Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mathurin

It has been quite a time since I wanted to read Serpent & Dove and I’m not disappointed by it!

Themes: YA fantasy, romance, revenge, witches, betrayal

The synopsis

Louise Le Blanc has been hiding from her coven in Cesarine for two years. She’s now a thief and has left her magic behind her. Because witches like Lou are persecuted and she will be burned if she’s discovered. Reid is a Chasseur, sworn to the Church and devoted to the hunt of witches.

They should have nerver met but destiny is a cruel thing and decides to force them into matrimony. When Lou’s ennemies find her again, she has to decide if she can trust Reid and on which side she will stand in the upcoming war.

The review

So, where to begin? Serpent & Dove has a strong start with the introduction of Lou and her friend Coco planning a theft. We quickly learn that they’re both witches but from different kinds. When Lou is a White Witch drawing her magic from patterns around her, Coco is a Red Witch whose power is based on blood. Even if the magical system is a bit blurry, the reader understands it through the use of magic by each of the witches of the book. I really liked the idea of magic claiming compensation because for me if you’re doing things “unnatural” you have to give something in return. And that’s exaclty how witchcraft works in this book.

Our witches have to practice magic quite often to protect themselves since they are hunted down by the Church and its Chasseurs and are surrounded by an intolerant society which considers women as simple properties and shameless beings. I found the use of religion and the Bible quite clever since the writer has obviously taken her inspiration from France, where christianism was very well spread. Cesarine reminded me of medieval French cities and I found clever the use of French culture to create the world, with for example well known names such as La Voisin who is a presumed witch burned in Paris during the 17th century. This inspiration is also supported by the use of French vocabulary, sometimes incorrect but at least translated in the text (which is not the case in a lot of books unsing foreign language). I loved the writing style that just kept me reading and reading without seeing the chapters passing by.

I really enjoyed the different characters even if Lou and Coco remain my favourites because their friendship is so heartwarming. Each characters in the novel has a past and a personality explaining the choices made. There is no illogical decisions made by a character because it suits the author. The plot might have some flaws but Lou saves everything with her witty personality, her irony and humour and her irreverent behaviour. I can’t tell you how much I laughed because of her. And even if her and Coco are supposed to be the good ones in the book, they also show the darkest side we can think about witches. Several characters are morally grey and show how much beliefs can make you do horrible things and keep you from seeing the other side of the coin.

For those who are here for the romance, this one is made for the fans of the ennemies-to-lovers type. It’s even more enjoyable since Lou doesn’t loose her personnality to become a syrupy heroine without any substance. The only thing that ticked me off was concerning Reid. He’s supposed to have already met the love of his life and even if the beginning of the romance is coherent he falls in love with her very quickly (particularly from the ball scene). I don’t think it suits his personnality and it seemed a bit rushed off to me.

In brief: I know this book has flaws but I still love it and Lou is now one of my favourite heroine. Serpent & Dove is definitively a book I’m adding to my good witchy books list. It’s a real page-turner and I really struggled to put it down. It has the right amount of magic, romance and action.

My rating: 5/5

4 thoughts on “Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mathurin”

  1. GORGEOUS REVIEW 😂 I agree with you on most fronts, serpent and dove was such a bingeable book. It irritated me that they had to go back in time and add all these sexist elements to the story – there’s enough problems in the modern world without going back in time (I don’t know if that makes sense lol). I really liked Lou (and the cover 🥵) and she did have some brilliant moments with her ‘Chausseur’. Here’s my review! The hype made me read it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I understand what you mean by saying going back in time wasn’t necessary but I still liked that fact. I think it was most of all for the worldbuilding and to make the Church credible. I’ll take a look at your review 😉


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