Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin


When I first heard about Serpent and Dove, it sounded like a series worth reading. Now, after finishing the book, I have to agree. 

Serpent and Dove takes place in France, where a witch and a witch hunter are forced together in holy matrimony. They unravel secrets about their kingdom and each other, and must learn to work together in the process.

It’s important to note that this is a pretty mature book. It deals with trauma, depicts gore, and has a few sexually explicit scenes. Be aware of these things before you read, and if you’re a young reader, wait to read Serpent and Dove until you’re older.

Serpent and Dove was really well written. It has plenty of twists and secrets to keep the reader engaged, and on top of that, it was really funny. All of the characters had a great sense of humor, and it was easy to stay entertained. The humor created a nice balance with some of the more grim topics explored in the book. There was a lot of action, and it was very exciting.

As the book involves witches, it does have a magic system — and I have to say I was really impressed with it. The magic is powerful enough to be a real threat, but it has major costs when it’s used. Not all books have consequences or real limitations in their magic systems, but writing in those consequences adds a lot of interest and risk.

The enemies-to-lovers trope has been insanely popular among the reading community lately, and for a good reason. However, in many stories–particularly Young Adult fantasy and dystopia–this trope is toxic and overall uncomfortable. Serpent and Dove is an enemies-to-lovers book, but it is in no way toxic. The characters are able to take time to know and to better each other, while slowly falling in love. Their relationship is key to their development as characters, and that’s part of what makes it so good. 

Shelby Mahurin’s writing in Serpent and Dove is amazing. She uses several biblical references that add onto the theme of the book. She also utilizes imagery and figurative language really well. I had a vivid picture of the events in the book as I was reading.

I absolutely adored the characters in this book. They all have their quirks and flaws, and their relationships were so fun to watch. They were a really well-written aspect of the novel, and I honestly think there wasn’t anything that could have been done to make them better.

Most of all the characters, I liked Lou, the female protagonist. She is a perfect example of what a female lead should be: she’s her own person, has realistic flaws, and doesn’t put down femininity as many other characters like her do. She’s funny, sarcastic, bold, and overall a fantastic character.
Serpent and Dove is one of the best books I’ve read this year, made better by its commentary on feminism, and how society views powerful females.


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