Author: Shelby Mahurin
Audiobook Length: 14 hours 13 minutes
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.
Serpent & Dove is the first novel in the series that seems to be featured everywhere. It almost seemed that everyone else read it, but me, so I decided to finally take the plunge and begin the series. After finishing the first novel, I can see why it was hyped a lot over the years as there are some familiar tropes and elements, but there is a lot to captivate the reader from start to finish, even if it does begin a little slow. Now that I have completed the first novel, I am nervous to begin the sequels as they did not seem to be as well-received. Curiosity, however, does make me want to see what happens next. Before beginning, I do love the title as the serpent and dove made a lot of sense as representations for the characters. The main couple fit well as one at first seems like a serpent and the other a dove yet they show some qualities of each throughout the story.
The story focuses on Louise (Lou), a White witch (draws powers from patterns) who lives in Cesarine, a land where witches are persecuted and hunted by the Chasseurs under the instruction of the Archbishop. She has been in hiding from being caught as a witch and also from her mother, Morgane Le Blanc. On the other side is Reid, a captain in the Chasseurs. He is an orphan with no knowledge of his past, who was raised by the Church under the guidance of the Archbishop. Through a series of events involving Lou being caught for thievery, the two end up married, which made for an interesting dynamic in the enemies-to-lovers trope. The two are from opposite sides yet still working towards the same goal. There is a huge emphasis on the two main characters in this story where the romance is given some foundation that most likely will be further explored in the future installments.
There are other types of witches in this novel, such as Coco, Lou’s friend, who is a Red Witch (uses blood for her powers). I found this element very interesting, although I wanted even more as I was curious to learn everything about the magic. The two main characters do follow some common tropes with Lou being a “chosen one” and Reid having a secret past that affects his being, so if you are not a fan of either then you may not enjoy this story. For me, I liked it a lot as the two characters worked well together. I found myself liking Lou more at times and Reid more at others with even times where I liked neither and preferred the secondary characters. The writing style itself was great as there was a lot of information, but it was presented in a manner that was easy to track and not overly descriptive. Something that stood out outside of the actual plot was there are chapter titles. While it is easy to infer what will happen based on the words chosen, it is not fully confirmed until you actually complete each. Overall, this was an excellent introduction to the series. While the story does not end in an extreme cliffhanger, it does motivate the reader to pick up the next installment. I greatly look forward to reading the next novel, Blood and Honey, to see what will happen next!