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ARC Book Review: ‘Serpent & Dove’ by Shelby Mahurin

Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Length: 516 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins


This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, I was so grateful to get my hands on a early copy. Would it live up to my expectations?

Louise Le Blanc gave up her magic when she escaped her coven and fled to Cesarine, a city patrolled by huntsmen who live by one creed: Thou Shalt bit suffer a witch to live. But after she tricks one of the city’s witch hunters into a public scandal, the two are forced into an impossible union- holy matrimony. Lou knows a union like that can only end with a stake and a match. And love makes fools of us all…

‘Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.’

THIS IS THE BEST YA BOOK I HAVE READ THIS YEAR. Did I write that clearly enough? Did it really get across how I feel? Do I need to repeat myself, because I will. I absolutely adored this book. From beginning to end. And everything in between. The premise, the characters, the plot, the romance. Everything.

The story was so intriguing. As the book begins and things start to be revealed, you have so many questions. Why did Lou run from the witches? Why does the Archbishop come up with this plan? And it was just fantastic. The story was full of action, yet detailed and full of tender moments, and sometimes laugh out loud funny. It had some plot twists and an ending that left me wanting more.

It’s also got brilliant characters. The story is told from the perspectives of Lou and Reid. I mean, Lou is the kick-ass, fierce, funny YA character us readers have been longing for. She’s an absolute Queen. And Reid is also this charming, funny and decent man that is a perfect match for Lou. It’s also got some great side characters, like Ansel and Coco. These characters have got depth. They’re real, honest. You can root for them. Fall in love with them. No, that was too far Jack.

Now, can I talk about the romance? I can, good. Oh it was perfect. I f*cking loved it. Seriously. For me, when a romance works, I get this feeling in stomach. And I got it with Lou and Reid. It was a beautiful slow burn romance that gradually turned into a passionate love. It was EPIC. It was the perfect amount of steaminess. It’s the kind of love story that has you up reading at 4am, crying because it’s so good. Oh, that was just me??? Ok!!

Obviously, magic has been done before in books, maybe you’ve heard of a little series called Harry Potter. But Shelby Maurin has a great take on her own kind of magic. It’s different, unique and I can’t wait for it to be explored more in book two. The witches are fantastic. When they’re first introduced, carrying out their attack, the imagery is fantastic. I knew, they were going to be great villains. It’s the moment I fell in love with this book.

‘They glided down the street with serene smiles, hair billowing in a nonexistent wind. Three of them. Laughing as bodies fell around them with the simplest flicks of their fingers.’

Another reason why this book works so well is because of the writing. It conjures up some fantastic imagery. Just read that quote above. Can’t you see it so beautifully in your head? It’s so vivid, so fresh. The dialogue between the characters is funny, sharp and quick witted. It’s got so many smaller, detailed subplots that keeps it interesting and well paced until the very end. With it being set in seventeenth-century France, it’s adds a real gothic, romantic, holy feel to the story. It’s the perfect setting. This is the debut novel from Shelby Mahurin but it read like she’s been at the top of the writing game for years (which in my opinion she now is.)

So, just to reiterate my point, THIS IS THE BEST YA BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR. I can’t wait for book 2 (no pressure Shelby! Who am I kidding, she’s not reading this review) I would sell my soul to read it.

So yeah, I guess I recommend this book.

Thank you so much to HarperCollins for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now in the US and October 17th in the UK.

Until the next review


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