PRESS – PRESS – PRESS – Serpent and Dove don’t need more Press!
If you follow Booksta-grams, authors on social, Goodreads, or anything to do with books ever – then you’ve probably heard Serpent and Dove. The debut novel by Shelby Mahurin has quickly rose to fame becoming one of this years most talked about YA books. So as I was looking for book suggestions for my Halloween haul I came across this on insta and was skeptical suffice to say.
I had been going back and forth for days and basically due to divine intervention I had no choice but to pick up a copy, and as I began to read it I looked for every cliche trope, line, and boy meets girl scene to make me DNF it. So imagine my surprise when I finished Serpent and Dove, in literally two days! I can’t remember the last time I did that with a book, and don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t completely devoid of an eye roll moments but it was refreshing considering its counterparts are usually over hyped. Here’s the three (spoiler free) reasons on why Serpent and Dove worked:
BELLS OF NOTRE DAME
To begin with the book has a total Hunchback of Notre Dame vibe, like through and through. Set in the city of Cesraine it features a witch on the run, and a Chassuer (because its french) who is a witch hunter. So think of Esmeralda, and Phoebus but if Phoebus was robed like Frollo, and not in his golden painted armor (get it Game Of Thrones FANS…never mind).
Lou (short for Louise) is a bad ass witch who uses any means to survive a pretty dark fate of hers. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Lou but she goes grow on you, and you understand her decisions especially as she navigates her marriage to her Witch Hunter Chassuer husband Reid (LOVED HIM!). Now, by no means is Serpent and Dove a rip off Hunchback but the glorious setting of Cesraine will transport you to Gothism like you’ve never expected before.
In the world of YA this is a biggie because in the fantasy genre its like a carnal rule that if your going to write fantasy you must have a map. Well leave it to Shelby Mahurin to break the rules much like her spell binding characters! Instead of relying on a map Shelby uses the richness behind her characters, and their situations to reveal her world piece by piece. The magic, its use, and its limits are all revealed through Lou and Reid’s coming together, as well as, their counterparts Coco and Ansel.
The towering church is the backdrop of the book, but Shelby transports us to other places outside of Cesarine ,in quite the ‘double, double, toil and trouble’ way I might add! Shelby does an amazing job of balancing her character driven arcs to unfold the world she’s created making the twists and turns that much more real.
NEW MAGIC (That isn’t Cliche)
Now as I said this book isn’t completely devoid of some trope moments but any book written can be susceptible to that. What I did greatly appreciate it is the diverse way Shelby utilizes magic in this book, and who can and can’t use it. There aren’t any wands, or complicated phrases, but a system that is unique to each witch that uses it.
For an example, Lou’s magic is triggered in certain situations, and because of her predicament she is only allowed to use her magic in a cunning way to accomplish what she needs. Her best friend Coco on the other hand possesses a different type of magic entirely, and can use hers a bit more easily depending on the circumstance. Shelby’s new twist on magic definitely kicks the YA game up a notch!
I could go on and on about why Serpent and Dove is a must-read. For the first time in a long time I had found a book that brought back that feeling of nostalgia of my early reading days. The YA, (and now emerging New Adult) genre can risk putting out copy cats, over hype characters, and make someone of me weary of picking up those books (although they have mesmerizing covers). Shelby Mahurin’s has produced a page turner novel, (as I said I read it in two days), that balances betrayal, romance, and humor in a new way! She’ll have you crying, and screaming (did I forget to mention it ends on a cliffhanger), at the same time!
So grab you a copy of Serpent and Dove because ‘Something Witchy this way Comes!’
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Hi! Asia Minor here - I enjoy anything history, fantasy, and sci fi...its even better when its all combined. I am working on acquiring beautiful huskies for my pets, constantly watching movies (and plan on making them), and reading/writing. My musical choices limit to Disney, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Lamar - enough said.