Spooky season is drawing near, and if you are looking for a new book to get in the mood, then the Serpent & Dove series by Shelby Mahurin might be for you! It is full of witchcraft, adventure, romance, action, and the found family trope, making it an easy tale to immerse yourself in with characters to love. Mahurin crafted an intriguing magic system that adds depth to the already rich world she created. The trilogy is complete, and I did not want to put any of the books down.
The first novel, Serpent & Dove, establishes Lou and Reid as our narrators and main characters who embody the “enemies-to-lovers” trope beautifully. Lou, a witch and thief, is forced to marry Reid, a witch hunter or Chasseur, after a public mishap. It is easy to see why they care for each other, and I felt the internal battle of each of them as they wrestle with their changing feelings. Mahurin does an excellent job of illustrating their journey to love.
Further, Mahurin weaves together a beautiful found family from the first installment that grows in unexpected ways. These characters add a certain joy to the series that only the best found families do. Coco, Ansel, Beau, and Madame Labelle support Lou and Reid through everything and getting to know them reveals more about this world. As the series continues, more join the ranks in unexpected ways that feel natural.
The only issue I have with the series and full disclaimer, I feel this with many series, is the balance between drama and conversation. I love drama. I love angst. This series certainly has both, and I had trouble putting it down too often. I was truly riveted. However, I did not feel there was enough pay-off because of things left unsaid between the characters. While there is a beauty to that to a degree, I felt like I was missing something more.
The second installment, Blood & Honey, falls a little short compared to the first and third of the series. Not to say I did not enjoy it because the additions were necessary, but still, I wish there was a bit more. As much as our main characters were dealing with internal issues, I wish they all got to have more conversations throughout the series.
Particularly in the last installment, Gods & Monsters, Reid and Lou are together most of the book…but they aren’t due to magic (I won’t say more for the sake of spoilers, but I will say watching Lou make Reid fall in love with her again was a joy). Two beautiful moments made my heart soar for Lou and Reid, but they were fleeting because it almost felt like whiplash by the end of the final battle and the story ending. It is clear from all the struggles they went through for each other that they are meant to be. Yet, some things still felt unresolved between them because of how many other significant things kept taking center stage. The epilogue was absolutely wonderful and made me cry, but I still craved more of Lou and Reid. They are a love for the ages, but I want to see more of those quiet moments that build their foundation.
That said, I adored this series. I know I will be rereading this at some point. And since the Serpent & Dove trilogy is complete, you do not have to worry about any cliffhangers! Plus, next fall, a spin-off series will be released, following Célie Tremblay, who becomes the first female huntswoman in the reformed Chasseurs in The Scarlet Veil.