Saturday, October 3, 2020

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin ~ Review

Source: eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Since Serpent & Dove was one of my favorite books of 2019, naturally Blood & Honey was one of my most anticipated books of 2020. My expectations were understandably high...but I ended up not loving it. In fact, Blood & Honey has been my most disappointing read so far this year.

My biggest issue with this book was the characters. They didn't draw me the way they did in book 1. Especially the POV characters, Lou and Reid. MOST specifically Reid. His development took a couple steps backward and stayed there for most of the book, which was frustrating. Lou was mostly the same, with a tiny backslide, and then a smidgen of growth. But as the two main characters, I expected more. Or at the very least, I expected to be enthralled by their journey as they figured themselves out...and I just wasn't.

The side characters weren't bad, but they also weren't as great as I felt they were in book 1. There were some characters I was done caring about that were brought back, and I didn't care for them. There were a couple carried over from the last book that I'd liked, but didn't capture my attention the way they did before. 

The best character in this whole book was 100% Beau. He was funny and entertaining. My only qualm with him is that he didn't have more page time. 

I was also a fan of the writing. Shelby Mahurin has so much talent. The vibes of the book were deliciously dark and witchy. Plus, she inntroduced a slew of new characters, some of which I loved and am looking forward to seeing more of. And I never stopped caring about Lou and Reid as a couple. I'd absolutely go down with that ship.

But while the writing was great, the plotting...wasn't. The problem was partly the pacing--which made the book something of a chore to pick up most of the time. But then there was the fact that the closer we got to the end, the more obvious it was that this series could have concluded with book 2 instead of continuing to book 3. I could clearly see where things were contrived in order to leave things hanging for another book. This made it harder to be pulled into the story because the decisions made by EVERYONE were frustrating.

Overall, Blood & Honey was sadly disappointing, though it did have some good parts. The writing was as atmospheric as the first book, and I'm forever in love with the romance. The character growth was a negative sticking point for me, however, along with the ending. I'm unsure whether I'll pick up book 3 at this point...but I suppose I have about a year to think about it. And with all this said, I do still ADORE book 1, Serpent & Dove.

3 stars - A disappointing read for me :/

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