2.5 star, YA

Review: Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

Series: Serpent & Dove #3

The spellbinding conclusion to the New York Times and IndieBound bestselling trilogy Serpent & Dove. This stunning fantasy take on French witches and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.

“I am capable of great evil.” The words hung in the air between us, as sentient as the mist. They waited, coiled, for my response. For my clarification. For my own truth.

I looked directly in her eyes. “We all are.”

I may not have been the most vocal about it, but I am not the biggest fan of this series. I just chugged my way through it since I got the ARC for Serpent & Dove. I thought maybe I could come to like it since it’s so well loved but it’s good to know I guess that that’s not the case at all.

Set in the aftermath of the crazy conclusion of book 2, I’m still a little quite salty about the death of a main character. Thankfully, they make a cameo appearance in some capacity in this one so there’s some closure to their story, but I’m still upset because they’re my favourite of all of them.

Lou upsets me most of the time. I just can’t stand her. I’m sorry if you loved her character, but she seems so over the top and unnecessarily trying to rile people. I understand she hasn’t had it easy in life with, you know, her mother trying to kill her and all that, but I lose my patience with her often.

Reid isn’t all that much better, but at least I enjoy him more. Together, their relationship is fun entertainment but I didn’t understand this enemies to lovers romance because they seem like such fundamentally different people. I suppose I’m not one of those people who think opposites attract (and last).

So why isn’t this rated lower? Great question, friend.

First, 1 full extra star rating was given because I listened to this as an audiobook. I very rarely listen to audiobooks but this was a great book selection to do so. The actors voicing Reid and Lou had very entertaining voices they gave each other and it just made the drier sections of the book pass by quicker. I have to applaud them for that in some way.

Second, I don’t love Reid and Lou’s relationship in any way – I stand by my opinion that there are better enemies to lovers stories out there and I don’t love the trope enough to love any couple that comes to be because of it – but the romantic angst in this one was on point. There was a reason why there was drama between them that was relevant to the plot and played a major role for what needed to happen in their final battle against Lou’s mother.

Third, Shelby made one good messaging point in this book and the series that no one is righteous. Reid the holy chasseur seeking out witches and the witch who saved another from their suffering on the stake are equally capable of great evil and good. It’s a choice to make, over and over again. That was something Lou and Reid had to learn about themselves, beyond the upbringing and world they grew up in. I think that’s something that resonates deeply with me and I do appreciate that.

The ending wrapped up in a way I think gave proper closure to these characters if you loved them throughout the journey they took. The climax felt like it went by too quickly (we were all waiting on this since the BEGINNING of book 1), but others may be satisfied with the big battle with Morgane.

All I can say is, Gods & Monsters wasn’t for me, but at the same time, I will be fair in saying it wasn’t the worst out there. I can see why people love it, but these were the reasons why I couldn’t.

Overall Recommendation:

Gods & Monsters is a conclusion to a beloved series I just still cannot fully fathom. Listening to the audiobook version made the slower middle parts more bearable but the climax, the penultimate battle against Lou’s mother and her band of witches, fell a little flat after all the set up that went into it. I’m still not on board with Reid and Lou’s relationship, but I will admit at least the romantic angst in this last book was relevant to the plot and entertaining in that way. But most of all, the most positive thing I have to say about the book, is the message that we are all capable of great evil. It’s the choices we make that matter. If that’s the one thing I can hold onto from this series that didn’t hit it for me, I will take it.

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Spooky Reads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Good morning! I want to say “Happy Tuesday”, but do we like Tuesdays more than Mondays or are they both equally days people don’t look forward to?

Anyhow, today’s TTT is a Halloween freebie. I know I’m not being super original here, but I’ve been flitting around Instagram this whole month and saw a number of recommended reads for this spooky season. I thought I would collate the ones that seemed interesting and/or popular to discuss with you all!

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Spooky Reads”

If You Loved Geekerella…

Happy Monday! Or should I say, yay, it’s the start of a new week?

Regardless of how we feel about Mondays, I hope you had a restful weekend. It’s starting to get super chilly here and I think I have to put away my bike for the season soon. Definitely time to take out the warm sweaters, blankets and a comfy seat to curl up with a book!

So today I am bringing some recommendations for an old story that I fell in love with so long ago. Whether you’ve read this one or not, hopefully you’ll find one of these books interesting to take a look into.

About the book (review here)

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfieldmovie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

If you loved the Cinderella retelling aspect with a fun sci-fi twist…

…then you should definitely pick up Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I personally LOVE Cinderella retellings the most and if you haven’t read this one yet, I love the creativity in our heroine, Cinder, and the additional plot lines that were added on top of the traditional Cinderella story. Both books are just SO creative!

If you loved all the geekiness and modern day sci-fi references…

…then Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner is an amazing contender for all of your sci-fi geekiness and the realm of cosplaying. I personally have only touched the surface of cosplay and D&D but I loved learning so much about standing up for what you love, whether it’s labelled “cool” or not, and be proud of it. Even if sci-if geekiness isn’t your thing, both books dive so well into the characters who love this so much that it really doesn’t matter.

If you loved a romance between a celeb and an ordinary teen…

…then you should check out Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West! Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a “normal” person to find themselves not only interacting with a celebrity of sorts, but being the object of their affection? Well, it definitely comes with some bumps (and paparazzi), but it makes for fascinating reading as they navigate such a relationship.

And that’s a wrap for this week’s If You Loved This! I would love to know what you think of some of these books if you’ve read them, or if you feel there’s another book you’d group in this series.

Thanks for stopping by! I always appreciate it