Title: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2)

Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Paranormal
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: September 17, 2020
Hardcover: 532 pages

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐.5
Blood&Honey is the second instalment in the Serpent&Dove series, and I thought it was going to be the last book, but surprise... it's not, it's going to be a trilogy and after the way this one ended it's going to be a torturous wait for the next book.

The story continues from where Serpent&Dove left off. Lou, Reid and their group are now trying to rally allies to defeat Morgane. And while they do this they must remain covert, to avoid the chasseurs, who have orders from the king to capture them at any cost but also to stay hidden from Morgane herself, who is still after Lou. But keeping a low profile isn't easy when the enemy has eyes everywhere, and using magic only seems to create a rift between Lou and Reid. Loyalties are being tested and their relationship will either fall apart or become even stronger by the end.

I have conflicted feelings about this book. The story is told from dual POV, with Reid taking the spotlight more often than Lou, and I enjoyed it because we get to establish a deeper connection with him, but I felt like some conversations were dragged out, and there was not enough interaction between the two of them. The atmosphere is darker than in the previous instalment and the writing style is still enthralling, but the pace of the story is slow and the romantic aspect of Lou and Reid's relationship went downhill. Reid was so lost in his thoughts and his disdain for magic that without realising it he kept pushing Lou away, and Lou, in her desire to help him see he was wrong in his convictions and to help the people she loves, ended up making rash decisions that took a toll on her soul. There are also many new characters introduced and while I love the diversity, I felt like most of them offered nothing important to the story and it was hard to remember who was who.

What I like most about this book are the magic system and Lou's flamboyant personality. Even though her character goes through some changes during their journey, she never loses her sense of humour and tenacity. Her antics are adorable and seeing her embrace her darker side was definitely interesting. I can't help but love her even more. 

In terms of plot, there is action, there are secrets, mystery and suspense, but I feel like the story is more character-driven than anything else. This book ends with yet another cliffhanger that left me hungry for more. There are still questions left unanswered and a twist that brings new enemies into the light. I'm so curious to see what will happen next.