Sometimes it is almost harder to review a book you love.
Simply, Serpent & Dove is the kind of YA I love. A true enemies to lovers romance, two equally paired feisty leading characters, a smart leading lady, a compassionate leading man, vivid side characters and an intelligent imaginary world filled with dangerous magic. While also providing brutal reflective commentary on our own world/social systems.
When a witch and a witch-hunter are forced to marry …
Two years ago Louise Le Blanc fled her coven and has taken refuge on the streets of Cesarine – lying, cheating and stealing her way to survive. Witches in Cesarine are seen as evil, hateful creatures that are to be hunted and burned without trial.
Reid Diggory has been raised and groomed to lead the Chasseurs (the church lead guard, protector of the people, and hunter of the witches). Abandoned as an infant and taken in by the Archbishop, the evil of women/witches (cause really, what is the difference?) is all he has known.
Until he meets Lou.
Until an impossible situation forces Lou and Reid into holy matrimony, allowing both to see the error of their individual sides in this centuries-old war … Church versus Witch.
What a perfect YA, a perfect fall/October read, a perfect enemies to lovers romance.
Many novels claim to have said trope, but few nail it … in my opinion. This one is delicious. I love a good romance in any novel I read – so be warned if romance isn’t something you care for. Serpent & Dove brings the steam.
Lou is my favourite type of leading lady (much like Harper from A Curse So Dark & Lonely) – feisty, funny, smart, cunning, headstrong, and hiding secrets. Opposite her, Reid is your hunky, strong, leading YA guy. He is also loyal, brave, and headstrong (a la the enemies part when these two go toe-to-toe). Side characters Coco (Lou’s best friend and fellow witch-on-the-run) and Ansley (innocent orphan, errand boy and would-be chasseur) are well developed, scene stealers of the best kind.
This book does not hold back on its criticisms and hypocrisy of the church and political figureheads. I adore books that are unafraid to call it like it is, call out the bullshit that often spews from both these camps, and more importantly does so intelligently and subtly. Top marks in my opinion.
The magic is believable and uncomplicated. Names are pronounceable (why is this seemingly so hard in YA sometimes?). Romance is crackling. Friendships steal your heart. Secrets and twists prevail …. all add up to one pretty darn good YA. I’m eager for book two!