Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin book review
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Blood & Honey
by Shelby Mahurin
Published by HarperTeen
Book 2 in the Serpent & Dove Trilogy
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.
RATED: 17+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence Upper Young Adult Exciting
Some Steamy Scenes Romance
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin is the second book in the Serpent & Dove trilogy. It centers around Lou, a witch who has just escaped death, and her husband, Reid, an ex-chassaur (witch-hunter), and the first known male who can use magic. It starts off a few days after the events of the last book, where Reid, Lou, Madame Labelle, Coco, Ansel and Beau are camped out in the woods, hiding from Morgane.
Truth time: Blood & Honey has a slow start. I found it hard to get into until about halfway through the book, which is a true shame. It continues to be unique in it's genre, and it's characters are still interesting ... but we don't get a whole lot of moments where we can love these characters, like we did in the first one. I get it. Lots of shit happened at the end of the first book. Life changing things. Reid has magic. Lou had her throat slit by her mother. I don't think we should gloss over that ... but I wish we had more Reid and Lou moments. I felt like they were so at odds for most of the book, they were both making horrible decisions throughout, it was hard to like them. There is redemption for them both at the end, but it took a long time to get there.
Blood & Honey definitely has that second book syndrome going on, which is a bummer, but that ending? Yikes. Didn't see that coming, at all.
It's clear that Blood & Honey was a stepping stone, a set up, for the final book, but judging by the last half of the book, I think it's clear that we are in for one hell of a ride for the last book.
Reid actually eating Lou's "bread"
Madame Labelle talking about Sex with Reid and Lou
Lou giving Madame Labelle the finger
Lou and Ansel talking about his feelings for Coco
Lou surprising Reid by showing up as his assistant in the show, here he was forced to throw knives at her
Lou telling Reid FINALLY that what happened in the theater was an accident
Beau's story about losing his virginity to someone who is aroused by stuttering
Beau's twin sisters rescuing them.
Reid finally accepting who he is, and apologizing to Lou
Where to Buy
"Il n'y a pas plus sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre."
"There are none so deaf as those that will not hear."
Lou: "You don't have to eat it."
His lips quirked in a grin
Reid: "Bon appetit."
We watched, transfixed, as he stuffed the bread into his mouth - and choked.
Beau roared with laughter.
Lou: "Well, that was dripping with condescension. Shall we try again?"
With an exasperated sigh, he turned his head to kiss my fingers.
Reid: "You're impossible."
Lou: "I'm impractical, improbable, but never impossible."
Madame Labelle: "I'm serious. Absolutely no sneaking away for any secret rendezvous. The forest is dangerous. The trees have eyes."
Lou's laughter rings out, clear and bright, while I splutter with mortification.
Madame Labelle: "I know the two of you are physically involved - don't try to deny it. But no matter your bodily urges, the danger outside this c amp is too great. I must ask you to restrain yourselves for the time being."
I stalk off without a word, Lou's laughter still ringing in my ears. Madame Labelle follows, undeterred.
Madame Labelle: "It's perfectly natural to have such impulses."
She hurries to keep up, skirting around Beau. He too shakes with laughter.
Madame Labelle: "Really, Reid, this immaturity is most off-putting. You are being careful, aren't you? Perhaps we should have a frank discussion about contraceptives -"
Madame Labelle: "Are you capable of thinking with the northernmost regions of your bodies, or are you ruled entirely by sex?"
Lou: "It's a toss-up on any given day."
Reid: "You shouldn't have done that for me."
Lou: "I would do far worse for you."
Lou: "What happens after we defeat Morgane? Do we resume killing each other over her corpse? We're enemies, Hele. Werewolves and mermaids aren't going to become bosom buddies on the battlefield. Huntsmen aren't going to forsake centuries of teaching to befriend witches. The hurt is too long and too great on all sides. You can't heal a disease with a bandage."
Ansel: "So give them the cure. You're a witch. He's a huntsman."
Reid: "Not anymore."
Ansel: "But you were. When you fell in love, you were enemies."
Lou: "He didn't know I was his enemy -"
Ansel: "But you knew he was yours. Would it have mattered?"
Lou: "Husband! I try not to be needy, really, but a little help over here would be grand -"
Lou: "I suppose this means you aren't willing to simply step aside. Are you sure that's wise? I am a witch, you know."
Man: "Did you know your head is worth one hundred thousand couronnes?"
Lou: "Frankly, I'm insulted. It's worth at least twice that."
Claud: "Good evening, messieurs. I do hate to interrupt, but I believe it's in poor taste to discuss beheading a lady in front of her."
Coco: "Pretty lies or ugly truth?"
Lou: "The uglier, the better."
Reid: "You don't even know me."
Claud: "Perhaps not. But I do know you don't know yourself. I know you cannot know another until you do. I know you need to wake up, young man, lest you leave this world without finding that which you truly seek."
Reid: "And what's that?"
Claud: "Connection. We all seek it. Accept yourself, accept others, and you just mind find it."
Beau: "I like him."
Reid: "He's mad."
Beau: "All the best ones are."
Beau: "It would seem I'm shit at this."
I snorted despite myself
Reid: "Was there ever any doubt."
Madame Labelle: "There is more in this earth than in all your Heaven and Hell, yet you remain blind."
Madame Labelle: "I am sorry Reid. You've led a tumultuous life, and the blame in part is mine. I know this. I understand my role in your suffering. Now you must understand that, if given the choice, I never would've left you. I would've forsaken everything - my home, my sisters, my life - to keep you, but I cannot change the past. I cannot protect you from its pain. I can protect you here and now, however, if you let me."
Ansel: "She keeps looking at you."
Lou: "Of course she does. I'm objectively beautiful. A masterpiece made flesh."
Lou: "Excuse me? I don't think I heard you correctly. The proper response was, 'Goddess Divine, of course thy beauty is a sacred gift from Heaven, and we mortals are blessed to even gaze upon thy face.'"
Ansel: "Goddess Divine. Right."
Lou: "The game isn't over yet. She's just a new piece on the board."
Ansel: "This isn't the time."
Lou: "Why not? Ismay's and Gabrielle's suffering doesn't lessen your own. We need to talk about this."
Ansel: "There are already too many pieces on the board, Lou. And I'm not playing a game."
Lou: "If you don't play, you can't win."
Ansel: "You also can't lose."
Reid: "I'm not a saint. I'm married."
Madame Labelle: "To whom? Louise Larue? I'm afraid the girl doesn't exist."
My fingers stilled around the knife in my hand.
Reid: "And what's my name, Maman? Diggory, Lyon, or Labelle? Should I choose one arbitrarily? A name isn't a person. I don't care what a stupid piece of paper says hers is. I made a vow, and I will honor it."
I'd lied when I'd said I'd made my choice.
In truth, there'd been no choice at all. There never had been.
I loved her.
And if I had to run, hide, and fight for that love, I would. For the rest of my life, I would.
Lou: "Hello, Chass."
Reid: "Hello, wife."
Reid: "You're exhausted."
Lou: "They're butchering Liddy's song."
Reid: "You butcher Liddy's song."
Lou: "Excuse me? Thank you very much, but my enthusiasm is everything."
Reid: "Except a full vocal range."
Lou: "I'm prepared for shock and awe here, Chass. Your voice had better hypnotize snakes and charm the pants from virgins. It'd better be the love child of Jesus and -"
Reid: "I have no interest in charming the pants from virgins."
Lou: "Not even Ansel?"
Reid: "Ansel isn't really my type."
Lou: "No? What is your type?"
Reid: "I love girls who can't sing."
Lou: "You ass."
Beau: "It's a real pity. I know you're all too preoccupied with your pining to notice, but I just caught my reflection in that last puddle - and damn, I look good."
Reid: "I can't fight you. It wouldn't be fair."
Her eyes flashed
Lou: "I agree. Not fair in the slightest. But I fear Ansel isn't the only one in need of a lesson today. I would hate for either of you to walk away with the wrong impression."
Jean Luc: "Your indiscretions shall not go unpunished. Truly, it disgusts me to one day call you king."
Beau: "Never fear. You won't be alive to witness that crowning achievement. Not if you continue to threaten my friends."
Lou: "One can't help but notice your new circumstances with Reid out of the picture. He always had the life you wanted, didn't he? Now you get to pretend at his. Secondhand title, secondhand power. Secondhand girl."
Thierry: Your fear is irrational. You are not Louise. You are reason, where she is impulse. You are earth. She is fire.
Lou: "I know things have changed between us. But I want you to know that I love you. Nothing can ever change that. And if you die today, I will find you in the afterlife and kick your ass for leaving me."
Lou: "What happened?"
Reid: "Your plan was shit."
Lou: "Completely accidental, but what could I do? It's not my fault you couldn't keep your hands off my breasts. I don't blame you in the slightest."
Lou: "Perhaps I can find a pattern to reverse time. Is that what you want? Would you rather have died in that pool than lived to see me become who I truly am? I'm a witch, Reid. A witch. I have the power to protect the ones I love, and I will sacrifice anything for them. If that makes me a monster - if that makes me aberrant - I'll don the teeth and claws to make it easier for you."
Reid: "Don't make a rash decision. Stop and think, Lou. Feel the truth in my words. I'm here. I'm not leaving."
Beau: "Enough. Never, ever tell that story again. Do you understand me? Ever. The psychological scars you've just inflected, woman. I cannot unsee what my mind's eye has conjured."
Auguste: "You disappoint me."
Beau: "I assure you, the sentiment is mutual."
Auguste: "Now tell me. How is it possible? How did you come to exist, Reid Diggory?"
A grin rose, unbidden, and I heard Lou's voice in my head.
Reid: "I believe when a man and a ... witch ... love each other very much -"
Violette: "You stink, taeae. And proper knights don't stink. How can you rescue your fair maiden if she can't stand the smell of you?"
Fighting his own grin, Madame Labelle braced my other side.
Victoire: "Perhaps she will rescue him."
Violette: "Perhaps they will rescue each other."
Reid: "Perhaps we will."
Lou: "I don't even know if you're real. I'm probably talking to myself right now like madwoman. And maybe I am mad. But - but if you are real, if you are listening, please, please ... Don't abandon me."
Lou: "What are you, Claud?"
Claud: "What are you, Louise?"
I stared at my hands, deliberating. I'd been called many impolite things in my life. Most didn't bear repeating, but one had stuck with me, slipping beneath my skin, moldering my flesh. He'd called me a liar. He'd called me -
Lou: "A snake. I suppose ... I'm a snake. A liar. A deceiver. Cursed to crawl on my belly and eat dust all the days of my life."
Claud: "Ah. Yes, I would agree with that assessment."
Humiliation hung my head.
Lou: "Right. Thanks."
Claud: "Louise. What you are now is not what you've always been, nor is it what you always will be. You are a snake. Shed your skin if it no longer serves you. Transform into something different. Something better."
Reid: "You said it yourself. Magic isn't good or evil. It heeds those who summon it. When life is a choice between fighting or fleeing - every moment life or death - everything becomes a weapon. It doesn't matter who holds them. Weapons harm. I've seen it. I've experienced it firsthand. But life is more than those moments, Lou. We're more than those moments."
Lou: "What am I, Reid? Say it again."
Reid: "You're a witch."
Lou: "And what are you?"
Reid: "I am too."
Lou: "Only partly right, I'm afraid."
My smile - now genuine - grew at his confusion, and I leaned forward, rubbing my nose against his. He closed his eyes.
Lou: "Allow me to fill in the gaps for you."
I kissed his nose
Lou: "You are a huntsman."
Though he recoiled slightly, I didn't let him escape, kissing his cheek.
Lou: "You are a son."
I kissed his other cheek.
Lou: "You are a brother."
Lou: "You are a husband."
His eyelids and his chin.
Lou: "You are brave and strong and good."
And finally, his lips.
Lou: "But most important, you are loved."
A fresh tear trickled down his face. I kissed it too.
Lou: "You're also sanctimonious and stubborn and short-tempered."
His eyes flicked open, and he frowned. I kissed his lips again. Gentle and slow.
Lou: "Not to mention brooding, with a shit sense of humor. But despite all that, you aren't alone, Reid. You'll never be alone."
Reid: "I'll never take you for granted. I'll want you every day for the rest of my life, and I'll love you even after."
Lou: "Have I told you how beautiful you are when you smile?"
He smiled then, the kind of smile that dimpled his cheek and set my heart on fire.
Reid: "Tell me."
Lou: "Sometimes when I look at you, I can't breathe. I can't think. I can't function until you look back. And when you give me this smile, it's like a secret just for the two of us. I don't think I ever love you more than when you smile at me."
Beau: "Jean Luc. Everyone here wants to kill or possible eat you. Shunt up, good man, before you lose your spleen."
Lou: "I knew you'd choose fire. You're growing predictable in your old age, Maman. And wrinkled. It's a good thing your hair is naturally white. It hides the gray, yes?"
Reid: "You don't get to leave me. Do you understand? You don't get to do this alone. If you retreat into your mind - into your magic - I'll follow you, Lou. I'll follow you into that darkness, and I'll bring you back. Do you hear me? Where you go, I will go."
Check out the rest of the Serpent & Dove Trilogy Below