Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)

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Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) audiobook

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Review #1

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) audiobook free

I didn’t make it through the first chapter, so I’m not going to be rude and give it 1 star simply because it isn’t to my taste. I don’t trust reviewers who do that.

However, seasoned readers should probably beware.

I was immediately drawn to this book based on numerous targeted ads.

The plot sounded fantastic. Great cover art. Character names that weren’t otherworldly levels of obnoxious (I’m looking at you, Clary).

So, I gave it a shot. Instantly purchased, even though I already have oh-so-many books sitting at home unread.

I cracked this open less than an hour ago, and decided that I can’t bring myself to continue.

I don’t consider myself an ABSOLUTE snob. I understand no book is perfect. I just want to be transported!

Why did I stop reading this quickly, I hear all two of you asking?


The editor on this book failed.


Seriously, worst editor EVER.

Here are the references to a smile/mouth/laughter in the first few pages alone as a descriptor:

Page 4 (the equivalent of the second page, as it begins on page 3):

“I couldn’t help but grin.”
“I cackled.”

Page 5:

“She pouted.”

Page 6:
“Whose lips twitched in an effort not to grin.”
“Saccharine smile.”
“Forcing a grin.”
“Lips curling upward.”

(There was also a “winked conspiratorially” which implies a smile yet again.)

Page 8:

“A wide smile.”
“She grinned like a cat with cream.”

Page 9:

“An alluring smile.”

Page 10:

“An evil smile split his face.”
“Andre bared his teeth.”

(This is where I tapped out, but I’ll continue through the first chapter just for your benefit.)

Page 11:

“Babette cast the two a small smile.”
“Their grins vanished.”

Page 12:

“Licking his lips nervously.”
“With gleeful smirks.”

Page 13:
“Her smile grew small and cruel.”
“Smothering a snort.”
“Shook with silent laughter.”

Page 14:
“His mouth twisted.”

Page 16:
“I could almost see her smile. It matched my own.”


Now, maybe I’m just too sensitive and that’s really not that bad. But, keep in mind that 1) I probably missed some and 2) this is a fairly easy read, so the repetitiveness of descriptors feels fairly unrelenting.

If this were the only issue, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. But poor editing becomes even more clear through other examples.

For instance:
“Babette glared at us.” And then, just a couple short sentences later on the same page: “He glared at her for several long seconds.” I don’t think it was intended repetition to mirror Babette, but rather, they didn’t realize that “glared” was already used above. And if it was an intentional glare, it should have been more obvious like “he matched her glare” or something, to make the two pointedly linked.

Similarly, the word “however” is used at least a few times within the first chapter.

References to “stupid” or idiot/idiocy, also several times in the first chapter.

It may very well be a book with a wonderful plot and full, developed characters – it certainly seemed like it had the potential to be interesting. However, I was so thoroughly taken out of it by the way certain phrasings and descriptors were overused that I decided it wasn’t worth it. It felt rough, unpolished, and amateurish in this regard.

If you are not sensitive to cliches in word choices and repetition, you may love this book! I’m not saying don’t give it a try – it may just be a “me” issue.

But, to the editor…and author, for that matter…please enter future novels into one of those “overused words” analysis websites online before beginning edits.

No one needs to read the word “grin” six times in one chapter alone.


Review #2

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) audiobook streamming online

I bought this because Sarah J. Maas reviewed it so well. I now know to never buy a book based off of her recommendation alone. After I read her review, I gave it a try and forced myself to finish it, thinking it must get good at some point. No. It did not. It was awful. I read a lot of books, especially in this genre. It was staggeringly riddled plot holes and unanswered questions, a magic system that was under-explained and underwhelming, but the worst thing about it was the lack of character development. You learn almost nothing about anyone but the two main characters, and even those two were so lacking in personality that I found myself uncaring of their success or their romance.
I hate to be so negative, especially of a new author, but I can’t believe this was published in its current form. It isn’t a bad overall storyline other than there being no resolution whatsoever in the end (even as an intended series, it was lacking in any conclusion that mattered), but it could have been so much better. It felt like she made a fan fiction version of Leigh Bardugo’s Nina and Matthias storyline from “Six of Crows” and added unoriginal elements from other YA authors in this genre, including Sarah J. Maas (i.e. a witch named Manon, an irreverent princess who is full of herself, the main character is a thief, a love develops between two opposite people who are forced together- or even more cliche- one is tasked with killing the other, etc.). Even the romance wasn’t exciting. It was one sex scene, and the lead up to it didn’t offer much anticipation. From Maas’s review, I was at least expecting some great sex scenes. Nope.
Everything just felt so random. Nothing tied together in the way you expect. Oh, “I had sex with a prostitute once.” Ok… I like to eat chocolate. What’s the point? There was no point. The main character was trying to say she wasn’t an innocent person, but her innocence didn’t matter at all to the storyline. It didn’t develop her character. Now, if she (the main character) told an interesting story about said sex with a prostitute that showed her character or humor or morals, or literally anything else, it would have been relevant to the plot. It was completely random.
And the cursing. Let’s just preface this with me saying I use the F word liberally. I have no issues with cursing or the F word in general, but it’s not the only curse word I use. And I use it in more creative ways than just saying it nearly every time I open my mouth or speak passionately about anything. It was like the author thought the more she used that word, the more personality it gave her character. It didn’t work.
I think I’m going to ask for my money back. I bought both the Audible and the Kindle version (I do with nearly all the books I buy), and this is the first time I’ve considered returning either.
Please. If you don’t read the synopsis and think, “OMG, this book sounds amazing, and I can’t live without reading it!” then don’t waste your money on it. Pretend SJM didn’t review it.
I (generously) gave it two stars because she’s a debut author, and it’s a tough industry.


Review #3

Audiobook Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

I read about 80 percent but could not finish. Characters behaved foolishly and annoyingly and out of character, rapidly changing their minds dramatically in just one line of writing. Also, (spoiler alert) some weird stuff like making passionate love while still wearing clothes that are sopping with the blood of your enemies? It seemed like that was just a gross oversite in the writing not a weird fettish, but either way, not enjoyable to read. Also I dislike romance that is so dramatically on again, off again. Also it seemed pretty unbelievable at so many points, like the blood witch hiding in plain site working in a convent by day and having publically obvious sexual trysts at night and threatening to exsanguinate people whenever she got riled, seriously, the people at the convent didn’t notice??? And other stuff like that.


Review #4

Audio Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) narrated by Holter Graham; Saskia Maarleveld

This books story line you can find in thousands of horrible fanfictions. This entire story revolves around 2 characters who are mortal enemies being forced to get married and then inevitably fall as love and the author inserts a porn scene. The problem is the entire reason they have to get married is one of the most stupidest reasons I have ever read outside of fanfiction. Its like she didn’t even try and I feel bad for the main character being dumbed down so much that she never even attempted to run away. The entire book from then on just crumbles and falls apart. The porn scene doesn’t even feel naughty because the two characters have absolutely zero chemistry.

but to each their own.


Review #5

Free audio Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) – in the audio player below

I picked up this book for two reasons, one because it was about witches and who doesn’t want to read books about witches in autumn and two the enemies to lovers romance and I can safely say it does not disappoint. I will say I was a little unsure for around the first 15% of this book but once I hit 20% I was in love.
First off I have to talk about the characters who were all amazing. This book alternates between Lou and Reid’s POVs which I loved as it really helped you to get a feel for each of their characters and connect better with them. Lou is sarcastic to the core, a thief and has a filthy mouth (so expect a lot of swearing in this). She reminds me a bit of Celaena Sardothian in the beginning books of the Throne of Glass series and I loved her. Reid on the other hand is the complete opposite. He is the Captain of the Chasseur, he is very serious, holds tightly to his principles and he kinda reminded me a little of Chaol Westfall and again I couldn’t help but fall for him. To be honest this was the Chaol and Celaena relationship that I wanted at the beginning of the Throne of Glass books.
The romance in this was everything. It’s a slow burn enemies to lovers and I was living for every moment of it. After an event that takes place at the beginning of the book Reid and Lou are forced into a marriage contract in order to save his reputation and keep Lou form prison and possible hanging. Not only are these two sworn enemies due to the fact that if Reid ever found out Lou was a witch he’d have her burned at the stake but they are complete opposites and Lou takes great pleasure in rubbing him up the wrong way. Their banter throughout this was to die for and I loved watching as they slowly began to let their guard down around each other. This is definitely the enemies to lovers romance that we all deserve.
I also loved the side characters in this first off there’s Coco, Lou’s best friend, who is also a witch and badass and we need more female friendships like this in YA books. And there’s Ansel who is training to become a Chasseur and is absolutely adorable and I loved watching his and Lou’s friendship grow throughout the book.
One of the other things I really liked about this was the magic system because it demands a sacrifice. Instead of begin able to use magic whenever they want the witches must give up something of equal value to the amount of magic they are using for example giving up one of there senses or a memory. I just feel that magic systems like this, that require some sort of balance are far more interesting to read about.
I really love the writing in this, it was fast paced and addictive and once I really got into this I did not want to put it down.
I will mention that there is a slightly explicit sex scene in this.
Trigger warnings: violence, self harm in regards to using blood magic, death, religious persecution and parental abuse.
Overall, this was a great read and if you love enemies to lovers romances then I urge you to pick it. I gave this 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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