Hello Kittens! The book I’m talking about today is the recently published sequel to Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, which I read during quarantine and really enjoyed. Serpent & Dove is the story of a witch named Lou, and the witch hunter who is forced to become her husband, named Reid. It is a YA fantasy romance with a unique magic system. I highly recommend Serpent & Dove. I am going to try to talk about the sequel without revealing any spoilers, but I can’t promise I won’t inadvertently reveal something, so go pick up Serpent & Dove now and then come back and read this. This will be the first time that I have ever attempted to write a spoiler-free review of a sequel, so this ought to be interesting.
Title: Blood & Honey
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Author website: https://shelbymahurin.com/
Publish date: September 1, 2020
This novel picks up almost exactly where the last novel ended. Our main characters are in imminent danger and are on the run from both the Chasseurs (religious army) and witches. They are also struggling with mourning someone who held radically different positions in both of their lives. They are working on a plan for what they and their band of compatriots will do next, but both are reluctant to leave the relative safety of their current location.
Ultimately, the decision is made to journey throughout the land to recruit allies for their cause. This doesn’t go well on either front and forces them to split up, which allows for certain vulnerabilities to be exploited. Nonetheless, they do convince a few new people/beings to join their cause and they head towards the city, where they believe their enemy will soon attack again.
Pretty much everything goes wrong. At least one of their band will die and others will go missing. The story ends on a massive cliffhanger after several unexpected twists and the reader alone will know how much danger they are all still in.
Why I liked it:
I appreciated that we got to reunite with all of the characters from the original book and that the new characters that came into the story in this novel did not overshadow them. I still love the magic system in this book and it was expanded upon here in ways that I found really interesting. We get new magical beings and more magically-inclined people who no one believed existed and they play pivotal roles in moving the story forward.
Lastly, I really loved the world building that we got in this story. We explore two new areas in this world and get to see the range of living experiences of the “average” people. It’s really nice to see how life outside of the main city functions and to realize that actually there’s a lot of range among the people in their levels of tolerance for the Chasseurs and witches.
What I would like to change:
Lou and Reid’s relationship currently is troubling me. They are struggling with legitimate differences and it’s not unrealistic to think that they might not be perfectly suited for each other since they were forced to marry and then were in desperate circumstances that allowed feelings to blossom. We started to explore the idea that these two people might love each other but might not be good for each other, and I felt like that was a legitimate line of thinking to pursue, but then it seems like things get tied up in a nice cozy bow at the end that just felt a little disingenuous to the issues that were building throughout the rest of the book.
Disclaimer: I received an electronic galley of this title from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My library rating: This book had fewer steamy scenes in it than the first book did, so I think it would be fine for most people. It’s just an intense young adult romance with a lot of magic thrown in, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
3 glasses of lemonade= a book that you could recommend to coworkers and friends you don’t know very well.
My personal preference rating: I rated this title 3 stars. Ultimately, I think that I liked the first book a little better, but I will definitely be reading the third book when it comes out.