Genre: Fantasy Romance Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - book 2 of trilogy
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILER for SERPENT AND DOVE*
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
BLOOD AND HONEY is an action-packed sequel that manages to spend a lot of time on the character’s internal struggles rather than letting it get swallowed by the external narrative.
The POV balance shifts throughout the book. For much of the book, it felt like Reid was narrating a lot more, but the finale was mostly Lou. This definitely reflects the story balance – there seemed to be more action/plot happening with Reid in the middle of the book, while Lou was more involved in the finale. And it does work, not forcing action to characters when there isn’t any. However, at times I was very aware of how much more one character was speaking and it felt a bit like the other was missing.
However, what this imbalance does allow is for the story to focus on the internal arcs of the characters a lot more – and seeing the bulk from Reid works so well. Not only is he fighting himself over magic, twisted up with his morals, but also you see Lou’s spiral coloured through his gaze. It’s really well done, and though I wanted to shake him a few times for being so hypocritical it never frustrated me to the point of hating him. I knew it was part of his arc and so he’d change eventually. That anticipation helped him be more sympathetic when he was at his most hypocritical.
Their relationship is also affected by this. It’s a romance-heavy fantasy, and so you expect drama and kissing and things to strain given how they start off together. I appreciated how they did question whether they worked as a couple, given the circumstances that threw them together. Did they just think they’d fallen in love because of the stress? That they saw only what they wanted to see? It felt more realistic than struggling because they’d overheard things wrong.
Be warned, this is a fat book. It’s over 500 pages. A very enjoyable 500+ pages, but it was pretty weighty to hold!
The ending is a penultimate-book-in-series-cliff-hanger, except that the final chapter (Reid) feels like it undercuts the tension of the more traditional cliff-hanger ending of the penultimate chapter (Lou). I hit the end of her chapter and thought this is where it ends, but then I turned the page and there was another that just didn’t sit 100% right for me. It’s a minor thing, and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment – and I certainly want to see how the finale goes next year.
Read my reviews of other books by Shelby Mahurin:
Serpent and Dove (this series):
- SERPENT AND DOVE (#1)