Skip to main content

Teen Book Review- Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove - Mahurin, Shelby

TL:DR: 7/10, not my genre. Enjoyed it overall, but won’t be picking up the next one in the series. 14+, mature scenes present.

Before reading Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, I didn’t believe that a 495 page book could float only on witty dialogue and cliched tropes. I stand corrected.

Premise:

Lou is a witch in hiding. Ever since she fled her coven two years ago, she steals, lies, and tricks others to get by. Which is no easy feat considering that Cesarine is a place where her kind are hunted. If she is ever found out, she will be burned.

Reid is an orphaned witch hunter. The guiding principle of his life is to kill witches. Oh, and follow the Church’s teachings through his father figure, the Archbishop.

Their fates collide when a cruel trick forces them into the holiest of all bonds: matrimony.

Yup. They get married. And normally, I’m a sucker for that ‘fake marriage for convenience’s sake’ trope. But if you’re not going to do it like “My Lady Jane” then honestly, why bother?

Before I get further into my commentary, let me explains why I am reviewing a fantasy book, (and one whose main theme is romance?!) in the first place. This is not my usual kind of book, I admit, but…The cover. HAVE YOU SEEN THE COVER?! *contented sigh* I was also trying to be more open-minded about my preferences, and decided to give Serpent and Dove the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately it just proved that the fantasy/romance genre is not for me. Let’s get into why.

From the start, the world building was done poorly. Characters spoke French at odd intervals and Christianity was present throughout (as well as the Bible) but in all other aspects, it was a different world. So why not make up some other religion/language or simply set it in France–why one foot in this world and one in the other? I don’t know, but that irritated me.

The characterization was average, and sadly stereotypical. We have the petite but fiery female MC. She is ‘selfish’ because she puts her life before the lives of others. Noble and muscular male MC. He is judgemental and has some anger issues but is really just a nice guy. Let’s not forget the Black best friend who is beautiful and supportive with no apparent flaws of her own. The Archbishop, regular ‘father-figure’ baddie.

What about the plot? Slightly better. There were some twists and surprises which were pleasant, but did it completely redeem the book? Not for me. The romance was passing, but it felt like a stale version of Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows. Which is not to say the romance was bad, by the way. Just not amazing.

Okay so now we come to the good parts. (yes, there are good parts). The humour. Maybe that’s what’s so attractive about these types of books, they have the ability to be light-hearted. The witty banter, the jokes and heart-felt scenes… even when the plot darkens, the drama of life and death adds feeling to the relationships.

This might sound like a complete plot twist of my own, but I did enjoy reading Serpent and Dove. It was fun and suspenseful but I just didn’t find it a good book in the ways that matter to me. (In addition to the minute scenes/details I found irritating)

Teen Book Review – The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds

In Lisa McMann‘s fascinating fantasy series, The Unwanteds, twins Aaron and Alexander Stowe are forced to be separated, in a land of unfair and unjust rules. In the land of Quill, children are separated into Wanteds, Unwanteds or Necessaries. While being an artistic is a death sentence, Aaron is treated like royalty as a Wanted and sent to university. I absolutely love Lisa’s stories because the detail and creativeness that goes into her stories is incredible. A fantasy series filled with magic, art, and wonder is just my cup of tea. With magic and creativity, Alex and his friends bring the stories to life with their special talents and unique ideas. If you love magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend this spectacular series.

Teen SRC 2020- Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui

Have you ever wondered what a dragon tasted like? Would it taste like chicken, maybe beef? Or maybe you’ve been wondering what a cockatrice would taste like served in a good stew. After all, a snake/chicken hybrid would seem to make an interesting dinner combo. Or maybe, you’ve been wondering about the morality of eating fishmen. Unlike mermen, they have fish heads, and though they seem semi-sentient, it wouldn’t hurt to try one… Would it?

These are the questions Delicious in Dungeon set out to answer, as Ryoko Kui serves up a masterful manga, seemingly to answer the age-old question of “What would happen if Gordon Ramsay got trapped in Middle Earth?”

The story begins, as a cave opening is discovered, leading to an underground kingdom covered in gold. A distraught king emerges from its entrance, promising all of his treasure to whoever defeats the insane magician who sunk his kingdom underground in the first place, before crumbling to dust. Word of the king’s promise spreads like a wildfire, as numerous guilds gather to try to navigate the labyrinth-esque kingdom, now infested with monsters of all shapes and sizes. Laios is the leader of one such guild, before his party is decimated and his sister is eaten by a dragon. Laios and his crew rush back into the kingdom of gold in an attempt to save his sister, but soon run out of supplies. They are saved by a dwarf named Senshii who teaches Laios and crew how to properly cook and eat monsters, as the adventure to save Laios’s sister begins.

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Bone Crier's Moon - Purdie, Kathryn

Bone ​Criers have a sacred job. Them alone can keep the dead from preying the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes with a great sacrifice. The gods order a promise of dedication to their duty. And that promise includes the life of the Bone Criers’ one true love. Ailesse has been molded since her first breath to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers. But first she must successfully complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she loves. Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier which he wasn’t supposed to wittiness, and now he seeks revenge. Along with his companions’ whose family has also been taken as sacrifice by Bone Criers. But when he finally kidnapped one, his craving for vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fate has already been tied. Sabine, Ailesse’s best friend, never had the guts to take part of the Bone Crier’s work. But when Ailesse had been caught, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means breaking their traditions or acting against their matriarch just to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. And to just make circumstances even worse the matriarch seems to be harboring dark secrets and Sabine only has one year to save Ailesse, or they will all die.

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs

The Conference of the Birds - Riggs, Ransom

The Conference of the Birds starts just where the Map of Days ended. Jacob and his friends left against Miss Peregrine’s wishes in order to save Noor. There he learns from H that there is a prophecy taking shape and it has intertwines Noor into it. Jacob had been given a mission of deliver Noor to V, save Noor, and save the peculiardom. Simple enough right? Except V is the most powerful out of Abe’s former ally and she most definitely doesn’t want to be found also Noor is being hunted which puts their whole group in danger and makes everything harder. Now Jacob has to take a leap towards the Conference of the Birds.

This was really disappointing. All four book before this one I loved, but while reading this one I was basically begging for it to end. In “A Map of Days”, the whole plot was steady and at a good pace, slowly revealing the new side of the peculiar world to the reader. This new book however was a hot mess. I didn’t even like this new story line, as the whole prophecy felt like a waste of time. In the first couple books the character worked hard in defeating the “bad guy” just for the “bad guy” to comeback through a “prophecy”; which is just a list that the wights have to follow. Also in A Map of Days, I enjoyed it as the characters showed hints of growing and developing. They have been through so much, surely Jacob would act and think differently in the new book right? But he didn’t evolve at all and all the characters just felt flat. The whole romance part was flat as well. And so was the whole outline of the story. I would rate it 4/10, I liked the idea of the book, but the details were flat. So in summary, I would have enjoyed the book if only it was executed in a different way.

You can find more of Ransom Riggs’ works here.

Teen SRC 2020 – Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

Lady Smoke - Sebastian, Laura

Lady Smoke has been born and the Ash Princess has fallen. Theo already feeling more like herself again; no longer wearing a crown of ashes and has her rightful title now. However, her people are still being tortured and enslaved under the Kaiser and Theo is miles away from her throne and country. In order for her to get those back she will need to secure an army. And securing an army meant she had to trust the dreaded pirate, Dragonsbane, who is also her aunt. According to Dragonsbane, the only way Theo can get an army is if she marries a husband; something an Astrean Queen hasn’t and shouldn’t do. She seeks help and allies from anyone that she can reach, but every time she gets so close, she falls back down again. As she fights to unravel the secrets and mysteries, she realizes that Dragonsbane is harboring secrets of her own. On top of that, Blaize has been having strange episodes and Theo has taken Prinz Soren, the Kaiser’s son, hostage. Will they still be able to survive the enemy’s attacks if they were already internally ripping each other apart?

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites - Lu, Marie

Hey y’all! Summer school is finally over, thank god, and I am getting back into reading with a book from Ms. Marie Lu, because I don’t think they have the ability to be bad 🙂

Alright, so I think I’ve actually read this series before but I completely forgot what it was about, I just have a faint recollection of crying after the second book… so we’ll see how that goes.

Summary of The Young Elites by Marie Lu: A decade ago, a deadly blood fever swept through Adelina Amouteru’s country. All the adults who were infected died, but the children survived with strange markings: highlights in their hair, impossibly pale eyes, and scars. With these markings came strange powers that were out of this world, such as the ability to conjure fire, teleport, or control the wind. This led to fear and scorn from the villagers, of these mutations, these mistakes, these malfettos. However, a group of these powerful youth have banded together to make The Young Elites, and they are focused on taking back the Crown Prince’s birthright, which is to rule the kingdom, and stop the discrimination against these powerful children.

So… I have conflicting feelings about this book. But, it’s mainly because I did not like Adelina, and she’s the main character… In fact, I quite liked the plot, and the twists in here are pretty darn good. Another thought though, is that the characters are sort of flat. There’s no real development, and I don’t think there’s a single character whose backstory is intricate or deep. However, this is just the first book, so I’m holding out hope!! Other than that though, the plot was awesome, and the world and concept are very interesting; the action is nicely written as well!

Now, y’all are going to laugh at me but I wasn’t for the romance in this story… I SWEAR I DON’T HATE LOVE. It’s also not that Marie can’t write romance, because the Legend series absolutely shredded my heart, it’s just that there was ZERO build-up for this relationship, and that made me really sad.

Anyway, my final rating is a 7/10, I’m super sorry, Ms. Lu! I have hiiiigh hopes for the sequel though, so I’ll let you guys know how that goes!

Teen SRC 2020 – Such Wicked Intent by Keneth Oppel ( 2nd book of the The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series)

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Such Wicked Intent - Oppel, Kenneth

In the sequel to “This Dark Endeavor”, Victor, Elizabeth and Henry are trying to transport themselves into a wolf in sheep’s clothing spirit world.be careful of Greeks bearing gifts.After the events of the last book, Konrad Frankenstein is dead. While Elizabeth has lost her fiance and Henry has lost one of his closest friends, the person who lost the most is his twin brother Victor who feels as if he has lost half of himself. Destroyed and completely broken with guilt and grief over the death of his beloved brother and rage over the fact he couldn’t save him, Victor makes a deadly pledge to himself; he will bring Konrad back no matter the cost. However, no mere mortal man can bring a soul back. Or can he? In yet another journey, the trio try to, no, have to bring back the one person they all care and love; again they have to return to the Dark Arts and instead of just dipping their toes in this time, they are required to take a much deeper dive and there are no signs if they will resurface and be sane after this. They will have to travel to places where no living soul has set foot to or ever returned. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. their friendship and bonds will be strained again no matter how deep they bury their true emotions, or intentions. They discover unbelievable powers in the other side, but not everything that glitters is gold. Alchemy and overpowering potions will only lend strengths, but won’t survive against time. Slowly, these each of them will go through their own little nightmares controlled by power, greed, pain, and the urge to just feel alive. Will they be able to focus on their goal or will they stray from the path into the darkness? Will they be able to bring back Konard or will they just worsen his fate? And what is the line between their mission and the pit of obsession and madness?

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (#1 book of the Ash Princess Trilogy)

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess - Sebastian, Laura

Theodosia was only six years old when her country was stormed and her strong, good-natured mother, the Fire Queen, throat was slitted right in front of the traumatized child. On that day, everything changed and her entire life was no longer steady. The “Kaiser” stole everything from little Theodosia that night: her family, her land, and her name. The distraught child is forced to burying the girl she really was deep under her skin; Theodosia disppeared and in her place was the exact same girl with the same appearance but the glint and fire in her eyes had burned out. She was crowned “Ash Princess”, a title that will haunt and follow her everywhere as she starts the unsure path of her future. For over ten years Theo has been humiliated and held captive in her own palace. She has swallow down her pride and confidence, and relentlessly, publicly abused and degraded by the greedy, cold-hearted, cruel Kaiser and his court. She is defenseless and her physical self is only barely surviving in her new world. Then, one day, the Kaiser forced Theo to do an unthinkable to someone she has always seen as her only living parents and the last twinkle of hope inside her. With the blood on her hands and the last drop of hope sucked out of her, the Kaiser was obviously amused but clueless to the fact that he has gone so far even his own are no longer loyal to him. She soon finds out that her people are still fighting for her. They may not have enough man power yet, but the tables are about to turn. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For years she had been forced to stand and watch her people suffer underneath the Kaiser. All of the chaos starts now and all the silence stops.

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer - Taylor, Laini

Hey y’all! I’m back again, and this time I’ll be reviewing Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

I first opened this book a year ago, but I couldn’t get past the first chapter. This week, I finally gave it a second try, and what do you know? I finished it in 3 days.

The story is told from two alternating perspectives from two very different people: Lazlo Strange and Sarai.

Read More