Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

September 15, 2021     erinthebooknut     Book review

Serpent and Dove by Shelby MahurinSerpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Published by HarperCollins on September 3, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations, Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Wizards & Witches, Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Historical
Pages: 544

New York Times Bestseller * Indiebound Bestseller * An Amazon Best Book of 2019 * B&N's YA Book Club Pick

"A brilliant debut, full of everything I love: a sparkling and fully realized heroine, an intricate and deadly system of magic, and a searing romance that kept me reading long into the night. Serpent & Dove is an absolute gem of a book." —Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy trilogy, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.

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.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

Don't miss Gods & Monsters, the spellbinding conclusion of this epic trilogy!

4.5 Nuts


All aboard the hype train!

After having tons of people beat me over the head with the need to have me read these books I finally picked up the first one. SERPENT AND DOVE is part His Fair Assassins, part Witcher, and all fantasy goodness. Shelby Mahurin’s books have often been heard in the same breath as Jennifer L Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series. While I wouldn’t really go that far I would definitely say that SERPENT AND DOVE is definitely in the top tier of YA fantasy novels right now.

Our heroes are Lou, short for Louise, a thief and secret witch and Reid Diggory captain of the Chassuers or church ordained Witch Hunters. Lou is a fairly typical YA heroine evoking shades of VE Schwab’s Lila Bard . She’s brash, bawdy, and delights in embarrassing a certain red headed captain. Reid is your straight-laced white knight type. Early Chaol Westfall or Hector from A GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS vibes for sure. “He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it anymore obvious…” and all that. Yeah, it’s a YA trope for a reason. Enemies to lovers whether both enemies know it or not.

That doesn’t mean the whole book is as predictable as the trope on which it is based. Quite the contrary, SERPENT AND DOVE is full of all sorts of wonderful secrets and nothing happens without a reason. It is the perfect example of a well crafted fantasy.


From the world building to the slow, deliberate softening of Lou and Reid’s hearts toward each other, to the action hiding behind seemingly innocuous moments, Mahurin does an excellent job at grabbing you and holding you in place as she weaves her tale around you. Intending on taking a break? Yeah, I don’t think so. That’s not allowed here. Mahurin wants you to keep reading and never stop. or so it seems. You just have to find out what happens next.

My mom and I read this book together and I really enjoyed the fact that I had to keep reminding her that we were reading a YA book. It’s truly a compliment to an author’s style and writing when you can forget the ages of the characters and just be in the world with them and exist along side. The characters seem so real and so a part of their worlds without needing to stop and remind you that these are teenagers.

This is one of those books that is so hard to describe without spoiling things so I will just leave it by singing its praises and agree with those who insisted that I read SERPENT AND DOVE in the first place. It’s the perfect book for fans of Maas and Armentrout who are waiting not so patiently for the next books in their series. Or perhaps you enjoyed the French style fantasy of GRAVE MERCY and the other His Fair Assassins books. Whatever kind of fantasy reader you are I think you’ll love this book.

What’s your favorite fantasy right now? Share your pick in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.