Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Septembers Fairyloot book <3 ascetically it is beautiful, has gorgeous bronze shimmery sprayed edges, the cover is slightly embossed and there is exclusive art on the inside of the dust jacket. I am in love with it.
I haven't been enjoying YA fantasy lately which is really worrying as im worried that im outgrowing YA *cries* so i was dubious to start this to say the least.
Serpent and Dove is a 2019 debut fantasy YA novel set in the city of Cesarine that follows our two main characters from opposite sides of the track so to speak:
- Lou- a witch who had fled her coven. Lou is sassy, says and does what she pleases and answers to no one. I like a sassy character but Lou could be a bit over the top at times even for me. Lous is being hunted by the witches for fleeing and is carrying many secrets from her past
- Reid- an orphan raised as a chasseur and sworn to the church, he has never known any other life and has dedicated his life to one of morals and following the rules. A chasseurs role in the society of Cesarine is to keep the public safe and to hunt witches and burn them at the stake.
When Lou and Reid are forced into an arranged marriage they must learn to deal with each other and each others flaws. At first it did seem like an unlikely match but as time goes on the reader slowly realises that they are made for each other. The slow burn hate to love romance is done so well as well. The church is at war with the witches and Lou must hide who she really is from Reid in the fear of him handing her over to be burned at the stake.
The plot was interesting, i havent read many books like this so props for originality. Theres always something that seems to be happening so there arent many dull or boring moments. I did listen to the audio for this and found the 2 narrators did a great job. The male character is the same narrator as Nevernight and that made me love it even more!
The things i didnt like about this book mainly was the setting, i really dont dig French books, i dont speak much French and found myself forever googling chapter names or the names of places in order to not get to lost with what was happening, although this may be endearing to some i really didnt care for it. The aspects of magic werent the most original as ive seen it done in many YA fantasy books especially the blood magic elements but hey theres only so much creativity you can bring to a magic system i guess, it didnt affect my overall rating. A few side characters could have been developed a little more as it felt like they were only used for the action scenes, they were rarely in the background unless they needed to be, they didnt feel very real for me. More background to Lou would have been nice and Reid also, the big reveal of their secrets felt ever so slightly anti climatic.
Overall i though the writing was good and the story was well plotted especially for a debut novel. I enjoyed the characters and their relationship dynamic as well as their dialogue and witty banter. I found a few of the side characters to be a bit of a let down in places but really enjoyed Coco and Hansel and hope they are included in the sequel. I am really glad i got to this book especially in October as it has such a spooky vibe but is still light, fun and engaging.