Title: Serpent and Dove
Author: Shelby Maruhin
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Serpent and Dove, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I have a confession to make: I’ve had my eyes on this gorgeous, dark debut since before it came out. I’ve had to return this several times to the library before I got the chance to read it. Since I had no more renewals on the book, as soon as I was finished with P.S., I Still Love You, I dove in. This debut wasn’t perfect; the cast was so expansive it was near impossible to keep up, and some of the pacing and worldbuilding was shaky, but nonetheless, Maruhin has penned a dangerous, dark romance that had me laughing, crying, and swooning! I loved many things about this book, but the characters were my absolute favorite. This dark and delicious romance was fantastic; I loved the way the book went back and forth between Reid and Lou. Where magic and religion collide, Belterra is a dangerous place for religious soldiers and witches alike. Full of political intrigue, action, romance, and more than a few surprises, I can’t wait to read the sequel!
In the land of Belterra, the church has taken over everything, and witches have gone into hiding to avoid being burned at the stake. Louise ‘Lou’ de Blanc has been on the run for days, trying desperately to hide from those who wish her bodily harm. She also has another secret: she is a witch, able to manipulate patterns around her to work magic. When she meets Reid Diggory, a soldier for the Church, called a Chassuer, Lou finds herself in a situation she cannot talk her way out of: The Archbishop orders that the couple be wed, and Lou reluctantly agrees. But there’s a fine line between love and hate, and Lou and Reid are about to see just how fine it can get…
I very much enjoyed this book! There were a couple of little flaws, and I wish that the worldbuilding was explained better, but overall, this was a really strong debut! The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately captivated by Lou’s sparkling and hilarious voice. I also loved the way the book went back and forth between she and Reid. Honestly, the Church in this book gave me the creeps, which I suppose was the point. I loved that in Belterra, religion and magic were constantly at odds. I also adored the romance between Lou and Reid; one of my favorite, classic tropes is enemies to lovers, and this book just knocked that part out of the park! I hope more information, particularly about the world, is revealed in the next book, but this book might be one of my favorites of the last year! Romantic, dark, chilling and surprising, I loved Serpent and Dove! Forbidden, hate-to-love romance is one of my favorite forms of literary catnip! The bottom line: Rich, hilarious, dark and delicious, I loved Serpent and Dove! Next on deck: Salvaged by Madeleine Roux!