Author: Shelby Mahurin
Audiobook Length: 14 hours 18 minutes
The stakes are higher. The witches are deadlier. And the romance is red-hot. The eagerly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and Indiebound best seller Serpent & Dove is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.
Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church – fugitives with nowhere to hide. To survive, they need allies. Strong ones. But as Lou becomes increasingly desperate to save those she loves, she turns to a darker side of magic that may cost Reid the one thing he can’t bear to lose.
Bound to her always, his vows were clear: Where Lou goes, he will go; and where she stays, he will stay.
Until death do they part.
Blood and Honey is the sequel to Serpent and Dove and continues right where the last novel left off. Since the series is continuous events from the first novel will potentially be spoiled in this review, although I will attempt to avoid spoilers for this one. This installment has a different feel than the first, so I definitely had to alter my expectations before I began reading. In this story, there is a lot of focus on the set-up for the final novel so there are tensions build-up and the final battle to prepare for, so I can see how it had a lot of mixed reviews from readers. For me, I wished the style of the first novel was incorporated more into this one to create a little more continuity. This could just be my feeling when reading, but the two just felt like different stories featuring the same characters as the character and plot focus was not similar between novels.
The story continues with Louise (Lou) and Reid fleeing from Chateau le blanc to escape Morgane Le Blanc. They divide up to gather allies in their fight against the villain. Lou, Ansel, and Coco seek out the Blood Witches, while Reid, Beau, and his mother seek out other allies. With the characters all having a common goal to defeat the common opposition, the story itself was simpler in design compared to the first. The magic system is explored in a lot more depth in this story with Lou losing herself a little when she uses magic and is trying to control it instead of it controlling her, which creates some tension with Reid. He is struggling with the secrets of his true identity and ancestry revealed in the previous novel and is having a difficult time accepting himself. Coco, Ansel, and Beau all have their own internal struggles that are explored in this novel as well, so there is some character development similar to the first novel. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel, but it still did not fully connect with me like the first novel.
I am very curious to begin the final novel, Gods and Monsters, as I am not sure there is enough material to create an entire story. A lot of the build-up to the final battle was done in this story and although some storylines still need to be wrapped up, I am not sure these could not have been accomplished in this story. I will have to complete the third novel to confirm my thoughts on this idea, but it really does seem that many of the pages at the beginning of this novel could have been redirected to wrapping up the series instead. I think that this series was originally proposed as a duology if my memory is correct, which confirms my suspicions, especially for the pacing issues. The dual perspective in this story was great as I enjoyed that it did not change every chapter as sometimes one character would have a few chapters before it switched. It made a lot of sense with the story, and I enjoyed this choice by the author. Overall, this novel is not bad, but it just does not have the same appeal as the first. There were a lot of pages, but the story doesn’t progress a lot and the characters just don’t resonate the same, at least for me, to the reader. It is great as a set-up for the final novel, but it would not be one that I would re-read.