Title: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: October 2019
Hardcover: 528 pages
My Rating: ★★★★


Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc 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.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory 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 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.


“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Serpent & Dove was such an alluring novel. The story captured my attention from the first pages. Shelby Mahurin created an intricate society and a unique magic system that enthralled me completely. The writing style was very appealing, and I felt myself being swept away by the narrative.

“The streets bustled with revelers bundled in coats and scarves, and a light coating of snow-dusted everything—the shops, the stalls, the carriages, the street. Wreaths with red bows hung from nearly every door. The wind caught at the ribbons and made the tails dance.”

Told in dual POV, the story had enough fantasy and romantic elements to keep me engaged in the plot. The action was well-paced and left room for character development. The heroine, Lou, had such an effervescent personality, I loved her from the start. She was such a badass, brave and sassy, but also kindhearted. Her antics were adorable and her foul mouth was pure delight. The push and pull and the build-up tension between her and Reid made this book that much sweeter. I'm a sucker for slow-burn romance, and I have to say that this book delivered some very hot scenes between the protagonists. I had my doubts about Reid's character at first; he seemed dull and unanimated but his evolution was noticeable and gradually I warmed up to him. Raised to be a witch hunter, it was hard to put aside the doctrine that the archbishop beat into him, but love proved to be much stronger than any obstacle and I rooted so hard for him and Lou to be together. Also, the secondary characters were very interesting and relatable. Ansel, Coco, Jean Luc, even Beau, all added flavor to the story and kept it entertaining.

“Every aspect of Reid was precise, certain, every color in its proper place. Undiluted by indecision, he saw the world in black and white, suffering none of the messy, charcoal colors in between. The colors of ash and smoke. Of fear and doubt.The colors of me.”

The ending felt a bit abrupt after the revelations in the last chapter but I really hope that the next book in the series will continue Lou and Reid's story. Overall I think it was a great debut novel. It was darker than I expected and had a lot more mature content than a typical YA book but for me, that was an added bonus.

"It doesn’t end in death. It ends in hope."

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who loves romance stories with a touch of magic.