(Serpent & Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Published: September 3, 2019 by HarperTeen
Genres: fantasy, romance, young adult
Format: Hardcover, 513 pages
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.
Lou is a thief in the streets of Cesarine, who tries to steal a precious ring that renders her protected from witch’s magic, and with the added bonus of making her invisible if she puts it in her mouth. She’s running from someone in her past that makes the ring a necessity for survival, but a certain 7-foot, copper-haired witch hunter gets tangled in her affairs, and before they know it, they’re united in holy matrimony. Hilarity, snark, and foul language bring them closer together, all while Lou is trying to maintain her secret… she is a witch, and that’s the very thing her husband was raised to destroy.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Lou and Reid really MADE the book for me. If everything else had been shit (which it wasn’t) their interactions just might’ve been enough for me. Lou was a feral, sarcastic, and foul-mouthed delight, while Reid was as pious as could be, for he was as close a son as one could be to the Archbishop. But Reid, Godly though he was, had some anger issues. But he was nothing if not a gentleman – even though he was tricked into marriage by a ‘heathen’, he did no wrong by her. Even though Reid had skewed views of witches, and stereotyped them all as wicked, he still held my respect by being a decent husband. Despite them not getting along at first, their chemistry flew from the pages and into my happy, little heart. 🥰
The supporting characters were also fantastic – I want Ansel, Coco, and even Beau to be a part of my imaginary conflux squad. I cherish them and what they did for my Lou-lou.
The city of Cesarine was French-inspired, I believe, as there were a lot of French words thrown in. (Big thank you to Google Translate.) Basically, think Salem-witch trials … in France. But the city was ruled by a godly kingdom that was at war with witches, and it had a unique magic system that I enjoyed, albeit didn’t understand 100%. But that’s okay. 👌🏻 The only thing that would’ve completed this story would be a map – I didn’t really have any idea where La Fôret des Yeux was in comparison to anything else, or the Tower, or the castle, or the Chateau, etc. It might not have really added anything to the story, it just would’ve sated my curiosity.
Honestly, the whole forced marriage allegory is amusing to me. They are also underlying enemies, and you know how much I love the enemies-to-lovers trope – as well as “they only have one bed to share” trope! 😅 Lou finds herself trapped in a marriage to a witch hunter (what could go wrong, right?) and she struggles between thinking it’s a good idea (great protection from this mysterious being she’s hiding from), or a bad idea (witch married to a witch hunter… you do the math). There is a heart-warming female friendship, easy writing, and a slow-burn romance. It contained a few plot-twists at the end that only mildly shocked me, but in the end, I thought it was wonderfully done! (There is also an explicit sex scene and foul language, just so you’re warned!)
Witch versus human is the main conflict here, and it almost gives me that Romeo and Juliet vibe, where two warring families (in this book, ‘species’) fall in love, and the goal is to get everyone to play nice with each other so that the couple can live happily. But like I stated previously, it isn’t love at first sight with Lou and Reid. They despise each other and their situation. Lou despises her husband because he is the very thing she should distance herself from: a witch hunter; and Reid thinks Lou is just a heathen, a thief, and the exact opposite of Celie, the girl he was meant to marry. What’s awesome about this book is that it doesn’t depict the church or the witches being better than the other – they both have their good and bad points.
The realistic mixed views, the characters, the overall romance creates a reading experience that made me just devour each page until I was done and left crying for the sequel!
If you love unique magic systems, enemies-to-lovers, and brave, bad-ass, sarcastic main characters, then this is THE story you’ve been looking for.
→ Total time spent reading: 11h 39m
→ Dates read: Oct 20 – Nov 3, 2019