After a spate of novels that were lackluster at best and boring at their worst, I finally have a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. The second book in the Serpent & Dove series, Blood & Honey, by Shelby Mahurin not only made me feel all of the emotions, but it also left me with a readers’ high, the kind that leaves you giddy with joy at the end of a fantastic story. The only problem now is that I finished the novel before its publication date and have to wait for Ms. Mahurin to finish the final story in the series!
On Instagram, Ms. Mahurin mentioned how she loves characters, and it shows in Blood & Honey. With little action to move the overarching story significantly forward, she chooses instead to focus on the characters. We meet other magical beings as part of the attempt to gain allies and learn more about their current allies. More importantly, we see Lou and Reid grow as individuals as well as a couple. Every new encounter forces them to learn more about themselves and determine what they most value. The issues they work to overcome simply endear them even more to you. Theirs is a natural maturation, albeit one occurring within a condensed timeline.
Ms. Mahurin understands human emotion, and she pulls no punches in getting you to feel everything Lou and Reid do. From Reid’s conflict to Lou’s fear to their overwhelming love for each other, you feel all of it. Honestly, the intensity of those emotions took my breath away as I did not expect such a visceral response to the story. For me, though, to have such a strong emotional reaction is an indication of a well-written novel, and it is something I seek with every novel I read. In this regard, Blood & Honey does not disappoint.
I adore Lou in her own right and LOVE her interactions with Reid and other persons in authority. I appreciate her snark and practically squeal whenever she is able to put it to good use. Plus, there is nothing remotely pretentious about her. Not one to shy away from harsh realities, she sees the world as it is and not as she wishes it would be. This makes her the perfect counter for Reid’s idealistic worldview. Together, they make the right kind of sparks – the kind that requires you to fan your cheeks after certain scenes.
At the end of Blood & Honey, I honestly have no idea where Ms. Mahurin is taking us. Nor do I have any idea of what our heroes will face in the finale. I like that I cannot predict anything because it means I have no ideas that might lead to disappointment. As long as she gives us plenty of Lou and Reid and maybe one or two sexy scenes, I will be happy. I just have to get through the wait.