Title: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Pub. Date: September 3, 2019
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 will be a spoiler free review.
This book surprised me in how much I loved it. Based on the synopsis, I figured I’d definitely enjoy the book, but after a slightly slow start, I was absorbed. Set in a romantic seventeenth century France, with a bit of a fantastical element in the form of magic and witches, we’re (the reader) are taken on a journey of enemies to lovers with a slow burn romance and wonderful friendships as Lou and Reid’s story unfolds.
I mean, enemies to lovers, slow burn romance, marriage of convenience…if you liked Rowan and Aelin in Throne of Glass, then undoubtedly, you’ll like Reid and Lou. Their relationship started rough, but as they realize that they are more than the preconceived notions that they have of one another, a true relationship…a friendship blooms between them.
Lou is a witch – not something that she makes know, due to the fact that it would mean her death. She’s also very much a modern woman, not confined to the roles typically expressed by women in seventeenth century France. She dresses like man, curses like a sailor, and flirts shamelessly if it helps her get what she wants. She’s also not opposed to physical relationships if it suits her. She’s very much in charge of her own body and even without magic, is more than capable of defending herself.
Reid is basically her polar opposite. He’s a Chasseur – a Huntsman, sworn to kill any witch he comes across. He’s part of a holy order to eradicate the witches and make the world a better place…He’s a romantic, loyal but close minded. His entire life revolves around doing his job, protecting people and killing witches, and everything else is a distraction. He keeps his heart close, because Chasseurs, while not prohibited from starting a family, falling in love, isn’t something he chooses. But he also gives his heart wholly, when he does.
The two of them together, they clash. She’s brash and vulgar and he’s measured and polite…to an extent. She likes to push his buttons and he counts to ten to not lose his temper. Watching their relationship unfold was the best thing about this book. It made me giddy with anticipation and excitement. I felt all those emotions in my chest and I just wanted to squeal. Give me enemies to loves with a slow burn and a wedding of convenience and I’m trash.
This book kept me up all night, turning page after page, devouring this story, these characters. I’m so excited for book 2, and the wait might kill me. Things are revealed at the end of this book that shatters a few character’s realities and I’m so excited to see how it all plays out.
As for Coco and Ansel.
Let me start with Ansel, because oh my god. Why is it the side characters are always so freaking amazing? And so freaking loyal? He’s training to be a Chasseur, to be like Reid, and yet, he’s not as closeminded as some of his brothers. Despite the fact that Lou always tries to embarrass him, the moment that her world dips, he’s there, defending her, launching plans to help her. He’s got her back one hundred percent when others can’t bring themselves to act. There’s a moment in this book that, Ansel went from being a teen, to pulling on his grown-up pants and going toe to toe with Reid and calling him on his bullshit and oh my god. He was fury and I loved it.
Coco, or Cosette, best friend to Lou and just as much of a trouble maker and flirt, has her own story, her own past. She’s fiercely loyal to Lou, as Lou is to her. We don’t get much about her past, just some, but I have a feeling that Coco is going to have a much bigger role in the second book. She’s always there for Lou, risking her life, and Lou would do the same for her. I loved their friendship, the nature of it. They empower each other and care deeply for each other.
There are a few other characters that I really liked, but to discuss they here would be pretty difficult without some spoilers. So just know that they are key players in the book and are needed to overcome some pretty big obstacles.
One of my favorite aspects about this book is the dialogue. Now, I’m always for a historical fiction book (though I’m not sure I’d classify this as that, even though it technically takes place in seventeenth century France) with era appropriate speech and communication, but oh my god give me more historical fictions in YA where they speak like we do today. I didn’t have to suspend my belief or anything to get lost in this book.
I do understand how it works, and works so well for this book, since it is more of a fantasy, than a true historical fiction, but give me more! Lou has a mouth on her, and she does not act as proper seventeenth century French woman should, and it scandalizes Reid. He’s completely baffled and blushing and shocked like ninety percent of the time Lou is opening her mouth. And I love it.
I think using this method of showing their differences is brilliant and I want more of it in YA!
This book is definitely one you aren’t going to want to miss. Like, at all. Put Serpent & Dove on your TBR, pick it up on September 3, 2019 when it releases and read it! You won’t be disappointed. And even if you weren’t a Rowan & Aelin fan, you should still give it a chance, because the world, the characters, the story is just so freaking amazing, you’ll be dying for the next one as soon as you finish it!