Serpent & Dove by Shelby Maurin
ISBN: 978-0062878021 (if it's available for resale you can look for the special Fairyloot edition here)
Publisher/date: HarperTeen (September 3, 2019)
Genre: YA Paranormal Historic Romance
Series: Serpent & Dove (Release of the second book, Blood & Honey, is scheduled for September 1, 2020)
Rating: MR this book does contain language and a sex scene
"If she was destined to burn in Hell, I would burn with her."
A witch and a witch hunter. There was only one way such a story could end-
A STAKE & A MATCH.
I received this book in one of my monthly Fairyloot boxes, and only recently picked it up, because you know, my TBR already reaches the ceiling. SO, needless to say I'd seen all the hype about it and the excitement for the next book, and I finally picked it up.
FIRST I want to start off by saying that I don't get the YA Romance genre. Romance novels, bodice rippers, Harlequins, for me are not YA books. They have their own genre, and this goes in it. This does not go in the YA genre. Neither does ACOTAR. Not to say you shouldn't read them, it doesn't make them less worthy of a read, but it is confusing for readers who think they know what they're picking up.
So I thought this was a book about witches. And it kind of is. But it's mostly, like 90%, a romance novel. And a good one at that. I just picked it up thinking it was a fantasy book. It's not, it's written in a Salem-aged London-esque world, no world building really involved.
And I liked it. I thought at first, man, 520 pages? That's excessive! But the font is big and the spacing large, so you really fly through it. It's interesting, I liked the characters for the most part even though 99% of them are bigots (can't really write a witch book without those I suppose.)
Most of the plot is spent building the tension between the two protagonists, so it follows the pattern of a normal romance novel. I'm sorry to keep making that comparison but I'm trying to give it the rating it deserves here without comparing it to the YA and fantasy books I'm used to reading.
The writing is clean, that's a weird thing to call it but it doesn't leave holes or gaps or questions, everything is answered in it's time. It's a simple story really, nothing new here, but it's entertaining. So if you're looking for a good romantic book, this one's for you. I suppose I just didn't understand the hype. While it was easy to read, it wasn't hard to put down, I didn't find myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it (as I often do with really great books.) I'm not that excited about the follow-up, but now that a real villain has been introduced (instead of a group of bigoted idiots,) maybe things will get more interesting.
4/5 within this genre, I won't preorder the second book, but I might read it. I certainly won't trust the hype! 3/5 overall