Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Title: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Release Date: 3 September 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars



This was another one of my most anticipated books! This cover called my name and the book description reminded me of Nina and Matthias (and who doesn’t want more of the enemies-to-lovers trope?).

I really, really want to give this book 5 stars, but there were definitely a few things I had issues with.

We follow Louise as she tries to survive in a city that happily burns women the moment someone thinks she’s witch. This book offers a terrifying look into what happens when people think that they can choose who lives and who dies, and into a society where a woman is little more than an object and how she is seen when she rebels against those values.

Naturally, it’s only fair we have a protagonist who is everything the Church doesn’t like in a woman.

It’s witty, it’s beautiful, and it’s worth the read.

Please pick this book up!

Good Underlying Messages/ Themes:

  • Women are living, breathing beings. Not objects.
  • Don’t be afraid to question things.
  • Things aren’t always black and white; there are different sides to everything.

A whole star for this category!

Realistic Characters and Growth:

I think Lou is now officially one of my favorite characters ever! She’s not afraid to be tough or to stand out from the rest of the world or to be herself. I love that about her and she made me laugh throughout the entire book with her swearing and unpredictability.

Reid took some getting used to, but ultimately he is a good person. I feel like he is the perfect example of how much more attractive respect is than ego will ever be. He was quite cold at the beginning, but now he’s such a sweetie!

“Only God can judge us. Only God can read the depths of our soul. And I think He understands the power of circumstance and fear.”

Coco is someone I would love to have by my side and I loved Ansel the moment we met him. To be honest, I was praying from the beginning of the book that they wouldn’t die.

I had one tiny problem with Lou and Reid: Once they were in love, their relationship stopped growing. The moment they said I love you, they stopped changing. I started losing some of my interest in them. And that’s bad because also around that time, the plot slowed to a turtle’s pace.

Half a star for this category.

Fantastic World-Building:

I felt the world-building was a bit lacking.

We got the most basic essentials plus a few other things such as how women are treated and how the witches were at war.

I like the magic system in this book, the way golden strings were used and how it demanded something back in return. It’s different from anything I’ve read before.

And that’s it, I suppose.

Misfortune never arrives alone.

I want to know more. More about how Lou lived before meeting Reid, about her relationship with Coco, about the monarchy. When the prince came into the scene, he didn’t have the aura of a prince. He felt like just another side-character. He was just there.

Half a star for this category.

Interesting Story:

This book is everyone’s favorite trope in 500+ pages: enemies-to-lovers. Matthias and Nina style. Obviously, this appeals to so many people, myself included.

There were quite a few tense moments with Lou and her magic, especially her being surrounded by witch hunters.

That is love, to giveaway everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.

My problem was that the plot just seemed to stop in the middle of the book. We just have Lou walking around the church and not much more. As I mentioned before, that was a bad move because that was also where the romance seemed to peak.

Half a star for this category.


It’s been so long since I’ve read a book that made me laugh out loud, so you can imagine my surprise when this book actually made me giggle.

“Love makes fools of us all, darling.”

I think Lou’s fear hits hard in this book because you see her acting so strong and tough for the whole book, but when she shows weakness it’s so disorienting, you can’t help but be afraid too.

A whole star for this category!

That’s it!

I apologize for the lack of GIFs in this post, there seems to be something wrong with the undersea cables or something, and now the internet is frustratingly slow. So yeah, I think everyone in South Africa is currently suffering from super slow internet, but what can you do?

I’m going to be honest: This was a hard review to write. I loved this book so much when I finished it and immediately wanted to give it 5 stars, but there were definitely some things that bothered me immensely. So while I loved many parts of the book, it doesn’t quite overshadow the problems.

What did you think of Serpent & Dove? Link your review down below!

Till we meet again!

Xx Alexia

7 thoughts on “Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Add yours

  1. This caught my eye a couple months ago and I’ll definitely have to grab a copy and read it! I loved Nina and Matthias and I’m excited and scared for how the couple in this will fare 😱

    Liked by 1 person

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