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Serpent & Dove  By  cover art

Serpent & Dove

By: Shelby Mahurin
Narrated by: Holter Graham,Saskia Maarleveld
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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Best Book of 2019

New York Times Best Seller

B&N's YA Book Club Pick

Indiebound Best Seller

Number Six on the 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List

"A brilliant debut, full of everything I love: a sparkling and fully realized heroine, an intricate and deadly system of magic, and a searing romance that kept me reading long into the night. Serpent & Dove is an absolute gem of a book." (Sarah J. Maas, number one New York Times best-selling author of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series)

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation - marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy trilogy will leave listeners burning for more.

©2019 Shelby Mahurin (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Serpent & Dove

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Story is okay, Male narrator almost ruins it

I am a huge fan of the Court of Roses and Thorns series, so I hoped I would really enjoy this. It was good. I would probably pick up the second one when it comes out, unless they have the same male narrator! When I heard his first chapter, I considered turning the book off and returning it. I’m glad I pushed through, but I won’t listen to the second one if he narrates again. Listeners, beware!

44 people found this helpful

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What even was this?

Woof - not sure what to say here. This book was definitely a disappointment and I have to agree that the glowing reviews and praise-filled industry blurbs are deeply confusing. This is obviously written by a novice writer who needed a much, much better editor. I realize that there are some books that are just meant to be trashy good fun, and that not everything has to be high art, and honestly, what did I expect going into a book like this? Still, I guess I just crave a modicum of craft, even in my trashy good fun reads. Main issues that made this a bust for me:

-repetitive, sloppy language that relies on cliches: The amount of times someone tucked a strand of hair as a gesture of affection, or had a single tear slide down their face to show their internal torment, or gritted their teeth and clenched their fists to demonstrate their anger - it was practically funny by the end. Also, everyone obviously has blue eyes, green eyes, or blue-green eyes (TURQUOISE eyes, in fact, that you can see through a dark window across a lawn, at night!), because everyone knows that attractive magical people can only have blue or green eyes. The first chapter uses the word "grin" about 25 times (only a slight exaggeration). It's riddled with sloppy dialogue tags and action descriptors, even in places where I feel like they should have been scrutinized thoroughly, such as the aforementioned first chapter, and the very last line of the book. "Reid groaned audibly. "Shit."" Isn't a groan, by definition, audible? Shouldn't someone have cared enough, somewhere along the way, to tell the author to tighten up the language a bit?

-the relationship: yikes! this book was billed as a hate-to-love slow burn romance involving a forced marriage between a witch and a witch hunter. To me, that screams: ANGST ANGST ANGST, intense dark shit, brooding self-loathing, mistrust, miscommunication - you know, all the best aspects of heart-wrenching angsty romance. This romance was not a slow burn, or even a true hate-to-love. It read much closer to INSTA-love. Sure, they disliked each other at first, but very quickly struck up a witty and general friendly dynamic, then seemed to wake up one day thinking the other person was hot and awesome. What followed was the fluffiest string of scenes - theater outings, royal balls, and - literal - Christmas shopping trips (!?!?!) where-in the characters do things like: trip and tumble in the snow, laughing; almost kiss but then don't for no explicable reason whatsoever; and have conversations that go as dark as Lou saying "I don't want to talk about that right now," and Reid saying "Okay." The author does not seem to know how to use the natural tension between the characters to good effect, or demonstrate how and why they are falling in love in a believable way. It's apparently enough to say: they like each other, because...they do! And then repeatedly tell the reader that they are the love of each other's life for the rest of the book...

-Reid: I love me a good fantasy romance wish-fulfillment hero. Reid is....not that. He has all the personality of a brick of compressed sawdust. He has a potentially super juicy back story - abandoned at birth, raised in the church, indoctrinated into a way of thinking that allows him to literally burn children alive without guilt - like, that's some dark ass shit! But none of that is really excavated in a meaningful way, it just serves as backstory that the author can tell us about constantly in the effort of giving him some depth, instead of actually showing us anything interesting about his character. He also falls into the "possessive, slightly jealous and domineering husband" box that is...supposed to be an attractive character trait? He would never hit Lou, of course (even though he literally burns people like Lou alive), so that makes his possessive domineering jealousy...charming??? Like....what?!?!?

I did like Lou and found some of the humor and banter enjoyable, but that's about the only good thing I can say for this. Even the cast of secondary characters didn't feel interesting and well-drawn, they just felt like more fluffy cardboard cutouts used to prop up the plot. The pacing was a mess, with no discernible sense of a timeline - was it days, weeks, months passing? I honestly don't know! The settings are poorly drawn, the world-building lackluster. Honestly, the whole thing felt like a fanfiction mash up between Outlander and A Discovery of Witches. And I am someone who has obviously read Outlander and A Discovery of Witches, and I also enjoy fanfiction, so that's not necessarily a dealbreaker for me. It was just so poorly executed that it's a big big disappointment.

38 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Holy Witches Batman

Honestly, I was pretty skeptical with the first chunk of this book. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick with it, but I’m glad I did. The characters, the world building, the French influence.... it’s actually amazing. Such a magical story, you won’t be able to put it down!

I deducted a star only for the first 30% being a bit slow and the male lead INITIALLY being incredibly unlikable. However, he quickly develops and grows on you. Additionally, Lou, the female lead, is a hilarious gift and I LOVE HER.

The male narration leaves something to be desired. It’s not awful, but his cadence is choppy and a little off putting. In contrast, the female narrator is exquisite so they balance out.

Overall? Definitely worth a listen/read. I can’t wait for the next one!

28 people found this helpful

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a new favorite

I had high hopes going into Serpent & Dove and was not disappointed. Which is great, because before I read the book I had already ordered two copies and know it’s coming in a subscription box. Oh, and I had also already bought tickets to the Epic Reads Meetup fall tour to meet her, so there was a lot of hype for this book to live up to and it absolutely did.


Serpent and Dove is a dual-POV YA fantasy debut from Shelby Mahurin. There are so many things I loved about this novel I just made a list. Also, I’m super busy this week at work and my kids are back to baseball this week so I have to make it shorter.

-STRONG WOMEN
-excellent enemies to friends love story (my favvv)
-witches! And a unique take on how they cast spells
-flawed characters – I love this especially. Please don’t give me a Mary Sue. I’m not interested.
-swearing. Why is this on the list? Because I’m a sailor and I love to swear. Characters who swear are instantly more relate-able to me. Mahurin uses real swear words too. Made up swear words are tiresome.
-sexy. The sex isn’t explicit and no parts are actually named, but the sex scenes are really well done. The fade-to-black gets annoying sometimes so I’m glad to see authors writing about loving consensual sexual relationships. Shelby tweeted about this as well.
-lots of action and strong character development. It was like the perfect combo for me and I never once got bored or wanted to fast forward the audio. Seeing the characters grow and develop was something I really enjoyed, and I am normally much more of a story-driven reader.
-super funny -the witty banter between Lou and Reid was 10/10
-well-built story arc. No plot holes (that I found) and a satisfying ending. Of course I still have questions because this is a series, but that’s to be expected.
-piggybacking off the one above – the REVEALS. I loved the way the story unfolded and how major surprises were revealed. They felt natural.

The absolute worst thing about this book is that I can’t read what happens next until 2020. ugh.


Audio:------------------------------------------------------------------
I've listened to books narrated by both Holter Graham and Saskia Maarleveld before, so I knew going in that I would like them. As expected, they were great. Saskia Maarleveld in particular is so easy to listen to.

20 people found this helpful

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Religious story

I really enjoyed the main female character. She was a strong, funny, foul mouth girl which I really enjoyed. The female narrator did a wonderful job. Unfortunately, there was a very strong religious undertone to the whole story. Because of the heavy religious aspect I’m not going to continue listening to this audiobook. I also strongly dislike the male narrator.

19 people found this helpful

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So bad

I couldn’t even get halfway through. Main character is painfully stupid. There’s zero chemistry. I kept listening hoping there would be some redeeming factor like a good sex scene and it was just too painful to continue.

8 people found this helpful

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Swing and a miss...

There were things in the story that didn't quite add up, and personalities that changed in an instant. The male narrator was horrible and contradicted the female narrator's portrayal of Louise and Reid. Maybe if Saskia would have read the entire book instead of switching off, it would have been better.

7 people found this helpful

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Good story...

The story was fine, it kept me reasonably engaged but I had a big problem with the male narrator. His voices were inconsistent and the cadence was at best distracting and at worst unbearable. I probably won’t pick up a sequel.

6 people found this helpful

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Unexpected!

Honestly I wanted to DNF this book at the start, but I saw the reviews and decided to push on. After all, it has one of my favorite tropes. Romeo and Juliet. The story took me by surprise as I started to find myself engrossed with the characters and my emotions turning with them as they went on their journey. The surprises had me started as well and I’m so glad I pushed through this book. Started slow but then before you know it- you’re going Down hill with no brakes. Can’t can’t CANT wait for the next book.

The ONLY issues I had was the narrators. The woman kept a whispering and was hard to hear/understand at times. And the male reader read with passion. But he read way too fast and used odd accents that rolled together after a while. While they were’t terrible, it was part of the reason I almost DNF’d this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Male Reader isn't my Favorite

While I enjoyed the beginning of this book and the magic system I felt like to romance was strained and I didn't like the male lead. It could have been the male reader of the audiobook though, his cadence was strange and it made the character so severe. There was a total disconnect between Lou's personality when she was being read by the female reader and the male reader and it made it seem like the male love interest fell in love with a completely different person. The ending was a let down as well... There was a lot of repeating of ideas the reader already understood. I would have just preferred to stay with the female reader and Lou's journey, I found myself caring very little about Reid. I will probably read the next book, I think this author has some great ideas and I am looking forward to them maturing!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian Johnson
  • 05-06-20

Loved it!

Twists and turns in every chapter made for a memorable read and a great story! can't wait to read the others.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Robson
  • 02-04-20

Only if your main reason for reading is opposite attract romance

Not for me. The reason for the marriage was unfortunately too contrived for me. I didn’t enjoy the narrators interpretation and unfortunately felt that nothing much happened for a large portion of the book. I’m afraid I gave up after the 7th hour.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alex harold
  • 10-12-20

Great book but hate split narration

Love the story but really dislike the switching of readers through out the book. I really liked the female performer but just as you get into it the god awful male reader starts throwing everything off

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Nuhn
  • 03-03-20

Great narration, lovely romance, mediocre plot

First of all, I’m so happy I chose the audio book over the physical copy. I love Saskia Maarleveld’s voice and her narration is amazing! What I really liked about the story is the romance and Lou as a character. Unfortunately I lost interest in this book about halfway through which is strange as I really loved the first half. I will still listen to the second book once it comes out though, I really hope I’ll fall in love with it again.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rose
  • 02-03-22

Enthralling

Was slow at first, but then absolutely unputdownable. Performance broke my immersion occasionally, though.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Date with a Novel Podcast
  • 12-17-21

Pass

Struggled to finish. The book was a bit lack luster and felt rushed. The female narrator performance was great. However everytime the male narrator spoke it just was not good. Action scenes were good, concept was okay, the execution in the story was not. The relationship between the main characters developed far too quickly.

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  • Mia howard
  • 11-19-21

Amazing

This book got me out of a reading slump, I both read the traditional book and listened to this audio book, and it was amazing. The voice actors fit the characters so well too! I loved it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carla MM
  • 10-27-21

entertaining

I enjoyed the story. Pretty entertaining and perfect for Halloween season. The story is a little slow to get started but becomes quite engaging. I think now that this tale had kicked off properly I hope the next one will keep up the momentum. The quality of the Audio is good and the narration is good. especially Saskia Maarleveld who is the dominant Narrator. She is always amazing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Cooper
  • 09-10-21

Enchanting enemy turned lover book

The narrators really brought this story to life. I couldn't stop listening and will definitely be buying the next book

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucinda
  • 06-25-21

Romance only

I tried this book after getting into fantasy books by Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas and hearing other fans of those books recommend this one.

But I was rather disappointed. There was little plot, and what plot there was wasn’t very good to be honest.

I will say that there are some good characters. And if you are a young reader looking for enemies to lovers romance I think you may enjoy this book.

But if you are a little older and/or hoping for some good plot it isn’t a book for you.

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  • Laura
  • 04-16-20

Ditch the male narrator and it would be a 5.

I literally just turned my bedroom light on to write this review at 1am because I’m so annoyed with the man narrator. Shelby if you read this, ditch him and just have the lady read it. The man is too fast, poor voices, outpaced...and just generally wrecked the performance for me. I’m about half way through the book and I can tell the story is will written but his performance is grating me to the point I may just give up and buy the paperback. Bear that in mind before you buy if you are sensitive to poor acting!

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruby Siemsen
  • 11-11-19

Male narrator spoke too fast

He was quite rushed a lot of the time, compared to the female narrator. Both did a great job! Story was awesome, loved the characters and how they developed throughout the plot.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kirsty
  • 01-08-20

great narrators

The narrators were very good. I love it when they have both Male and female readers for the 2 main characters. The female narrator was especially clear and easy to listen too.
the book itself was great. the storyline was interesting, and there were a few plot twists that I didnt see coming until the last second, which is so refreshing.
waiting impatiently for the second book.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Hanna
  • 09-24-19

An ok love story

The female narator was good, but the male puld it down (I generaly prefere female narators, even fore male voices in audiobooks). He made all the females sound like ten year old whiny kids.
The story hadd some potensial, but never realy managed to get to that "some thing" special. It is an ok story of love and opposits, good and bad, not being black and white.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • charlotte buller
  • 09-17-19

No tension or passion

Lou kept forgetting that she had a ring of invisibility and the one time she did remember she dropped it.

Reed and Lou had no chemistry between them and the only characters I found interesting were the supporting ones.

Won't read the next one

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-15-21

Enjoying everything EXCEPT the male narrator!

The first chapter read for Reid almost put me off listening to the rest of the story... I'm glad I pressed on because I am really enjoying the lore, the characters, the humour and the surprises, but the female narrator completely runs circles around the male narrator. It's a shame because I think a lot of people would be put off straight away.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-21

Cringeworthy Male Narration

I'm about 2 hours in and although the storyline is sounding good I cannot overlook the male narrators voices and reading style. EVERY scene is read much too fast - as if the story is at a never ending climactic point... which leaves no room for slow and appropriate tension in places where the author has so obviously intended there to be... I tried adjusting the play speed which slightly helped but along with the speed issue, his voices for each character are just shockingly cringeworthy.... Every character (barring the main male character) sounds either weirdly evil or whiney AF. The female narrator, on the other hand, absolutely nails it - her voices and accents effortlort and natural. A shame she is not reading the entire book. Unsure if I can finish this one....

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-30-20

Twists & Turns

A beautiful tale with surprising twists and turns. Saskia Maarleveld stole the show with her impersonations and beautiful performance of the main character Lu. Highly recommend the read. You won’t be disappointed 💛

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Abbey
  • 10-23-20

The narrating for this book is absolutely amazing.

I don't normally get into fiction but the way this book is read it draws you into the story and it make it very hard to have any negative views. I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the sequel

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • tish
  • 09-29-22

magic, mystery, romance

If it wasn't for life's distractions I could not have put this book down.
It was a little slow at first I felt but picked up straight away after I felt like taking a brake from it. 
I loved the characters  the world they belonged to the magic and the excitement it left me want to know more. 
Cannot wait to finish the rest of the series.