Serpent & Dove (#1) by Shelby Mahurin

Summary of Book: Two years ago, Lou 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. Reid Diggory is sworn to the Church, and 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 the 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.

I went into Serpent & Dove with low expectations. I’ve never been into the witch/ witch hunter or even vampire/ vampire hunter trope. My thinking has always been that if you hate something enough to devote your entire life hunting and eradicating them from the earth, you would never, ever fall in love with them. My thinking on that still stands but this book was different in the aspect that our boy Reid hunts witches because of his religion, not out of pure hatred. Sure, he hates them, but it’s not as deep as some other character and books that I’ve read. This simple fact made me look at Reid and Lou’s relationship differently.

“There are some things that can’t be changed with words. Some things have to be seen. They have to be felt.”

I opened this book up one night around 1 am (thank you insomnia) and I was wholesomely expecting it to lull me to sleep. Little did I know that I would be up all night devouring chapter after chapter and I would end up screaming for me and cursing the fact that I had to wait for the sequel. Now the sequel, Blood and Honey, is here and I’m screaming again! But let’s focus on the book in topic.

“But the flames come first with the Church. Questions second. It’s a dangerous time to be female.”

Serpent & Dove is a magically crafted work of art. Lou is dynamic, hilarious, ‘grab them by the balls’ type of gal and I loved her. I loved her from the first moment I was introduced to her and I fell in love with her chapter after chapter. She’s tough, gritty, fights for what she believes to be true, and honestly reminds me of a smaller Aelin Galathynius. If you know, you know. Lou is a witch, obviously, and she uses her magic for good. She doesn’t bow down to anyone and that was so refreshing considering there is a lot of machoness going around these pages. Lou does as she wants and no one can tell her any differently. Not even Reid.

“I loved her. Despite everything. Despite the lies, the betrayal, the hurt. Despite the Archbishop and Morgane le Blanc. Despite my own brothers. I don’t know if she returned that love, and I didn’t care. If she was destined to burn in Hell, I would burn with her.”

Reid is a member of the church, a highly respected member, and in charge of hunting down witches and disposing of them. At first, I hated Reid. I thought he was pompous, indignant, and just not a likable character. Lou pretty much told him off every chance she got and I would have too if I ever met him. But, and there is always a but… Reid grew on me. He wasn’t an asshole. He was focused on his goal, on the mission he believed he got from God to make the world pure. He met Lou and although I found it a little suspicious that he couldn’t tell she was a witch but could sniff one out in a crowd of hundreds, he softened towards her. They fought, a lot, and definitely had the enemies-to-lovers troupe down pat, but we were able to see a different side to him and I fell in love with him as well. He’s that strong, level headed, focused, tough manly-man you love to read about because you want that in real life and since you can’t have it in real life, you settle for the fictional man. Right? Or is that just me?

“Why the fuck is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife?”

Anyways, I digress. This book is about badass witches, both good and bad, different types of magic that I found utterly fascinating and unique. I could have an entire book on the side characters such as Coco and the plot twits. Oh, the plot twists. There aren’t many plot twists that surprise me but this, this… This book had some amazingly frustrating, mind-blowing twists that I would have never of saw coming in a million years. The witch hunters were easily hateable but not for long. You’ll end up falling in love with them just as I did and I can guarantee that. The book had so many ups and downs and not one dry spell. Every chapter was filled with something new, something more that needed to be unraveled. Between nail-biting scenes, to ‘what the actual fuck’ scenes, Serpent & Dove is a magically unique book that will have on sitting on the edge of your seat for the entire length of the book. And then it’s going to make you run to your local book store to buy the second book, Blood & Honey because this ends on a cliff hanger with several important key parts left unfinished and there’s no way I can survive without knowing what happens next.

“Death couldn’t take him away from me. He was me. Our souls were bound.”

If you want magic, witches, enemies-to-lovers, suspense, and major blinding plot twists, Serpent & Dove is the book for you! This is one of my favorite books of 2020 so far and I’m sure that Blood & Honey will be joining that list. I’m off to read book 2 because I can’t wait another second. If you’re contemplating buying this, do it and get book 2 as well. You don’t want to have to run to the bookstore five minutes before it closes to get Blood & Honey or else you might die from anticipation. That was me and it was horrible. Buy this, read it, love it, and buy Blood & Honey as well. You wont regret it!

“That is love, to give everything, to sacrifice anything without the slightest desire to get anything in return”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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