Blood and Honey

Shelby Mahurin
The stakes are higher. The witches are deadlier. And the romance is red-hot. The eagerly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and Indiebound bestseller Serpent & Dove is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas. Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church--fugitives with nowhere to hide. To survive, they need allies. Strong ones. But as Lou becomes increasingly desperate to save those she loves, she turns to a darker side of magic that may cost Reid the one thing he can't bear to lose. Bound to her always, his vows were clear: where Lou goes, he will go; and where she stays, he will stay. Until death do they part. 


Reviewed: 2020-09-15

So, different aspects of this book were hit and miss for me. I absolutely love Lou. Her scenes are great, and I felt her character work in this book was strong. She can be ruthless, but will defend those she cares about. I also loved Lou's friend Coco and young Ansel. With them there was great character development and interesting plot choices. On the other hand, Reid kind of sucked. Honestly, he sucked a lot in the first book, and only slightly less in this one. He kept trying to get Lou to stop using magic, which is part of her identity, and is an all around ass.

Long story short, Reid was a magic cop, but now he's an ex-magic cop because he fell in love with a witch (cue the 'you're not like other witches' line) and has magic of his own. I feel like the book is playing with both sides-isms, and it just doesn't hit right. A repeated idea is that the Chasseurs (AKA witch hunters) were not great and killed innocent women and other magical beings, but the witches were also bad because they did naughty magic and some witches killed people. And while this might have worked in the past, in the current political climate it reads as tone deaf. Whereas the witches mission and ideals change depending on leadership and even from witch to witch, literally the entire point of the Chasseurs is to kill people who have magic. No matter if they actually do or if they hurt anyone with it.

It's so frustrating, because the base of the story and world is really interesting, but one of the main groups is characterized in such a way that just reads wrong. Having someone who has been persecuted by militant, hyper-religious group for who she was suddenly flip and say they need to ally with said group is...not a great look. And maybe I'm making a bigger deal of this than it was, I don't know, but this is my gut feeling.

I'm willing to revise my judgement of this book depending on how the next (AKA last) book goes, but I sure hope it doesn't keep going in the direction it's leaning. More 'overthrow the oppressors' less 'let's work with our oppressors' please and thank you.

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