Review: Blood & Honey
Title: Blood & Honey
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove Book 2
Date Published: September 1st 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Blood & Honey takes place just after Lou, Reid and the gang have escaped Morgane and the Chateau. They barely escaped alive and are now being hunted by everyone, the time they’ve taken to heal is running out. They need allies but the daughter of Les Dame des Sorcières and the former captain of the Chasseurs does not inspire trust, they are barely tolerated to live. The book follows their journey as they traverse Belterra in an attempt to gather allies, whilst also fighting their own inner demons.
Both Reid and Lou have a lot to deal with in the aftermath of Modraniht and this takes a toll on their relationship. The lengths to which they will go to, to ensure the other survives is evidence of how deep their love runs but when they each must fight their own demons – demons which they do their best to ignore – their journey goes downhill rapidly.
I loved Serpent & Dove and unfortunately, this book lacked something when compared to its counterpart. There was a good deal of action, heartache and new characters introduced, however, it just felt a little slow for me. The constant inner battles Reid and Lou faced was a vital part but also felt rather repetitive as the book went on. There was duel POV throughout changing perspectives between Lou and Reid every chapter or two, which was important as it allowed us to understand each of them better and how they saw each other. However, I found the constant swapping to be quite confusing and struggled to remember whose perspective it was, and I found it hard to engage as the swapping meant a lot of thinking back and reengaging with the character. I would have preferred to stay with one character for longer, but I understand why it was done, as it gave us both perspectives on each situation but it made the book very hard to follow and rather stop/ start for me. I think this was largely because both perspectives were rather similar in that they were both dealing with their own demons so there wasn't enough differentiation between the two.
Aside from our two main characters, I loved seeing the rest of the gang still present – Coco, Ansel, Beau, and Madame Labelle – and they really brought a much-needed dynamic and humor to the story. A lot of new characters were introduced, many of whom I loved and all of which played very important roles. It was great to finally see the blood witches and get to understand their life and group a lot more, and I really enjoyed meeting the werewolves. The history that we’d heard about in book one linked in well and was really expanded upon here which was great.
The ending was horrifying and gripping and I’m dying to know what will happen in the final installment. Some hard scenes happened, and whilst these were very heart-breaking, I think they were vital for the story, otherwise, it would have seemed a bit too easy. This was when the consequences finally started snapping into place and they really understood what was at stake for them.
Overall, it was an enjoyable follow up to Serpent & Dove and introduced some important new characters and storylines. However, it wasn’t as enthralling or gripping as book one, and the POV swapping and pace really weren’t fantastic. That being said, I still love the world and the characters, and this book did a good job of setting up the final installment of the trilogy. Blood & Honey is definitely worth reading if only to know what happens after the events on Modraniht and for preparation for the last book.
Rating: 3 Stars