Book Review: Serpent & Dove

Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★

One Sentence Synopsis

Through a series of unfortunate events, a witch and a witch hunter are forced to marry and things get weirder from there.

Favorite Quote

“I was no one’s sacrifice. Not then. Not now. Not ever.”

I’m having a hard time formulating my thoughts on this book. This book was an amazingly quick read because it was just exciting! We start off meeting Lou, a non-practicing witch who is living her life on the streets of a France-like country as a thief. But, beyond that, she is on the run from a past she barely survived. When we meet Lou, she is dressed as a man and in the midst of gathering intel on her next target: a witch artifact that she would like to acquire to help keep her past in the past.

Then we meet Reid, a Chassuer (read: witch hunter) who has dedicated his life to ridding the world of witches since he was rescued from an orphanage by the Archbishop himself. Reid is a very black and white kind of guy, but his principles also make him incredibly honorable. When the woman he loves rejects him so that he may focus on his career, he decides to do just that. Witch hunting is his passion and he is particularly good at it. When an attack happens early on in the book, he is the hero that saves the day.

But fate contrives to have Lou and Reid come together, though neither of them want anything to do with the other. Through a strange twist, they are forced to marry and the sparks fly from there. And I mean that in more ways than one.

This story had everything! Interesting characters, thrilling concept, and plenty of action. I sped through it and thoroughly enjoyed myself during the experience.

So why am I having a hard time formulating my thoughts on this book?

I think it’s because, after I finished the book, gave it a star rating, and actually sat and thought about it some more, I began to notice some problematic elements that my brain glossed over while I was reading. And one of those was one of the major plot points of the story: the forced marriage. It just… didn’t make sense! I remember thinking as I was reading the book that it didn’t make sense, but I was so engrossed in the story that I just didn’t care. Looking back, though, the incident that precipitated the marriage didn’t seem like it could be solved with a simple wedding…

But, then again, the patriarchy is STRONG in this book. Which is another thing that, upon further inspection, rubbed me the wrong way. I understand it as a sign of the time period that the author was trying to write, but it still felt incredibly… icky. And like it could have been handled better? I don’t know, I just wasn’t a fan. But, again, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book!

Maybe that’s the problem. I had issues with elements of the book, but I still really enjoyed it and my brain is trying to make that work, lol.

Final thoughts: I guess, in the end, this was a fun bit of escapism. I did enjoy the romance and the plot, though there were things that didn’t make sense. I am planning on checking out the sequel, though!

Have any of you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?

Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

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