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Serpent & Dove

Written by: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Best Book of 2019

New York Times Bests Seller

B&N's YA Book Club Pick

Indiebound Best Seller

Number Six on the 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List

"A brilliant debut, full of everything I love: a sparkling and fully realized heroine, an intricate and deadly system of magic, and a searing romance that kept me reading long into the night. Serpent & Dove is an absolute gem of a book." (Sarah J. Maas, number one New York Times best-selling author of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series)

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.

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.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation - marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy duology will leave listeners burning for more.

©2019 Shelby Mahurin (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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Serpent & Dove By Shelby Mahurin

Few things compare to that feeling you get after finishing a book that lived up to your expectations. I started reading Serpent and Dove for a book club im currently in. I started reading this without knowing anything about it. I didnt read the synopsis, not the back cover, nothing.

Plot

Two years ago Lou left her coven (for reasons I shan't go into) and was forced to live a life of suppressing her magical nature and living in constant vigilence. She has to do what she can to survive. That being: lie, steal and kill if necessary. For life is hard in the city of Cesarine, especially for a woman. She's managed to live for two years undetected. She was careful... up until one burglary (gone wrong) set the wheels in motion.With the Chasseur on her tail and enemies of her past close on her heels, Lou slips up again and ends up in a compromising position with the Caption of the Chasseur. The Archbishop comes up with a solution: Lou can either go to prison for the rest of her life or she can marry the Captain and save his virtuous reputation. Lou, being the smart girl she is, chooses marriage to the handsome Captain Diggory ; ). Being married to a Chasseur also grants her the protection she desperately needs from those who (also) hunt her. She struggles to hide her identity from her husband -- a man who would see her dead if he knew what she was -- while also coming to terms with her growing feelings for him.

Writing Style

The first thing that I noticed right away was the writing. For a debut this was really really good. It was written in two POVs - Reid and Lou. We saw all their thoughts, worries and what happened to them in their past and present. My gosh, this book does not have the writing style like a debut novel. this feels as if its written by a seasoned fantasy author. its utterly divine. I got the Sarah J. Maas and Marissa Meyer vibes while reading every chapter.

Setting

the setting is a fantasy alternative to the 1700's era in France. I will say the language felt very modern, which could be a hit or miss for some readers who are picky about these details.

Characters

Reid Diggory

Reid Diggory is a dedicated witch hunter. He’s lived within the church all his life and despite his views on witches, he is honorable and loyal. I consider him such a goody to shoes and brown noser to the archbishop (Given that he’s also captain of the guard) Once lou comes into the picture he slowly comes out of his shell and learns to live a little. It was such a pleasure reading about him. He is so set in his ways and it was amazing to see him loosen up and change.

Louise le Blanc

To me Lou is a badass character. She is very blunt and she takes care of herself while on the run from the law. She steals things to live and is on the run while trying to cover her tracks from the Chasseur’s. I love that you get to listen to her inner monologue and see that her walls can come down to see the softy in her. You'll be cracking up with her on every page. With a tragic backstory, and, tbh, a tragic present, it's amazing she never once turned mopey or broody. She leapt off every page, and I don't think it took a single chapter before I knew she was going to be my best fictional friend. She's strong, funny, independent, and she puts Reid in his place often. So often. When life throws a challenge at Lou, she smashes it to bits and demands a sticky bun in return. SHE IS THE HEROINE YA NEEDS.

Romance

This forbidden love story was so compelling and addicting! However, I will say that this book is definitely upper-YA, as there is an explicit sex scene and tonnes of profanity, so be forewarned.

Friendships:

There were not one but two friendships that I loved between the main character and the secondary characters. First one being Lou and Coco: badass witches who aren't afraid of anything and they can just speak however they want
And the second was: Lou and Ansel: I loved how Ansel cared about Lou and vice versa, they had a cute kind of big sister little brother kind of relationship.

Big Things I loved in the book

• Addictive; easy writing
• Enemies-to-lovers
• Marriage of convenience
• Witch/witch hunter romance
• Slow burn of plot
• Intricate magical system
• Heart warming female friendship
• Morally grey characters
• Inner battle of right and wrong

Overall
I don't know about you, but I find it is a rare day that the hype lives up to it's nature, and what a glorious feeling it is when a book lives up to the promises doled out by publishers and early reviewers alike. Does anyone ever have a certain feeling where you love a book so much that you try to read as slowly as possible, just because you’re loving everything about it and don’t want it to end? Yep, that was me with this book. Serpent & Dove deserves every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it's name, and it will be a most excruciating wait for the second installment. i've been walking on air since i finished it. I have such a book hangover!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bring on book 2!

Really enjoyed the story and performances eventhough at times it wasnt clear which character was speaking during male narration. loved the characters and cant wait for the next book!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Story! Ok Performance.

I loved this book! I am a sucker for romances and cliches, however I find it hard to find cliches that are not cringe worthy. This book very well avoided that. On top of that, the character development was great, both protagonists got to develop in their own ways and made them very likable. Lou was absolutely hilarious and definitely made me laugh out loud a few times. Usually in stories like this it's the girl who is uptight and the guy who is immature, so it was very refreshing to have the roles reversed.
My only problem with this audio book is the narration of Reid, the narrator always sounded choppy and his change of voice for the other characters was so bad it was funny. It was hard to get lost in the story when he was talking, but luckily there are more chapters in the narration of Lou which was lovely to listen to.

I definitely recommend, however beware of the narration as I don't believe the sample allows you to hear Reid's narration.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not YA

The content is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 18. The book would be just as good, if not better, without the rated R sections.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just okay

The general idea is good but the male performance just take me out of the story everytime he talked

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2019-09-12

Holy Witches Batman

Honestly, I was pretty skeptical with the first chunk of this book. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick with it, but I’m glad I did. The characters, the world building, the French influence.... it’s actually amazing. Such a magical story, you won’t be able to put it down!

I deducted a star only for the first 30% being a bit slow and the male lead INITIALLY being incredibly unlikable. However, he quickly develops and grows on you. Additionally, Lou, the female lead, is a hilarious gift and I LOVE HER.

The male narration leaves something to be desired. It’s not awful, but his cadence is choppy and a little off putting. In contrast, the female narrator is exquisite so they balance out.

Overall? Definitely worth a listen/read. I can’t wait for the next one!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • The Atkinsons
  • 2019-09-10

a new favorite

I had high hopes going into Serpent & Dove and was not disappointed. Which is great, because before I read the book I had already ordered two copies and know it’s coming in a subscription box. Oh, and I had also already bought tickets to the Epic Reads Meetup fall tour to meet her, so there was a lot of hype for this book to live up to and it absolutely did.


Serpent and Dove is a dual-POV YA fantasy debut from Shelby Mahurin. There are so many things I loved about this novel I just made a list. Also, I’m super busy this week at work and my kids are back to baseball this week so I have to make it shorter.

-STRONG WOMEN
-excellent enemies to friends love story (my favvv)
-witches! And a unique take on how they cast spells
-flawed characters – I love this especially. Please don’t give me a Mary Sue. I’m not interested.
-swearing. Why is this on the list? Because I’m a sailor and I love to swear. Characters who swear are instantly more relate-able to me. Mahurin uses real swear words too. Made up swear words are tiresome.
-sexy. The sex isn’t explicit and no parts are actually named, but the sex scenes are really well done. The fade-to-black gets annoying sometimes so I’m glad to see authors writing about loving consensual sexual relationships. Shelby tweeted about this as well.
-lots of action and strong character development. It was like the perfect combo for me and I never once got bored or wanted to fast forward the audio. Seeing the characters grow and develop was something I really enjoyed, and I am normally much more of a story-driven reader.
-super funny -the witty banter between Lou and Reid was 10/10
-well-built story arc. No plot holes (that I found) and a satisfying ending. Of course I still have questions because this is a series, but that’s to be expected.
-piggybacking off the one above – the REVEALS. I loved the way the story unfolded and how major surprises were revealed. They felt natural.

The absolute worst thing about this book is that I can’t read what happens next until 2020. ugh.


Audio:------------------------------------------------------------------
I've listened to books narrated by both Holter Graham and Saskia Maarleveld before, so I knew going in that I would like them. As expected, they were great. Saskia Maarleveld in particular is so easy to listen to.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah
  • 2019-11-09

Unexpected!

Honestly I wanted to DNF this book at the start, but I saw the reviews and decided to push on. After all, it has one of my favorite tropes. Romeo and Juliet. The story took me by surprise as I started to find myself engrossed with the characters and my emotions turning with them as they went on their journey. The surprises had me started as well and I’m so glad I pushed through this book. Started slow but then before you know it- you’re going Down hill with no brakes. Can’t can’t CANT wait for the next book.

The ONLY issues I had was the narrators. The woman kept a whispering and was hard to hear/understand at times. And the male reader read with passion. But he read way too fast and used odd accents that rolled together after a while. While they were’t terrible, it was part of the reason I almost DNF’d this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Shelby
  • 2019-09-12

Good story...

The story was fine, it kept me reasonably engaged but I had a big problem with the male narrator. His voices were inconsistent and the cadence was at best distracting and at worst unbearable. I probably won’t pick up a sequel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Shannon
  • 2019-12-09

Just not enough plot

And too much insta love type romance, I didn’t really get into either main character , I liked lu at first but she kind of got stale, it will be good for someone mostly looking for romance novel

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dartanyan Johnson
  • 2019-12-03

Swing and a miss...

There were things in the story that didn't quite add up, and personalities that changed in an instant. The male narrator was horrible and contradicted the female narrator's portrayal of Louise and Reid. Maybe if Saskia would have read the entire book instead of switching off, it would have been better.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amy Lanman
  • 2019-11-24

Just not my kinda book

too depressing for me
I like the idea of powers and powerful people, however, not completely ruthless people. This was a story of people held back so strongly by their societal box that it caused countless harm to others. Suppressed minds, habits unconquered and mental conditioning, it was all just sad to the very end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • word
  • 2019-11-18

Pretty good, but…

Louise (Lou) was too contrary. she was incredibly selfish. she was unnecessarily antagonistic toward someone who just wants to do his job, and to also keep her safe. he consistently kept people from saying bad things about HER, but she repeatedly did things to undermine him in private and in public (dangerous in a world where he has to command people). her selfishness made it VERY hard to like her as a protagonist.

Lou is smart and brave and MORE than capable in so many ways. but she needed more traits from Reed than he needed from her. that’s a poor character balance. also the narrators were outstanding 👍🏾😁.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marc Limas
  • 2019-10-22

Male Reader isn't my Favorite

While I enjoyed the beginning of this book and the magic system I felt like to romance was strained and I didn't like the male lead. It could have been the male reader of the audiobook though, his cadence was strange and it made the character so severe. There was a total disconnect between Lou's personality when she was being read by the female reader and the male reader and it made it seem like the male love interest fell in love with a completely different person. The ending was a let down as well... There was a lot of repeating of ideas the reader already understood. I would have just preferred to stay with the female reader and Lou's journey, I found myself caring very little about Reid. I will probably read the next book, I think this author has some great ideas and I am looking forward to them maturing!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tyffanie
  • 2019-09-10

Loved it!

The only thing I didn’t like was the male narrator. He was inconsistent with the different characters’ voices.. However, the story is great. I fell in love with Lou. She’s funny and so real. I adore the world Mahurin built. I could imagine everything easily and I want to go back into it already. I wish I had gotten a hard copy instead of getting the audiobook, but I’m glad for the experience overall.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful