Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin | Book Review
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Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took residence in the one town she thought she'd be safe, Cesarine. Hiding in plain sight, Louise gave up her magic and became a street thief. But the atrocities of the Church will never let her forget she is a witch. The Chasseurs hunt any who would dare show magic in the city, and she is reminded time and again why she must never use her power. But when a public incident involving Louise and Chasseur Reid Diggory threatens to bring embarrassment to the Church, they will find their fates woven together. Bound by marriage, witch and Chasseur must find a balance, and Louise will have to be ever so careful.
Serpent & Dove is one of those books I picked up and put down time and time again at the bookstore. The cover lured me in, the premises sounded interesting, but I was worried it would fall into the repetitive young adult tropes. Then I received it as a secret Santa gift and decided to give it a try. And I am glad I did.
Do not expect a magic heavy story. If anything the magic accents the storyline instead of being the main focus. Yes, Louise is a witch, but using magic in Cesarine is a death sentence. In this world, magic evokes a smell that is impossible to miss. However, Louise is not defenseless without her magic. She has a sharp wit and survival instincts that save her in some of the most precarious situations.
Reid is set in his ways, as can be expected, and watching Louise unnerve him time again with her behavior is hilarious. While he tries to be in a constant state of control and seriousness, Louise breaks out into bawdy tavern songs and embarrasses him for the fun of it. With the two being complete opposites, it makes their story all the more entertaining. And Shelby Mahurin has a knack for putting her characters in compromising situations, ramping up the tension, and switching points of view in the next chapter, leaving you to wonder what happens next.
The romance in Serpent & Dove takes an extremely long time to develop, as it should. Most of the tension and conflict built into the story does not surround the relationship, but the outside forces opposing Louise. And by the time the plot starts to edge the two towards one another, there is enough history between them to make it work. I loved every moment of it, and I am not the type to root for romance in a novel.
Serpent & Dove is a well crafted story of enemies to lovers. There is a little bit of everything mixed into the storyline, daring heists, action, friendship, sisterhood, proof that love can be a powerful magic all it's own and so much more.
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