Serpent & Dove (2019), Blood & Honey (2020), Gods & Monsters (2021)
Set in an frenchified fictional fantasy world, this series follows Louise Le Blanc and Reid Diggory as they fight against Lou’s megalomaniac mother and the traditional beliefs of the church. Lou is a witch and Reid is a chasseuse (literally hunter in french). When they are forced to marry in Serpent & Dove to prevent Lou from imprisonment and Reid from disgrace, their relationship deals with them learning to trust the other while Lou continues hiding the secret that she is a witch. Throughout the trilogy, more and more aspects are introduced for the sole purpose of testing their relationship. Joined by Cosette (a witch), Beau (the prince), and Ansel (a chasseuse in training), Lou and Reid confront the challenges of their Romeo and Juliet style romance while gathering allies to their cause.
The world-building itself is one of the few good things I can say about this book. There is a decent amount of lore that is revealed in the books to give more perspective and background to the reader as to why there is such a strong division between the witches and the church. The frenchified world is interesting, especially as someone who speaks French. However, There are several translations that are not done correctly and misinterpretations of some colloquial phrases. Although, if you have never really studied French, I doubt this would bother you. The mechanics of how magic works doesn’t entirely make sense. It’s introduced as an “eye for an eye” sort of mechanic but there seem to be instances where there are no consequences for the use of magic. It’s confusing since half the time there is an equal give and take while in others, there is nothing substantial that happens. The inconsistencies make it much less interesting and more frustrating.
I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this series. While the first book was very fun to read, the second and third seemed like unnecessary additions to what could have easily been a stand-alone novel. In book one, Lou and Reid’s relationship is growing and it’s about trusting the other. They learn how to be comfortable with another person who is different from themselves and that was cute to read. However, in books 2 and 3, it truly felt like Mahurin was doing everything in her power to complicate things between them in a very unnatural way. Specifically, she used a ludicrous amount of the miscommunication trope, where the only reason the characters are arguing is because they aren’t listening to each other and aren’t discussing everything. Mahurin seemed determined to maintain the enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers throughout the series, even going so far as to introduce an amnesia storyline. Between the crazed mother, the zealous church killing witches, and their constant arguing, the perpetual tension and aggression got old extremely quickly.
- Kate Howard
Adult News & reviews
Library news, info about upcoming events, reviews of books and films, and a look at the topics that affect us as a library.