Title: Serpent & Dove
Series: Serpent & Dove #1
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Audiobook, 14 Hours 14 Minutes
Lou abandoned her coven and now lives Cesarine living off whatever she can steal. When a robbery goes wrong, she finds herself married to one of the people she hates most – a Chasseur, or witch hunter.
Reid never intended to marry. Especially not someone as unruly as Lou. But he can’t hid the connection and growing attraction.
But Lou is keeping secrets, one’s she may not be able to keep for long.
If you’re wondering why these character descriptions are so short, it’s because these characters have no personality…
➸ Louise (Lou): Witch, Dames Blanches coven, Thief
➸ Reid: Chasseur, Hunts/hates witches, Orphan, Captain
➸ Content Warnings: Forced marriage, Death, Assault, Sexism, Self-harm (how a witch harnesses her power), Domestic abuse, Violence, Blood/Gore, Religious extremism & oppression, Abandonment
Blech… this was a major letdown. I’ve been completely obsessed with fantasy romance this year so I was so ready to dive into this one. But unfortunately it didn’t deliver on either the fantasy or the romance front…
All in all, I have very “meh” feelings about this entire thing. Nothing was glaringly bad but I never actually enjoyed my time reading this. I felt like this entire book was just very surface level and underdeveloped. I was never gripped or invested in a single aspect of this book.
I felt like a lot of things were really heavy handed and I did not like the motivation behind these 2 characters forced marriage. It made very little sense to me. This also had one of my biggest bookish pet peeves of using “days/months/time passed” and using that to move along the relationship. Logically I understand that time has passed so the ice has thawed between the characters, but it still feels instantaneous to the reader because literally 4 sentences ago the characters hated each other. By cutting out that time, their feeling felt disingenuous and unbelievable. So I didn’t care about them or their feelings.
Beyond not caring one ounce about the romance, this book lacked any semblance of world building. The world was so heavily inspired by French history that it almost felt lazy. Because nothing was ever explained. What is the world like? Where are the characters located? We spend all 500+ pages in 5 block radius and learn absolutely nothing about the rest of the world.
And the few fantastical elements were equally unexplained. I have literally no grasp on how the witches magic works (beyond the blood witches). Lou constant repeats that her magic requires balance or trades but it’s still extremely confusing….
Overall this book was ill paced, underdeveloped, and forgettable. I didn’t care for the romance or magical elements. And the cliche ending did nothing for me. By the end I was tuning out so terribly that I still don’t understand the final dramatic reveal. I have no idea who this mysterious person is 😅 Were we introduced to them? Maybe. Do I care? Not at all…