BOOK REVIEW: Serpent & Dove is an incredible new series debut from author Shelby Mahurin. This YA tale about witches and the church will leave you wanting to get your hands on the next book.
The author begins this story in 17th century France detailing how society views witches and how witches view society. Their views are completely black and white with no room for gray areas.
She introduces us to our heroine, a young woman named Lou(ise). She and her friend Coco are witches from rival clans surviving together as thieves in Cesarine. Even though the church and witches see the world in black and white, Lou and Coco are the gray areas.
Yet, they are not the only ones who live in the gray areas of this black and white world. Those like them are afraid to do anything, or just don’t know what to do to change the good versus evil mentality.
For the church and the witches, each side has their own version of who the good guy is, and it is always themselves. Evil is always the enemy, the person that does not believe or live the way they do. And that, right there, is what Shelby Mahurin tries to dispel as she works her way through this novel. There are people on both sides that don’t believe what their society believes. There has to be another way to create peace between the two sides.
The author also explores the many different facets of love throughout this book. The characters all seem to struggle with loss, abandonment, and neglect, especially when it concerns their parents. Some children are thrown away. Others are hated by their parents. Some parents search for their lost child and when found, they struggle to make amends (or even reveal the truth). Some children come to terms with the fact they have a lot of illegitimate brothers and sisters out there.
Mahurin did an excellent job exploring the many facets of love through the characters. In a way, one must wonder if perhaps she is working out the issues going on in her own life. There is that sense of abandonment repeated throughout with the main characters. There are strained relationships with mothers (or mother figures). But more importantly, our main characters learn to love each other for who they are, even if it is everything they are taught to hate.
“Beyond forcing me to examine my own perceptions, these characters also helped me rediscover the spark I’d lost-that essence of self we so often sacrifice to others. They took me on a journey of self-discovery while they ate sticky buns and battled witches, and for this reason alone, they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.” – Shelby Mahurin
In the battle between good and evil, in the end, it is love that matters. Love is the only thing that should matter. The question is how can they bridge that gap when they’ve spent centuries learning to hate each other?
Book Review: Serpent & Dove
This is one of those stories where I could not put the book down. I love really good witchy stories and this one definitely delivered. This book is a long read, but definitely worth it. It is not slow moving at any point, because of all the adventure, romance, and conflict.
I love the main character Lou(ise). Her banter and humor at the most awkward moments cracked me up. I was on the train reading a graphic love scene when she said something so inappropriate I actually laughed out loud. All I could think was, “God, I love her.”
This is by no means a scary tale. The book is more a great adventure than it is a romance.
This is the first book in a new series that strives to learn how a divided world can live together in harmony. In a black and white world, only what we believe in is right and everyone else is wrong. In a world filled with color, we live in peace with each other. We understand there are differences in beliefs, but that is not worth punishing those who do not believe the way you do.
In our current political climate, this book is a bit like George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World in that our world needs a new satire to explain the world we live in…and somehow find a way out of it. The other two satires were warnings of things to come. Serpent & Dove is about taking this world we live in and finding a way to fix it.
You can pick up Serpent & Dove at any of these preferred PW retailers:[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.]