Blood & Honey Book Review
Welcome to my first book review of 2021! I finished this one a few weeks ago, and I've been dying to get the chance to let you know what I thought about it! But first . . .
As this is a sequel, if you've yet to read Blood & Honey, or my review for it, you might want to check that out here first. I'll wait here while you do.
Otherwise, grab your favorite snack and drink combo and tuck in, because I have SO many feelings about this one. I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but . . . it IS book two, so you're kinda asking for it at this point!
Genre: YA Fantasy
Category: Emotional Read
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Rating: 4/5 Stars
Spotify: Check out Mahurin's Spotify playlist for the book!
“Closing your eyes will not make it so the monsters can’t see you. It will only make you blind.”
After barely escaping Morgane and the Chasseurs on Modraniht, enemies are closing in from all sides. The only hope Lou, Reid, Coco, Ansel, Beau, and Labelle have is to attempt gathering some of these enemies against their common, greatest threat— and that they don’t all kill each other first.
Blood & Honey has everything I loved about Serpent & Dove and then some— magic, action, excitement, identity crises, moral questions, beautiful friendships, and more. With the introduction of the royal family—the Dames Rouge—and the loup garou on top of Morgane’s murderous streak, this book is a bit darker than its predecessor, which I am all for.
“This isn’t God, Louise. This isn’t Goddess, either. No divinity smiles upon us now.”
Morgane is a cunning, wicked villain that terrorizes her enemies and coven alike, giving characters like Levana (The Lunar Chronicles) a run for their money. She likes to play with her prey, and she is tough to get ahead of— especially if you aren't in your right mind, which Lou and Reid are not.
Considering all they've been thought, they both understandably have a lot to work through. Seeing them cope with it—or not—made me want to bash their heads together, especially since Mahurin writes from both of their perspectives, allowing us to see the thoughts and motivations of both. You want them to both be happy, together, but at times they really do not deserve the other. I constantly wanted to scream at them to "JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER, DAMNIT!"
As if a broken heart and yet another brush with death weren't enough, Lou now has to deal with Reid denying who he is and backsliding into a sanctimonious ass. She tries too hard to work with him, agreeing to not use magic in instances where it would obviously be helpful—like changing her hair color in order to disguise herself, for example.
This backfires (of course), leaving Lou the mirror image of her mother, causing her to lose her shit. This is only the beginning of a downward spiral in which she begins giving into desperation, anger, and her power, often acting impulsively and without thought or listening to anything anyone tries to tell her. These are all warning signs that Lou is inevitably losing her mind and becoming exactly like her mother—at least, that's what her mother-in-law tries throughout much of the book to convince Reid of, adding to the tension in their relationship.
“Everyone here wants to kill or possibly eat you. Shut up, good man, before you lose your spleen.”
Thankfully, we have good ol' Beauregard to supply comedic relief with gems like this, as well as much needed common sense for the rest of the crew from time to time. Beau really grew on me during the events of Blood & Honey.
While he can certainly be a lazy, cowardly princeling at times, the amount of love in his voice and shining on his face when it comes to his mother and sisters is breathtaking. I also really enjoyed watching his brotherly relationship with Reid develop as he tries to be his friend, but is also totally upfront with him about what kind of jerk their father really is.
And then we have the beautiful faux-sibling relationship between Lou and Ansel that warms your heart as she tries teaching him how to fight, gives him advise about women, and is even willing to bitch Coco out in his defense when the status of their relationship comes into question. Ansel is the purest little cinnamon roll, and their scene in the catacombs tugged on my heartstrings like you wouldn't believe until you've read the book.
Sensing my distress, Ansel slipped his hand into mine and squeezed. “I’m here, Lou.”
I returned the pressure with numb fingers. Perhaps I hadn’t broken our relationship beyond repair. The thought bolstered me enough to whisper, “I’m scared, Ansel.”
“So am I.”
While I love the whole crew, the new additions to the cast were quite interesting, especially the members of Troupe de Fortune, a traveling show whose members are more than they seem. As a tarot reader, I loved Toulouse, his connection to The Fool, the way he goaded Reid to accept his magic, and how the cards were part of a breakthrough moment for Reid.
And, ya know, having a literal enchanting storyteller as part of your show is badass. There are also characters who bring to mind those from The Witcher series, like Dandelion and Three Jackdaws.
Unfortunately, all of that does very little for the plot. That's not to say this sequel was boring. The constant action and conflict that leads to characters growing and backsliding all over the place makes for an exciting read, right up to the intense cliffhanger ending!
"The world didn't end in a scream. It ended in a gasp. A single, startled exhalation. And then— nothing. Nothing but silence."
Like this review? Read the book already? Let me know what you think in the comments, or join the conversation on bookstagram! If you haven't, treat yourself to a copy here, or (even better) from your local bookstore!