He was a witch hunter, she was a witch. He obeyed the bible, she didn’t even read it. If you are a fan of enemies-to-lovers trope with characters who cannot be more different to each other, Serpent & Dove definitely delivers.
Serpent & Dove: A Whole New World
The book is set in a fantasy world where people speak French, but not necessarily in France – confusing, I know. I’m fairly certain that it is a made up world mixed with medieval France, complete with its medieval view on women but with forward-thinking female characters. While it all sounds confusing, please stay with me because Serpent & Dove is a great fantasy book!
The story begins with Louise or more affectionately known as Lou, the witch. She was looking for something – an heirloom shall we say – that seem to matter a lot to her. For me, the first quarter of the book serves as a good introduction to their world. It touches various important points that we should know of their world; the war between the church & the witches and what each character had to go through before their life intersects.
As many fantasy YA book, Serpent & Dove was written in dual POV. While one POV is obviously of Lou, the other belongs to Reid. He was an orphan who was taken in by the church and was trained to be a Chasseur, a witch hunter. He was extremely loyal to the church and made hunting witches his sole purpose in life.
This is where the story gets interesting. The two ended up crossing path and eventually had their life intertwined in the form of a convenience, arranged marriage. What could possibly go wrong?
Forbidden romance, Checked!
As mentioned earlier, these two didn’t have a cordial relationship at all in the beginning. Even worse, I dare say, they were enemies. As many in bookish community knows, when it comes to enemies-to-lovers romance trope in fantasy fiction, witty banter seems to be a requirement; Serpent & Dove is no exception. As expected, it was there written on the pages and their banter was a huge reason why I loved their relationship.
I really loved how their relationship evolved throughout the book. While there were many resistance and disdain in the beginning of it, they both slowly started to realise that there were no way out and the only way forward was to find ways for their union to work. For me, the author didn’t try too hard to make us root for them – she just did through her writing. The more you read, the more you’ll find yourself rooting for the couple.
Throughout the book, I was quite nervous on how the truth about who they are affect their relationship. Lie is never a good thing in a relationship – even if we claim it to be an omission of truth. Maybe because I was super invested in their relationship, I was a little heartbroken throughout that part of the book. I’m sure you know how it feels to find your OTP crashing down. But, spoiler alert – all would be well *phew*.
We should talk about its female friendship
Beyond romance, I have to say that Serpent & Dove has one of the best female friendships in YA. Lou has a best friend called Coco who was such a loveable character. She was just as bad as Lou and the perfect sidekick for her. I loved reading the shenanigans the two got into to protect the truth about who they are from their sworn enemies. Oh, to be witches amongst witch-hunters.
Despicable Villain? this book Definitely has one.
Often times, when reading a fantasy fiction, I focused on the villain. I’m the type of reader who thinks that villain is an important element in a story. A book with great hero and heroines but not a great villain? No, thank you.
It was a relief when I learn more about the villain as I read the book to find myself really, really hating the villain. The conflict in the book was definitely heightened the moment the villain appeared and intensified the plot. There is nothing much I can say about the villain and the conflict without spoiling the story but I’d just say that it was magnificent to read the whole thing unfold.
The book is good but not without its shortcomings; the pace.
The only complain about the book is the pace. While it was a good pace in terms of relationship-building, I have to say that the conflict felt rushed towards the end of the book. We did get the puzzle pieces throughout the book but the conflict itself was crammed through the last part of the book. Although I have to say that since we have the second book on its way, I do want to see how the whole thing plays out in the next book. After all, it is possible that the author is gearing up for an epic second book.
Read this if you love A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
SERPENT & DOVE (SERPENT & DOVE #1) BY SHELBY MAHURIN
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.