Book Review

Book Review: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove #3) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The spellbinding conclusion to the New York Times and IndieBound bestselling trilogy Serpent & Dove. This stunning fantasy take on French witches and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT I FEEL HURTS.

My one main sentiment is that of the previous sentence. Why can’t I get a good ending to a series? Is this why I have a hard time finishing them? UGH.

I love the characters and this world and I think that’s also what made the dissatisfaction more apparent. Everyone on this cast is solid and well rounded with flaws and strengths. Wit and passion that make me love them. And I desperately needed more of that.

What I missed most was Reid and Lou, being Reid and Lou. In vague terms, both characters were dealing with separate debacles that took until page FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE to be completely and fully resolved. To say I was salty was an understatement. I wanted the banter and flirtation that was way more present in the first two novels. The main conflict doesn’t always have to come between the couple. Especially if the couple has already truly gotten together before the finale then why not LET THEM WORK TOGETHER. Gosh dang it, such a missed opportunity.

With those debacles came a very round about and torturously long route to the final battle. With many scenes that dragged on. And when the sex scenes came into play I didn’t love those either. They didn’t fit the story, and they definitely didn’t fit the YA category. A big mash up of MEH.

I was full of anguish at how all of this went down. I loved the tidbit from a past character. That was sweet and hopeful. The ending wrapped things up at least, and the epilogue was cute.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses to two brief open door scenes
  • Violence: physical, magical, near drowning, fires, loss of friends, battle scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

WHERE’S THE LOVE?

Wow did this characters go through the ringer this round.

This was a great sequel! Though, it may have ripped my heart out. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

RIGHT?

We got dropped right back in where we left off from the first one. And thankfully there’s plenty of nice segues to remember details of what happened in Serpent & Dove. The action was picked up exponentially this round. I found the pace pretty quick and turning every page with anticipation of what creature in the woods was going to pop up next. Plenty of violence and shock moments that really left me reeling.

This was really missing some romance. From the beginning their was a reasonable amount of angst between Lou and Reid but it needed MORE MORE MORE. What I did like is that the conflict between them wasn’t silly drama or a major lack of communication. Both of them were struggling to grasp and cope with the changes being thrown wildly at them. As time progressed and Lou and Reid realized their mistakes they were able to come together, so I liked the general development of their relationship. I also love these guy separately. Such clear opposites that play so well off of each other and in their own segments.

All of these characters really have my love (and when necessary, ABSOLUTE LOATHING). Even those on the side are incredibly well developed, and we get enough back story on them to connect emotionally, but not overrun the story itself. I loved learning about more of the creatures (witches, werewolves, and other mythical beings oh my!) and how they fit into the world Mahurin has built.

I felt a string of emotions and easily devoured this quickly. Talk about an ending that makes you absolutely flip out and I will be [yet again] anxiously awaiting the finale for this trilogy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; some almost scenes and a mild detailed scene
  • Violence: bloody and gory; murder, swords, arrows, physical altercations, animal attacks, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 528 pages
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

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.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

REID & LOU: NEW OTP.

In recent memory I can easily say that this was a book that actually lived up to the hype. I LOVED IT. Barely 50 pages in, I was hooked, and I wanted to savor the rest of this amazing story.

Loved this setting. Loved the writing. Love these characters.

Speaking of, REID y’all. I love how passionate he was (and rather stubborn too), but also very tender and had a big heart beneath it all. I liked the influence his religion played on all of his decisions and emotions. He stayed true to who he was, but also learned to be open and adapt to previously misleading information. He was SO CUTE and I adore him. His love scene with Lou was also unique for YA and I found it absolutely amazing and well done (and that’s all I will say on that to avoid spoilers, but you’ll understand if you’ve read it!).

Lou was a great MC too. I love how much she chooses love. Lou wanted more out of life than what she was handed and sought after those things and I applaud her for it. Her growth was immense and she learned a lot about herself too. It was so appealing to have both Reid and Lou see outside their boxes to learn and understand about one another.

Best friend alert: Ansel & Coco. OH MY GOODNESS. The side characters were fabulous! I loved this just as much as the MCs. They had a lot to offer and actually brought something to the table. Ansel was my sweet baby and I just want to love him forever okay? I beg the universe not to kill him off in the next book, I might shatter. HE WAS PERFECT. Coco was her own fiery beast that I would so be BFFs with. Easy to love, sneaky, loyal, yes yes yes. Beau was a great addition towards the end too. I’m very curious how he’ll play a part in book two.

Lots of action and intrigue in this book. The pacing kept me constantly intrigued. There was a steady flow of things happening, to slowing down a bit, and to not notice that this book was 500 pages is a stellar job all on it’s own. I enjoyed the villain immensely more than I even considered I might. They threw in some twists I didn’t see coming and were seriously, heinously evil. I will clap for that because I hate a wishy-washy bad guy.

BOOK TWO, I NEED YOU.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a detailed love scene
  • Violence: magical, blood magic, physical, knives, swords, poison, paralysis via drugs, torture, arrows

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