Ugh, this kinda makes me sad.

I mean, clearly I still liked it. A lot.

Mostly because of Reid (I’m all for cute pious virgin boys whose hobby is killing witches in their past time cause they also happen to be a prejudiced asshole) and the romance (arranged marriage, enemies to lovers, Matthias/Nina (Six of Crows) dynamics—YES, I live for that shit). And okay, maybe also a little bit because of Lou. She’s unapologetically cool and I’d do her in a heartbeat had I also swing both ways. *wiggles eyebrows*

However, . . .

I no longer feel like this is one of my all time favorite books—which is the spot where it’s been sitting on my shelves for the past year until today. My changing view towards YA literature, the overwhelming hype that I helped create, and in light of the arising controversies and criticisms (which LOWKEY made me uncomfy) that weren’t apparent to me on my first read, I think those factors affected how I saw this book during my re-read.

(Read as an Audiobook)

[1st Read]

4.5 Stars

Ahh I love this book so freaking much!! and I’ve been walking on air since I finished it. This is an impressive debut novel that doesn’t feel like one at all bcs of how outstanding the author’s writing craftsmanship is.

I’m not good with summarizing, but basically this book is about two sworn enemies who, after a stunt gone wrong, are forced into a matrimony. However, there’s more to this book than just the slow burn enemies to lovers blooming romance.

It has a distinct magic system, bloody action sequences, constant dilemmas between right and wrong, a strong female friendship, heart jolting plot twists, an unlikely alliance among different sets of characters, an alluring 17th century French inspired setting, and so much more.

Reading this book had been a living on cloud nine kind of experience. You know that stinging sensation you get in your chest when you feel excited and touched by something?? Well this book gave me lots and lots of that zap in my chest. I am now obsessed!!

I would strongly recommend you to READ THIS BOOK!! But please don’t let the hype get to you. I would hate for it to ruin the surprise for you. Just start the book with an open mind, and let it do its job to wow you.



I love her to the moon and back. She’s sassy, spunky, clever, strong, and independent. With the threat of her terrorizing past looming over her head and the chasseur incessantly hunting down for witches to burn, Lou’s safety hangs in the balance. I loved seeing her inner turmoil and how she slowly learned to view things from different perspectives, including that of her enemies. She’s so relentless in her pursuit to stay alive that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to survive. and I really admire this about her.


That’s an insult laced with flattery if you ever heard one. His character lacks complexity, but I still liked him nonetheless. I mean, even I am not immune to pompous jerks with anger management issues. I found Reid’s hatred towards the witches to be a little unconvincing. A lot of his reasons came from what he saw being done to other people instead of his own personal traumatic experience. He was also raised to hate them, which I can admit is understandable but also really judgemental on his part.


I LIVE FOR THIS SHIP!! - The romance between Lou and Reid was everything!! I loved every single moment they spent together. Their banter was off the charts and super entertaining. Their tension and emotional complexity could use some improvement. Also, Reid’s inner turmoil when he found out Lou was a witch lasted too short. I think it’s because the author decided to reveal this detail to his character a little too late nearing the ending phase that Reid didn’t have enough time to be conflicted and reprocess his shattered belief. Regardless, their dynamic was satisfying.

WHERE CAN I GET A BEST FRIEND LIKE COCO?? - She’s such a confident badass!! I loved seeing her friendship with Lou. She’s always so supportive and resourceful. Seeing these two teaming up and doing all kinds of shenanigans together really warmed my heart. We need more of this strong female friendship portrayal in books. They’re seriously BFFs goals!! Also, since the next book is going to explore more about Coco’s type of magic and her aunt’s coven, I hope to learn more about Coco and her past. I’m still undecided which one of Ansel and Beau I ship her with.


I would say that the first ⅓ of the book, the plot is relatively weak due to Lou and Reid’s new relationship and living arrangement. After hitting the halfway mark, the plot quickly arises during the climax of the story which marks the crack in Lou and Reid’s relationship as well as signals the coming war between the witches and the church. The ending phase is filled with action sequences. Ultimately, the book finishes with a somewhat solid ending that’s not entirely a cliffhanger but still holds a series of unanswered lingering questions. It’s enough to give us the anticipation for the sequel.

I also have to give credits to the writing bcs the author’s brilliance really shone through. It’s easy to read and highly addictive. I feel like even if the other elements of the story were poorly done, I would’ve still kept reading bcs of the writing. The other thing I’d like to mention is the 17th century French inspired setting. I don’t know much about French, it’s history and culture. But what little of this book has shown really captivated me. I can only hope that the French ambiance will get more prominent and atmospheric in the next installment.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,209 reviews19.7k followers
April 28, 2020
A perfectly, adequate YA fantasy story about witches and witch hunters that left me feeling lukewarm.
I went in with low expectations and came out of it not completely blown away by the story, which I expected. It was enjoyable, adorable, had its hilarious moments and the pacing was great.
I got out of it what I wanted.

Even though the story lacked for me when it came to the world building and character development, I feel like the groundwork has been laid and I hope it’s build upon in the sequel. There is so much more I would like to find out about the witches and some of the covens, of Morgane, more about Lou’s background and Reid’s journey to becoming a witch hunter.

I just need more.
YA fantasy stories have tendencies to be more plot focused. Character development scenes as well as world-building aspects are sprinkled into the story every now and again and that’s never enough for me to latch on.

I guess this all comes down to my taste preferences. I much rather read character driven stories than plot.

But I appreciated the romance, Lou’s feistiness, Reid’s devotion and loyalty to his faith and his grumpiness and story the author told about alluding to how women/witches were treated.

I might pick up the sequel. I really did enjoy the characters but I'll see what my mood will be like once the second book comes out.


Let’s be clear here: I’m in it for the romance. So that way if the fantastical aspect flops (since I’m not really all that into YA Fantasy anymore) I won’t be disappointed.


Buddy-reading with Asmaa! We’re so ready to fangirl! 😍

Reading for the #TomeTopple readathon!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79.1k followers
October 19, 2022
"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."

I don't know about you, but I find it is a rare day that the hype beast lives up to it's nature, and what a glorious feeling it is when a book lives up to the promises doled out by publishers and early reviewers alike. Serpent & Dove deserves every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it's name, and it will be a most excruciating wait for the second installment. If you have become jaded by the seemingly carbon copied YA fantasies released over the past year, please do not harden your heart to this precious gem. Give me a moment of your time, and I'll try my hardest to convince you to take a chance on this scorching, twisty, romantic historical fantasy.

"Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you." He trailed his fingers down my arm in slow, tortuous strokes. My head fell back on his shoulder, my eyes fluttering closed, as his lips continued to move against my neck. "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay."

Whatever I expected this story to be, it was not. How a book can be over 500 pages and not long enough, I'll never be able to explain, but something about the mixture of immersive atmosphere, jam packed action, and tender balance of emotion and secrets made this a winning combination. The narrative flips back and forth between Louise (a witch) and Reid (a witch hunter, or Chasseur), and the setting is a fantasy alternative to the 1700's era, though I will say the language felt very modern, which could be a hit or miss for some readers who are picky about these details. We are also introduced to a wonderful set of secondary characters, and if anyone tries to hurt my precious peach Ansel in this lifetime or the next, you'd better be prepared to hold my earrings.

Serpent & Dove is the kind of fantasy novel where we are dropped right in the middle of the action, and pieces of the magic system and setting are revealed as the story progresses, while also leaving other aspects to be expounded on in the sequel. Again, this may be a dealbreaker for some readers, but I found myself in tune with just enough knowledge to make the reading experience enjoyable, while also yearning to uncover more as the plot thickens. Also, I am pleased beyond words that the romance in this book is dreamy, steamy, and slow burning; in lieu of the popular instalove trope, this tale takes the route of swoon-worthy intimacy that is tested by time and trials. Did I mention it's super sexy with a strong message of consent? Totally here for it!

Without diving into spoiler territory, you should know that there are twists, and then there are more twists, and then there are twists that we just have to think about until August of 2020 because HOW DARE THE SEQUEL NOT BE AVAILABLE YET?! Seriously, our group was mad texting upon finishing because we had SO many things to unpack from this read. Most of us are currently in a reading slump because this book was just that good. We talked about potential theories along the way, and we were all completely wrong with every guess. My emotions were off the charts, and my knee-jerk reaction was to start at the beginning and reread this book immediately upon finishing; it was that good.

Captivating. Refreshing. Serpent & Dove has irrevocably restored my faith in the YA fantasy. If you're a lover of hate-to-love romance with a side of tense action and vivd imagination, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up. PS- the Barnes and Noble edition has an exclusive bonus scene featuring my baby Ansel, just saying.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
March 14, 2023
**2.5-stars rounded up**

Louise Le Blanc is a young witch whose opinion on the world is quite simple: Witches are good, Chasseurs are bad.

Good versus evil; there's no room for an in-between.

But when her own mother tries to kill her, Lou is forced to flee the protection of her coven. Trying to survive on her own, the world suddenly seems a bit more complicated.

Maybe everything isn't as black and white as she once thought?

Reid Diggory has lived a very different life than Lou. As a Chasseur he abides by the creed 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.'

The Chasseurs, employed by the Church, are essentially witch hunters, trained to fight for the downfall of all magic and those who wield it.

When Reid and Lou are hastily forced into a marriage, he isn't aware that she is a witch, but it is certainly clear that she is not the type of girl he is used to.

What could possibly go wrong?

In short, pretty much everything.

Guys, I was so pumped to read this book based on early reviews, but personally, I wasn't sold.

The pacing was super off for me and it took me until the halfway point to actually become engaged with the story.

This book is over 500-pages, so that means I spent 250-pages trudging along just hoping it would get better.

Luckily, in the end, it did come around and I turned out enjoying the second half.

The final group of characters, who joined together to battle the baddies, were fun and I look forward to reading more of them together in the second book.

That's right, I will be continuing on with this series!!

I wish I could give this a higher rating, but I felt the beginning portion could have done with some more editing.

Again, however, the second half was stronger and I am intrigued enough to return to this world and see what happens with Lou and Reid!
Profile Image for brooke.
74 reviews3,726 followers
July 15, 2023
3.75 stars
“there are some things that can't be changed with words. some things have to be seen. they have to be felt.”

➷ this story revolves around a witch & witch-hunter—louise le banc & reid diggory. when lou attempts to steal a magical ring she crosses paths with reid, but she escapes him until they cross paths again—in an attempt to apprehend her, they both end up in a scandalous and compromising position. to save the reputation of his captain, the archbishop forces the two into a marriage neither of them wants.

➷ i believe this to be a ‘morally grey’ book personally. i love how there’s no clear “good” and “bad” side to a certain extent, they’re both sort of awful in their own ways. for the church and witches, each side has their own version of who the good guy is—and it is always themselves.

➷ i personally would have loved if we had gotten more world building in places, particularly of the settings bc approximately 90% of the book only took place in a tower. i would have also loved more work on the magic system. i found the concept of different types of witches fascinating, but it became really inconsistent bc it wasn’t explored deeply.. this story is very light on description for fantasy, i found it hard to visualise the world at times, the world building was unique but not completely developed which was a shame!!
— i’m pretty sure the book was set in 17th century, medieval france - but there was modern gen z slang thrown in the book every now and then from lou and it was kind of throwing me off??

“i was no one's sacrifice.
not then. not now. not ever.”

➳ lou is a witch who has escaped from her coven—she has given up her magic, survives by stealing from others and has taken refuge in the city of cesarine, a city run by men who live to kill people like her. she is very sarcastic, unapologetically vulgar, rebellious, free spirited and doesn’t adhere to any of the rules that are set for women in this world. she dresses like a man, swears and goes to pubs. i liked her character at times but then she would start to irk me, she would constantly try so hard to be “haha” funny.. i would literally sit there blank staring the page bc i found her unfunny at times. her “not like other girls” attitude got annoying — if i have to hear that stupid ”big tiddy liddy was not very pretty, but her bosom was big as a barn” song one more time, i will simply cease to exist!! also, there was one point where she talks about wanting to ✨corrupt✨ ansel who is 16 as a joke to reid and it’s brushed off as “funny banter” and that didn’t sit right w me, like bestie you’re 18 whattt 😃

➳ reid is a straight-laced, rule-following, witch hunter, holy man. he was raised by the church and is heavily religious, he is very devoted to the archbishop. he is proper, honourable – but a softie to those he loves. he is the complete polar opposite to lou as they both have their own formed views of the world, their own principles and beliefs. he was an orphan who has been brought up believing that all witches are evil and that they basically are not even human. he’s very rigid and uptight but i love how lou brought him out of his shell. i can’t say i was a huge fan of him at the very beginning of the novel, he was too set in his religious ways, but i was won over by his charms once the book progressed.

➳ ansel, he is a chasseur in training, he was more shy, introverted and sensitive compared to his fellow officers of the church but he is open-minded and accepting of everyone. he is my sweet lil cinnamon roll and he must be protected at all costs!! i loved how prudish and easily flustered he got over the simplest things, especially how he would constantly get nervous around coco. he was so loyal and cute, i just love him sm - he is the best side character!!

➳ coco, a blood witch who is lou’s best friend and just as much of a trouble maker and flirt, has her own story and her own past. she is fiercely loyal to lou, as lou is to her. i loved their friendship so much, there is nothing like a bestie that has your back no matter what life throws at you—even though they had some disagreements, they always had each other’s back.

➷ i ended up absolutely adoring the relationship between lou and reid. it unfolds and transforms in such a natural and beautiful way, i love how it wasn't an easy connection, it didn’t feel too fast or too slow. the two have a difficult marriage at first, as their morals did not align. the banter between them is everything you could possibly want since they weren’t fond of each other and the slow burn was done so well too. — they are two opposites at the beginning until they learn to love each other.
— i would have liked more build up on the romantic portion of their relationship though. the shift from them barely tolerating each other to "i love you" felt very sudden!

"if she was destined to burn in hell, i would burn with her."

overall, i did end up enjoying this! the characters were interesting, it had good pacing and i liked the premise of it. this is definitely worth a read for those who want some romance with a touch of fantasy action. i’m hoping the world building will be further expanded upon in the next book as it was lacking in this one.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
382 reviews1,011 followers
January 11, 2022
WOWWW!!! This was amazing! What a stunning début! I did NOT think, going into this, that it would be earning itself a place on my favourites shelf! If uni hadn't been such a hindrance (lol whyyy), I'd have absolutely torn through this in one sitting! If this is what Shelby Mahurin has to offer, I'm excited for what's to come in the future!


This was an enemies-to-lovers romance, reminiscent of Matthias and Nina from Six of Crows (aka my OTP of the series), but instead of Grisha, Lou was a witch and Reid was a witch hunter.

Setting the book in a 17th century Frenchesque world (as in the Loudun Witch Trials) really added to the atmosphere of the story. Also, the French student in me really enjoyed the smattering of French words throughout the book, hehe.

This forbidden love story was so compelling and addicting! However, I will say that this book is definitely upper-YA, as there is an explicit sex scene and tonnes of profanity, so be forewarned.

In this new world of Belterra, witches are hunted by order of the king. The Chasseurs are responsible for hunting them down and burning them at the stake. After fleeing her coven, Les Dames Blanches, Lou resorts to a life of thievery on the streets. Unfortunately, one bad event leads to another and she finds herself forced into marriage to the Chasseur, Reid. From then on, she struggles to hide her identity from her husband -- a man who would see her dead if he knew what she was -- while also coming to terms with her growing feelings for him.

This pagan witchcraft novel was so well done and perfect for this time of year, so I can't wait for the sequel to be released next year. I'd recommend it to fans of Uprooted, Strange Grace, and The Near Witch.
Profile Image for Denise.
210 reviews44 followers
September 3, 2020
Rating: 1.5 Stars

Before I begin I'd like to start us off with some quotes:
"Didn’t all men share some sort of unspoken camaraderie? A mutual understanding of their own collective importance?"
"From the dawn of time, this has been men’s plight – to be tempted by women." - Mean Witch-hunter #47

Does this dialogue make you go haha yeah #feminism, or does it make you cringe in a little ball? Well you're in for this type of writing and much more!

Serpent and Dove has been marketed as a clash between witch and witch-hunter, the revolutionary new fantasy romance novel. What you actually get is 90% romance with poor world-building and very little witch/witch-hunting action. I can totally understand if you just want a guilty pleasure book that has a hate-to-love (and by love I mean forever and always and eternal and our souls are bound as one) romance, but if you are expecting anything more you will be disappointed.

Since I opened this review with some quotes, let me explain my issues with them and with the style of writing in general.
1) Nuance? Never heard of her. If you're looking for any sort of nuance in this book you can check your expectations at the door because you won't find it here. There are many heavy-handed quotes that prevent any real insight or examination into the characters or society as a whole. You might hope that the author would use the premise of two people with drastically different philosophies on life to explore why people get indoctrinated into cult-like groups and how people might struggle with their faith when faced with atrocities but ..... nope.
2) Anachronisms Now you could argue that anachronism isn't something that even applies to fantasy novels. These phrases didn't exist in historically accurate magical witch colonies! isn't a strong argument in-and-of itself. But Lou's diction sounds like you took an edgy modern teenager and dropped her into this story. The author is clearly using a backdrop that resembles France anywhere from the 14th century to the 18th century, and includes the patriarchal and religious baggage that comes with such an era. The reader is supposed to believe that Lou was raised in such a society, but her dialogue is so dissonant with the world she resides in that it is very difficult to get any sense of realism. It's one of the reasons the world-building is so poor: the characters (especially Lou) and the society are completely at odds. I don't expect the characters to speak with historically accurate phrases, but the dialogue is so uncompromisingly modern that I wouldn't have been surprised if she started using hashtags. Which leads me to...
3) #Woke Now look, obviously I'm all for strong feminist characters; it's one of the main selling points for YA fiction. But I dislike the use of heavy-handed crowd-pleasing quotes that proclaim a feminist message in place of well-crafted characters and stories that show this message. Good stories don't need to tell you that they're progressive. Often books that use #woke quotes actually contradict their message with poor characters which is what happens here! But more on that later.

Now I have one more more thing to say about the writing style. In addition to cringey quotes there are also just badly worded sentences.

"Our respect had once been mutual. But that was before the envy."

"There were worse kinds of smoke than chimney."

There were worse kinds of smoke than chimney.

There were worse kinds of smoke than chimney.

How did anyone think that this is good sentence structure??? It's clunky, awkward, and just plain uncomfortable to read. I think any English teacher would underline this in a heartbeat with a note that just said syntax! Honestly this would make my top 10 worst literary quotes of 2019 if I had such a list. Perhaps I should make such a list.

Let's move onto the plot. Like I said before there is very little witch action. It will trick you at the beginning into thinking there will be a lot of interesting magic, but that doesn't last long. The majority of the time you will be quite literally stuck in a room with our protagonists. There is some interesting action at the end, but the poor world-building means the reader never feels that this conflict has much weight. The only world-building you get is from a few info-dumps sprinkled throughout the book and you barely get to see this magical world integrated into the setting or the plot. And for some reason they edited the Goodreads book description so that it now spoils most of the plot points that hold any interest? Why would you do this? I have screenshots! The previous description was much better, but I digress. So let's take a look at main subject of this book: romance.

If sappy romance is all that you're looking for I'm sure you will be fairly satisfied. But I would warn other readers that these two people go from hating each other to this:
"I loved him. Deeply. Such a love was not something of just the heart and mind. It wasn’t something to be felt and eventually forgotten, to be touched without it in return touching you. No . . . this love was something else. Something irrevocable. It was something of the soul."
in the span of this short novel. Yes, it is that overly-dramatic and it doesn't follow any realistic progression. Firstly, Reid doesn't undergo any type of character arc in which he learns to accepts witches. Of course for the majority of the novel Reid doesn't know that Lou is a witch, but he is aware that she sympathizes with them. So there should have been some type of progression/self-doubt but it is barely explored! Minor spoiler: in the SECOND HALF of the novel Reid captures and burns a witch alive.... and he feels nothing! There is no internal conflict about morality; not even a hint of self-doubt. He only feels bad that Lou is upset but at no point in the novel does he ever explore his feelings about this event, and I'll remind you that he is a viewpoint character. He just burns someone alive ..... and then we move on. The author never takes advantage of situations like these to further the growth of a character. A character can't go from burning a witch to fulling loving one in the last half of a novel! They could have saved this full acceptance for a future novel because in the context of Reid's character arc - or lack thereof - it falls flat.

Secondly, many aspects of the romance contradict the self-proclaimed feminist message. Lou seems to enjoy that Reid acts possessive/jealous once they are married even though she doesn't like him. As Lou's feelings grow she refers to his ex-love interest Celie as a "cow" multiple times though she knows nothing about her - I thought we were past this as a society. Lastly and most importantly (Minor Spoiler) when Lou discovers Reid is still a virgin even though he had a relationship with Celie she has this thought:

"How could Celie have abandoned him in this? What else was first love good for but bumbling hands and breathless discovery? At least she’d taught him to kiss properly. I supposed I should be grateful for that."

Just let that sink in. I could write a dissertation on the problems with that statement. Stay tuned for my 100-page essay! But let me at least say this to any young girl who is reading this review: You have absolutely no obligation or responsibility to be physically intimate with your significant other. It is a very personal decision that should be made in your own time and if anyone ever tries to manipulate you into doing something you are not ready for, drop them! You deserve better. It is your choice and don't ever feel any sort of obligation to do more than you feel comfortable doing. This quote sends such a dangerous, toxic message in a novel aimed at teenagers that it honestly disgusts me. Not to mention that in this era any girl would have been socially ostracized if not physically abused had she become pregnant while she was unmarried so Celie's actions are even more understandable (do you see what I mean about the disconnect between character and society?). And this is why I have so many problems with the #woke language of this novel since its underlying sexist tones completely undercut its feminist message.

In conclusion, I feel that this novel has many problems. It doesn't deliver on world-building or fantasy adventure, and the romance is over-dramatic and at times problematic. I'm not here to criticize anyone who found enjoyment in this novel, but I hope I have made potential readers aware of type of book they will be reading. It may seem that I am holding YA literature to an overly high standard but it is only because I have a lot of respect for the genre and I know that many great books have and will continue to grow from it. This is not one of them.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

Review of Blood & Honey
Profile Image for Zainab.
384 reviews530 followers
June 11, 2022
My dudes, this book was....something.

Okay, so the only time I like romance in a book is if it starts with hate. So obviously I was very excited about this book and it did not disappoint- well at least the first 300 pages didn't.
The thing is, I really liked Reid at first because I thought he was chivalrous and all but there's a difference between chivalry and being a dumbass and our beloved Reid is a cringey dumbass.
The romance was sudden and cringey and made me want to puke. Reid does not understand personal space like dude, sheesh, back off.
The last 200 hundred pages are a bit of a mess. The 'twists' were just thrown in together creating a big mush.

Still, there are quite a few things I enjoyed about this book.
Lou and Coco's friendship is to die for. I actually enjoyed it more than the romance between Lou and Reid.
Then there is the whole witches thing. My dude that was exciting.
And last but not least, Lou. She is quirky and smart and a badass.
There are also some other bits but it'd get too spoilery.

Writing this review taught me two things:
1- I did not hate this book as much as I thought I did.
2- I am one bitter hag.

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Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,097 reviews676 followers
January 21, 2020

Being stubborn as I am, I was hesitant about letting myself love this book because I saw how much others loved it (I am stupid like that!). So when I started I was hard at work trying to find flaws with it. And sure, I did find one or two, but soon they fled my mind completely - I was just swept up in this story! This is the first time since I was a teenager that I have stayed up waaaay past midnight because I couldn't stop reading! ❤️

"I promised to love and protect you"
"And I promised to love and obey you. We're both such pretty liars."
- Reid and Lou


Lou: The first thing that started to break my resolve was Lou! She was the perfect heroine - cocky, brass and vulnerable. And I was really drawn to the fact that she was neither good nor bad, she was this 'gray' character, who was just trying to survive a war, that set 'black' against 'white'.

Reid: Secondly, Reid started to get under my skin in the best of ways. At first I wasn't into his holy exterior, but as he softened up to Lou, so did I soften up to him!

Lou and Reid: Yes, they do deserve a section on their own, because their relationship was just the cutest! It was so well-crafted and nicely developed, actually one of the best I have read in a long time. I especially loved the hate-turned-love aspect. Wonderful!

Transportation: Books that have the power to transport me away from wherever I am while I am reading are the very, very best. This was one of those books!

Plot: Though a bit thin at times (sorry), the plot was still, overall, very engaging and riveting! I especially loved how you are unsure of who the bad guys and who the good guys are!

Universe: What fascinated me most about the world, this book was set in, was how closely it resembled 17th century France. That was actually a very interesting take on a YA fantasy novel. The magic was, sadly, a little confusing and lacking in explanation at times, but that is easily overlooked when combined with all the other goodness!

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Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,863 reviews30.2k followers
October 20, 2019
3.5 Stars

I picked this up because I saw it being touted in some places around GR and booktube as a "racy" YA romance that was (perhaps) edgy enough for some people to feel it should have been classified more as New Adult a la ACOTAR.

And because I had a Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket.
So I picked up this and Ninth House.
And perhaps a couple other things.


It also felt very season appropriate to read about witches and buy black books with snakes on the covers. Very Halloween/October of me, no?

But I digress.

As I was saying, I picked this up because I love me some racy. And because I also loved the premise of a witch marrying what amounts to a witch hunter.

And while I will say this book definitely had more swearing, "racy" language (for a YA), and a somewhat lukewarm sex scene, it didn't feel like anything I hadn't read before...but keep in mind, I'm also very forgetful these days. And not the target audience here. So take that as you will.


I thought the story itself was solidly entertaining, although nothing super extraordinary. The pacing was good and the world-building was decent. I will say that some of the characters felt slightly two-dimensional at times.

Most notably though, the relationship between Lou and Reid felt very groundless to me. They went from meeting and hating each other...to spending a week basically occupying the same room whilst doing their best to ignore each other...to being in love and boinking within a very short time period. It felt very sudden and shallow and I think Mahurin could have done a better job at laying the groundwork for their romance - and thus what amounts to the main focal point of this book.

Their "love" just didn't feel like it was palpable enough for me to believe that either one would feel the way they supposedly did during the events that occurred toward the end of the book.

Keeping in mind this is a debut series by a debut author, however, I have a good feeling about the potential for the next book in the series. This was definitely a strong debut and I look forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for Victoria Resco.
Author 7 books25.6k followers
February 27, 2021

Es un libro que me encantó. Lo re disfruté, me llenó de emociones, me hizo fangirlear a gritos y chillar de nervios.

Es muy muy romántico y lo amé absolutamente por eso.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
798 reviews2,903 followers
February 21, 2023
"Why the fuck is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife?"

And just like that, I fell in love forever.


I haven't laughed/suffered so much while reading a book in a very long time.
I also just realized one of the reasons I liked this story so much is that the main characters remind me a lot of Matthias Helvar (my absolute favorite character from Six of Crows) and the gorgeous Nina Zenik. Their dynamic is very similar and they're both so beautifully characterized it's impossible not to be drawn to them.
And sure, this book gets a bit tropey at times, but it's easy to ignore when you're busy gushing and gasping and fangirling.

Lou and Reid and Ansel and Coco own my heart, and I need everyone to read this book because Shelby Mahurin is a genius and this story is a flipping masterpiece.

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