Friday, 27 November 2020

Audiobook Review - Serpent and Dove

I’m meant to be writing a review for Toksvig’s Almanac 2021 by Sandi Toksvig as part of NetGalley November. But I left it too long and I struggled most of Sunday morning to write it. Instead, I finished this audiobook and, while fresh in my mind, am going to write this up.

Now, before I go any further, I want to say that I’ve been aware of this book and I have been ooohing and aaahing over it, but whenever I think about reading this, I’m always been a bit meh over it. But, I saw this on my library’s audiobook app and thought, on impulse, to give it a go.

Title And Author: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen/Harper360
Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
Length: 528 Pages or 14 Hours 13 Minutes

Two years ago, Lou fleed for her life. She left her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, vowing never to do magic again and stealing to survive, desperate to never return. But Lou lives in a world where witches are hunted, feared and, if caught, burnt.

Reid is one of the many huntsman - a Chasseur - for the Church and they all live by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when he and Lou cross paths and Lou accidentally pulls a stunt that could cause scandal, the two are forced to do damage control - and by that, I mean marriage.

Lou is now married to the enemy, and feelings between them are growing. But it’s only a matter of time before Reid finds out the truth about Lou being a witch. And all the while, Lou’s past is coming closer and closer, coming for her darling Lou…

I’m actually really surprised how much I fell for this audiobook. I loved how dark, twisted and romantic it is. And it felt more grown-up than some of the Young Adult novels that handle the “enemies to lovers” troupe (dare I call this a “New Adult/crossover fantasy”?)

Yes, ok. I admit that there were things in her that were a little too convenient (the parentage of both Lou and Reid, some of the twists and troupes used and oh, some of the repetition of certain words [if I hear the words “She’s my wife” one more time…!]), but I liked a good chunk of this. I love the relationship and how it get and the chemistry. I like how this book looked at magic and religion. I liked the character development and yes, I liked how some of the twists and troupes were tackled.

I, also, really liked the narrators (this book is told in duel narrative). Both readers [Saskia Maarleveld and Holter Graham] did really good jobs, though I do wonder why Holter read Reid’s narrative in a regular voice and yet, when Reid spoke in conversations, he made his voice gruffer? That’s a little jarring at time.

But I really like/loved this. I have requested the audiobook for the sequel, Blood and Honey, on my library’s audiobook app, but now am a little hesitant. Why, I hear you ask. Well, this series originally was meant to be only two books. A duology. But, before the release of Blood and Honey, a third book was announced and some of the reviews for Blood and Honey doesn’t fill me with confidence. In fact, it fills me with “Oh no, this feels like it might suffer from Second Book Syndrome” and “I bet one of my fave characters is gonna die at the end of the book, for almost no reason” vibes). So, while I had an addictive time with Serpent and Dove, I am going to admit right here and now I might not continue with series till I hear people’s reactions to book 3, Gods and Monsters (I discovered this title just now and went “No, that’s the title for Laini Taylor novel, which was a wonderful trilogy [Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the third and final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Am very tempted to reread that series again next year]).

While I am in two minds on if I want to continue with this series, I had a blast with this which goes to prove that sometimes, an impulse buy/request is a good thing. Not always, but sometimes…

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