Book Review: SERPENT AND DOVE by Shelby Mahurin

Title in yellow against a glittery black background
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book in trilogy


Book cover for SERPENT AND DOVE: title in gold with the & as a snake in front of a black dove on a black background

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This book was not what I was expecting. OK – so I was expecting a fantasy romance between two deeply opposed people (so they have a legitimate reason for hating each other and keeping secrets) who gradually fall in love during the course of the book. And I did get that. I certainly wasn’t expecting to like it quite so much – or be laughing aloud frequently.

For some reason, I was expecting it to be set in the wilds, in a forest, not in the middle of a city. However, I really liked the city setting, as it meant they were interacting with more people – and lots of opportunities for Lou to scandalise Reid. I was frequently laughing at her antics (singing bawdy songs to uptight church-sworn men?)

The world is clearly based on ours, France at the height of the witch trials clearly. They drop the occasional French word in conversation and the religion is clearly Christianity. While it doesn’t say what the wider world is like, I’ve mentally dropped somewhere on the French borders.

The magic was quite confusing – I don’t understand the gold pattern things – but it’s not a major part of the book so it didn’t matter too much. Hopefully the next book will delve a little deeper into exactly how Lou’s magic works.

This is primarily a fantasy romance, as not much plot happens in the middle 70% of the book. Once they’re married, and before the action of the finale, there bulk of the story is the two characters moving around one another falling in love and pretending they weren’t. Externally, very little happens as they try not to touch and kiss.

Usually, this would bug me no end – I like a lot of plot movement – but the tension between the characters was so good. I think, after THE BEHOLDER and now this, I have to accept that I like a fantasy romance – provided there’s chemistry and no silly reasons for emotional angst. I still can’t abide that in any book!

The finale is very action packed, the pace – and plot – really picking up. A lot happens, and it feels much more like a traditional high fantasy rather than a fantasy romance.

I am quite eager to read the next book, to see what happens after that finale. I think there might be more action as there are a lot of present threats, rather than looming ones.

Read my reviews of other books by Shelby Mahurin:

Serpent and Dove (this series):

4 thoughts on “Book Review: SERPENT AND DOVE by Shelby Mahurin

    1. Thanks – there’s certainly time to read it. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to wait until the series is complete, because I’ll most likely re-read the books anyway before each installment, so I get to binge it multiple times!


  1. I have it on my kindle since forever and every time I start a new book I’m telling myself that after I finish the one I’ve already picked, I’ll read Serpent&Dove. Still haven’t read it…
    Great review, I’m even more interested in reading it ASAP than before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – I hope you get the chance to read it soon! I enjoyed it far more than I was expecting, which is always a delight. At least reading it months after it’s been published means a shorter wait until the next book!

      Liked by 1 person

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