Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!
I’ve had this one on my TBR for about a year and a half, and I finally got to read it last week after having it on hold for…a good month or so? It was one of the most hyped YA fantasies of last year, and though it wasn’t a perfect novel, I’d say that it mostly lived up to it!
Enjoy this week’s review!
In Cesarine, witches are feared. The only thing that may be feared more, however, are the Chasseurs–the Church’s personal witch-hunters who will stop at nothing to burn their prey at the stake.
Lou is on the run, struggling to keep her powers–and her infamous witch heritage–under wraps. But after being caught by the Chasseurs, she is presented with an ultimatum: be killed for her crimes, or marry Reid, the captain of the Chasseurs. Stuck with the second option, she is forced to live with him, but she soon realizes that, despite their backgrounds, she has feelings for him–and they might even be mutual.
Alright, right off the bat, I noticed something…
Did anyone else find it funny that we have two characters named Lou and Reid that were in a romantic relationship?
[ahem] yeah, probably just me, carry on…
Overall, Serpent & Dove was a hysterical thrill ride of a fantasy novel! Not without its flaws, to be sure, but a whole lot of fun all the same.
My main issue with the novel was the world-building. At best, it felt…very messy. The setting is clearly inspired by 18th-19th century France, and uses tidbits of French in some of the dialogue. But even though it’s a fantasy world apart from our own, the predominant religion (and the religion pushed by the Chasseurs) is Christianity? Additionally, though some of the dialogue is hilarious, it often felt…a bit too 21st century? I mean, there’s no “yeet” or “vibin'” or anything, but mostly on Lou’s part, it didn’t mesh well with the historical-inspired setting. Reid’s dialogue felt appropriately stuffy, but that definitely threw off some of my suspension of disbelief.
But that’s where most of my issues end. I LOVED the characters–they were all completely over-the-top, but IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. From the beginning, I loved Lou and Coco–they were both wonderfully sassy and spirited, and I loved their friendship dynamic. Reid has a lovely beginning to his character arc, and honestly? I love him just as much as the others, especially since he got over some of the prejudice he held in the first part of the novel. And since I’m a total sucker for enemies-to-lovers romances, I enjoyed every bit of Lou and Reid’s relationship. Hey, opposites attract.
And with the theme of witch-burning and whatnot, Serpent & Dove not only presents messages of shedding previous prejudice, but it’s morally grey as well. There’s a great depiction of sides that are most definitely blurred when it comes to morality–and neither one can be pinned as the “hero” or the “villain.” A lot of novels get this wrong, but this managed to portray it deftly.
All in all, a simultaneously thought-provoking and gut-busting fantasy novel, with a romance to die for and no shortage of witty banter. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!
Serpent & Dove is the first in a trilogy, which continues with the forthcoming Blood & Honey, and an untitled third book.
Okay but the point at 5:26 where Jeff Tweedy starts hitting those higher notes PERFECTLY
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!