Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

“They’d never know I was a witch. I’d be hidden in plain sight.”

– Shelby Mahurin

Release Date: September 3, 2019
Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss+ for an eARC of this novel!

I need a physical copy of this book ASAP along with the second book. Oh my god this was such an amazing novel and I’m so glad I got to read it early so I can promote the crap out of it. I had seen this cover around various book groups but hadn’t heard much about it, so I requested it basically knowing nothing about it. I love unique magic systems and Mahurin did not fail to deliver a fresh and new idea on what and how magic worked in her world. The main characters were also relatable and I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing the tremendous character growth from beginning to end in book one.

➽ Lou – A witch on the run with some dark secrets to hide. She’s is sassy as hell with a kickass humor to boot. She was strong, smart, a bit selfish, but above all she is loyal to those she truly cares about like her friend Coco. While she is a witch, she has given up her magic hoping to hide not only from the Chasseurs who hunt and burn witches but from her coven who she ran from two years ago. When we first meet Lou she is disguised as a man and has come to a brothel seeking the location of a mystical ring that she needs to hide from whoever is tracking her. Lou is on the run from someone and with the help of Coco has successfully evaded capture for the past two years, but she feels whoever she ran from closing in on her and might need a change of plans if she wants to stay hidden. When an encounter with a young Chasseur puts her in a predicament, she realizes that there is nowhere better to hide than under the protection of a witch-killer who doesn’t know he’s hiding a witch.

➽ Reid Diggory – Married to his job as a Chasseur, he takes his job very seriously with his main purpose being to hunt and kill the witches plaquing the city of Cesarine. This life is all he has known since the Archbishop took him in as a child and he excels at it. He’s quickly made his way to the top as Captain and not even his first love will stand in between him an his true purpose. Then he crosses paths with Lou who pulls a stunt that puts his position as Chasseur at risk with the only solution being marriage. Lou is everything a prim and proper woman is not, but it’s either marriage or being stripped of his position. Reid slowly starts to realize that Lou might just be more difficult than she’s worth though.

Lou and Reid’s interactions were genuine and hilarious. Both are from different religious upbringings and of course Lou is a witch and Reids’ duty is to kill witches so it was interesting to watch them both struggle with and question what they had believed all their lives. This was a slow blossoming romance and Reid was so sweet and swoon-worthy. Reid and Lou are walking different paths but somehow they learn to grow both individually and together. They also have amazing friends such as Ansel and Coco to help them find their way and see things from different perspectives.

The magic system in this book was incredibly unique. “Magic demands balance” is a phrased used all the time in magic systems, but sometimes that repayment for balance is sometimes not known at the time. With this system it’s an instant transaction with the payment having to be made upfront, like breaking a finger to break a lock. There are also patterns only witches can see with many different possible options available, but no two witches can see the same patterns it is unique to them. I can’t wait to explore more of this in the next book and see what other covens there may be in this world.

There have been very few 5 star reviews for me this year but this is one of my top books of 2019. I’m actually kind of sad I got to read it so early because I now have to wait FOREVER for not only this to be released to everyone, but for the second book. Shelby Mahurin has spun an amazing story with not only loveable main characters, but secondary characters that I love just as much and can’t wait to see again. If you are tired of reading about witches or not fully formed magic systems give this book a try because it will make you remember why you use to love these types of books.

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