Mahurin, Shelby. Serpent & Dove.
Mahurin, Shelby. Serpent & Dove. HarperTeen, September 2019. 528p. $18.99. 978-0062878021
3Q 3 P * S * NA
Louise Le Blanc is a witch, Reid Diggory is a witch hunter, and they are natural enemies. Their alternating narratives reveal a jaded heroine who is struggling to survive through thievery and deception; and a naive hero who has been indoctrinated by the church to the point of inflexibility and tediousness. A chance encounter during a royal parade brings these two beautiful young people together. Forced into an unusual marriage, the pair soon discovers that they are part of a sinister plot to destroy the royal family and change the course of history. Mistrust and dislike slowly transform into respect and understanding as this mismatched pair realizes that opposites attract and love conquers all.
The tragic backstories of the main characters are gradually revealed, as they and their friends navigate through a medieval fantasy world full of magic, European references, and contemporary dialog. The universal themes of family, friendships, and good versus evil speak to traditional storytelling. Character development is consistent and well-done, while world-building tends to be rather limited in detail and repetitive. The many plot twists are fairly predictable; however, they are satisfying upon revelation of the truth. To the author's credit, this over-long book does not conclude with a cliffhanger but does set up a situation in which the story could be continued by several of the supporting characters. With several explicit sex scenes, much profane language, and a great deal of violence, this book's content is more appropriate for older readers. --Lynne Farrell Stover