Title: Blood & Honey
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Pub. Date: September 1, 2020
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.
This will be a spoiler free review. You can check out my review for Serpent & Dove if you’re curious!
We’re just going to start this with –
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK WAS THAT ENDING?
I don’t know how I’m writing this right now, because this book killed me.
I was at work listening to this book, and I ripped my headphone out of my ear with a loud groan and a “what the fuck”.
I alarmed my coworkers.
What do you mean I have to wait for the third book?
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I will say that I didn’t love this one quite as much as Serpent & Dove. It was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I kind of got annoyed with Reid and Lou.
I’m shocked too.
I fully expected this to be a 5-star read that would instantly become a new favorite. But oh my fucking god, I got so annoyed with Reid and Lou’s self-importance, self-possessed relationship. Between Reid’s broody af attitude for like, 90% of this book, and their inexplicable ability to have Very Important Conversations at Inappropriate Times – I wanted to throttle them…often.
The whole things with them having conversations at the worst times drove me nuts. It felt like the author just forgot what they were doing the scene before and decided to throw in this conversation – surroundings be damned. That and the constant PDA – but again, only when it just seemed out of place.
I do think that this book was going to have a hard time living up to expectations. I’ve said it before, hype can greatly benefit a book, or greatly hurt it. I was so in love with S&D. It immediately became a favorite, I was immediately a sucker for Lou and Reid and the world Shelby created. I was so anxious and expectant for this book. I had no idea what to expect, but I loved S&D so much, that this next one would have to be just as good. As more information was released about this book, the more excited I became.
Having read it, I don’t think it could have ever fully lived up to my expectations. I say that because other than it “being amazing” which is such a blanket, vague statement, I can’t tell you what I actually expected or anticipated.
With that being said, the tension between Reid and Lou…that I could get behind. Lou’s descent into darkness, madness and Reid nearly helpless to stop her…*that* is the shit I’m here for. The tension and conflict between the two of them is the kind of strife I love between characters. The unconventional way they ended up together was always going to have conflicts, and this book delivered. Lou’s descent into the dark madness, the lure of power was so good and Reid’s reactions to those moments were so good. His whole conflict with coming to terms with his heritage, with his innate magic – the magic he despises…phew. And the fact that he despises magic but loves Lou, who is magic.
Y’all, that’s the drama I live for.
I also figured out the big reveal early on. I saw it coming, but it still gave me tingly goosebumps when it happened. Also, I don’t know if anyone else has listened to the audiobook for this book, but some of the accents grated on my fucking nerves. The execution of the narration was *on point* but Deveraux had this high pitchy, crazed Cockney-ish accent and I wanted to gouge my ears out at times. It was a lot.
I’ve circled back to the ending, and it’s been about a week since I finished this book and I’m still fucking mad and upset with how it ended. It definitely leaves you seriously wanting more. It also leaves you seriously heartbroken. As well as infuriated. As far as how this book ended, I didn’t see it coming, and I fully expected something else – which I only started having suspicions as I listened.
For me, the issues I had were more of a personal preference and not necessarily narrative issues. As a second book in a series, I think it explored the characters and gave them more depth and expanded the world. It’ll be really interesting to see how the events that happened right at the end of the book are going to play out in the third one, and how the group is going to deal with the ramifications. I’m back to being excited, anxious and terrified for what comes next. Shelby has shown us that no one is safe, and honestly, I’m really curious to see who is going to make it to the end.