A Deep Review, Book Review

A Deeper Look # 4

Taking a deeper look into Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin doing a fun reader’s challenge presented by Gabriela Pereira creator of the diymfa. There will be spoilers, warning for those who have not read this book.


Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.


The Protagonist

I believe this book has 2 protagonists even though I believe there is one main protagonist, I will look into both.

Protagonist #1

Louise “Lou” Le Blanc (Louise Margaux LaRue (fake name), Louise Le Blanc Diggory (married name)) a Dame Blanche, estranged from her coven. I believe Lou is the main protagonist out of the two. .

Protagonist #2

Reid Diggory a former Chasseur, but he will discover he is a male witch himself at the end.

Who is actually telling the story?

Both Lou and Reid are telling the story. We learn the Chasseur thoughts, life, and away from Reid’s side. While married to Lou, we learn how he feels about her and how he changes him. 

We learn the rough street, thief, and run a way’s life through Lou’s eyes, then when she marries Reid, we see how she feels about him and how he changes her. 

Which character’s story do you want to follow?

The character’s story I want to follow is Lou. Her mysteriousness made her an interesting character. She left her coven because she did not want to become a sacrifice for them. She steals and hides from her mother and coven. She married a Chasseur hoping that will hide her from them.

What type of character is your protagonist?

Lou is a survivor type of character. She is someone who needed to rise to the occasion and do something extraordinary. She ran away and was still running from her mother and coven until she was caught and brought back to their home. 

Reid is a protector. He is someone who is a larger-than-life hero who needed to show some vulnerability. He is a Chasseur. They are knights who protect their homeland from witches. Reid protected Lou even when he finds out she was a witch herself.

What is the character’s deepest desire?

Lou’s desire is to be free from her mother and coven. Free from not having to look over her shoulder and worry if she or anyone who knows about her finds her.

Reid wants to be better than the job.

What does this character want?

Lou wants to be alive.

Reid wants to do his job as best as he can.


The Five Promises

At the beginning of a book, the author makes five promises to the reader. These are a character, voice, world, problem, and event. Do these promises appear early in the story, or the author choose to delay any of them?

Character

Who are we meant to root for?

The characters we are rooting for are Lou and Reid.

Who is the character at the center of the story?

Even though there are two protagonists, Lou is the center of the story. 

Voice

Voice is what connects the reader to the storyteller.

Whose voice is telling the story? Is it a character in the story or a narrator outside the story looking in?

  Lou and Reid are telling the story in the novel.

World

Where does the story take place? Is a realistic, contemporary world, or an imagined fantasy world?

This story takes place in a French-inspired world placed in a medieval feel world where church was the word and those considered witches or witch sympathisers will burn. It feels like a realistic world. 

How is the author showing us the world of this story right from the start?

The book starts off in a brothel. Lou and her best friend Coco, dressed as men, are overhearing a conversation regarding a ring Lou has been looking for.  

Problem

What immediate obstacle is the character facing? This obstacle might be directly related to the central conflict of the book, or it might be a separate but related problem.

Lou is running away from her coven. She wants to steal her ancestor’s ring. This ring holds magic capabilities to hide herself from her coven, her mother, and those who want to hunt witches. She does not know what all these powers are as she learns what all the ring does throughout the book.

Event

Every story needs a reason to start where it does.

Why does this story begin at this exact moment in time? Why do you think the author chose this as the opening for the book?

There is a significance of this scene. It sets up the thievery leading to the marriage. This scene was a setup, and was reviled, at the end, that Madame Labelle set Lou and Coco up, because she wanted Lou to get caught. She wanted to protect Lou from her mother.


The Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is a decision point that moves us from Act 1 to Act 2. This is one of the main landmark moments in the three-act story structure.

What is the external event that sets up the inciting incident?

The external event that sets up the inciting incident was when Lou marries Reid. She marries him because of the incident at the theatre. Reid recognized her at the attack and also recognized the stolen ring from Monsieur Tremblay’s home. The Archbishop wanted the marriage done quickly so the reason he could give the audience was they were married. In this world, Lou would be Reid’s property and he could do what he wanted. 

What internal choice does the protagonist make that they act on to pivot us into Act II?

Lou had two choices: go to jail for the thief or marry Reid a Chasseur. If she marries him, she thought she would be protected from her mother and coven. She would be a witch under the chasseurs noses and as long as she doesn’t use her magic or can disguise the smell of magic, no one would know.  

What makes this moment a point of no return? Why can’t the protagonist go back to the status quo?

This incident can leave a signature by smell and a feeling her coven could notice. It leads to incidents where her friends become targets and her Coven comes after her, sensing where Lou is hiding.

How does the protagonist’s choice affect you, the reader, and your feelings toward this character?

Doesn’t affect myself at all.


Supporting Cast

Supporting characters are not secondary to the protagonist. While they might not own the spotlight, the supporting cast has an important job. They need to help the protagonist move along on their journey.

Helene Le Blanc (Madame Labelle)- the owner of The Bellerose.

Archbishop-Reid’s mentor and Lou’s father

Cosette Monvoisin (Coco Brie Perrot (fake name))- Lou’s best friend

Morgane Le Blanc-Lou’s mother

Here are five supporting character archetypes:

The Villain

The Love Interest

The BFF, Sidekick, or Entourage 

The Mentor

The Fool

Which of these supporting character archetypes you see reflected in the book you have chosen. Are they all present? How does each of these supporting characters add tension to the story or support the protagonist’s journey?

The Villain

Morgane le Blanc

Chasseur-on one point of view

Witches-on one point of view

The Love Interest

Reid and Lou are each other’s love interest

The BFF, Sidekick, or Entourage 

Cosette Monvoisin (Coco Brie Perrot (fake name) Lou’s best friend) 

Ansel Diggory (Lou’s friend but fellow Chasseur initiate, Beauregard Lyon

The Mentor

The Archbishop

The Fool

Helene Le Blanc (Madame Labelle)


The Midpoint

Temporary Triumph

This is a moment where the character appears to get what they want, but they realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They begin to have second thoughts about whether they really wanted that thing in the first place.

False Failure

This seems like a rock bottom moment where it seems like things can’t possibly get any worse for the protagonist… until they do get worse.

Is there a scene where the protagonist experiences a moment of self-reflection?

The self-reflection for Lou is when she witnesses the burning of Estelle, an actress at the Soleil et Lune. 

I do not think Reid has one in this book.

What happens in that mirror moment and how close is it to the center?

Lou accepted an invitation, by Reid, to see a performance of La Vie Éphémère at the Soleil et Lune. During the performance, Lou recognizes one actress, Estelle, the same one who rescued her from the encounter with Reid the first time they met. Estelle was part of her coven. Once the performance was over, Lou tries to usher Reid into leaving, but Estelle goes after her as she recognized her.  Estelle uses magic on Reid and later put unconscious, leading to her capture as a witch. 

The next day, at Estelle’s burning, consumed by guilt after Estelle silently called her a witch killer, Lou uses her magic to take away Estelle’s burning pain and inflicting it on herself instead, causing Estelle to drift peacefully to the afterlife. 

Lou cries in pain, convulsing, and eventually passes out. When she wakes up, three days have passed. She continues to feel bad, a traitor to herself, and her people. She had what Coco described as a Soul Ache.

I would say the incident leading up to the soul ache takes place about 20 or 30 pages before. I would say it is close to where it must be.


Theme & Thematic Elements

Theme

Could you sum up a book you have selected in a single sentence? If so, this is your theme.

The theme of this novel would be: Not everything or everyone is as it seems.  

What evidence can you draw from the text that helps support this? What details clued you in to this being the theme?

Everyone seems to hide something. Or What we perceive is not always correct or the only way to look at the world. Lou is hiding who she is from the world and only Coco (that she knows. Later it was revealed Madame Labelle knew of Coco’s and Lou’s secret.) The Archbishop had a child with Morgane Le Blanc and was later revealed he was Lou’s father. He only wanted Reid to marry Lou for her safety when he found her, and the theatre disturbance gave him a reason. 

Later in the novel we found out Reid is Madame Labelle and Auguste Lyon’s son. Coco hides in the Chasseur Tower as the replacement healer, Brie Perrot, at the Tower’s infirmary. We learn at the end of the book Coco’s aunt is the La Voisin. 

Thematic elements

What imagery or detail does the author use to underscore that theme? How does the author use these thematic elements to emphasize or illustrate the theme?

I think it would be how the witches’ powers are used. There are many types of witches the Chasseurs do not know; therefore, they use their powers differently.  Also, I believe the belief only women are witches.  

Coco is a Dame Rouge. 

A Dame Rouge, also known as a Red Lady or a Blood Witch, is a witch that gets her magic from within, from blood. Blood is an immensely powerful ingredient in most of their enchantments, it does not bound them to any laws or rules. Their magic does not demand balance. Blood magic can be wild and unpredictable.

Dame Rouge have webs of scars marring their arms and wrists, from cuts inflicted on themselves.

Lou is a Dame Blanche.

A Dame Blanche, also known as White Lady, is a witch that channels her magic through the land. The magic of Dames Blanches is strictly bound to the rule of “Nature demands balance”. An eye for an eye, a life for a life and a love for a love. When they perform magic they see, sense, and manipulate unique patterns of golden cords within their minds. One witch cannot see another’s patterns.

How does the author use these thematic elements to emphasize or illustrate the theme?

At the end of the novel, when Reid uses his magic, Madame Labelle finds it interesting as this was unheard of and only women should have magic. This get’s her to thinking that maybe they have been told wrong and other men could have magic. When Lou, Coco, and Bastien go to steal the ring, Lou uses her magic for the first time in two years. She explains the golden ropes in a pattern leading to several ways. This also happens when she practices her magic in the Chasseur Tower with Coco.

We see Coco using her magic before and after the robbery. She uses her magic when Reid is looking for Lou after Lou’s coven kidnapped her. We also see Coco use her magic after they rescued Lou and Madame Labelle from their coven. 


The Ending

What happens at the end?

When Lou and her mother arrive at the Chateau, Lou is greeted by several witches and brought into her room to be prepared and her wounds treated. She is cared for by Manon, an old childhood friend of hers. Though initially angered by Manon, she learns that Manon lost her eleven-year-old sister to the Chasseurs a year before and promises not to run away again. Over the course of the next two days, they treat all of her wounds and marks, making her looking polished. But from her journey, Lou is weakened, not even able to walk on her own when Morgane requests her. 

When Lou arrives, her father is there, bound and gagged. Learning that he searched for her, he was picked up by Morgane. While her mother already plans on killing him, Lou finds no joy in the thought. Instead, she learns from Morgane that Reid has the King’s blood in his veins and will die, too, when she dies as a sacrifice.

On Modraniht, she is under a spell from Morgane, unconsciously suspended in midair, being shown as the sacrifice. Shortly before her sacrifice shall take place, Morgane pulls her back to consciousness – right at the time where she supposedly kills Madame Labelle. This causes Reid to step in, throwing away the disguise he gained to save Lou. But Morgane dispatches Reid and Ansel and Beau, who also came to her rescue. When Morgane is about to slash Lou’s throat, she tells Reid once again that she loves him and that she will remember him. At the last moment, Coco breaks through the masses of witches attacking Morgane. 

In the ensuing chaos, Reid takes Morgane hostage, only to be stopped by Manon, who has the captured Archbishop. Lou pleads at Manon for not killing him, but Manon doesn’t listen to her. In a moment of carelessness, Morgane frees herself and lashed Lou’s throat. Reid, following the nature of magic, kills the Archbishop for Lou’s life. Before Morgane can attack him again, the Chasseurs under Jean Luc arrives.

In the commotion between witches and Chasseurs, Lou, Beau, Ansel and Coco flee into a temple. Reid follows with his mother’s body, only to find that she is still breathing. Together they flee to a camp outside of the Chateau. Lou is still sleeping during their escape, but wakes soon enough, only to learn that Reid has magic. They are left alone by the rest of the group to sort through all of it, and both Lou and Reid again confess their love for each other. When they are reunited with their group, they go with Coco to her aunt, the witch La Voisin, as even Morgane cannot interfere in her territory.

What scene represents the climax?

On Modraniht, she is under a spell from Morgane, unconsciously suspended in midair, being shown as the sacrifice. Shortly before her sacrifice shall take place, Morgane pulls her back to consciousness – right at the time where she supposedly kills Madame Labelle. This causes Reid to step in, throwing away the disguise he gained to save Lou. But Morgane dispatches Reid and Ansel and Beau, who also came to her rescue. When Morgane is about to slash Lou’s throat, she tells Reid once again that she loves him and that she will remember him. At the last moment, Coco breaks through the masses of witches attacking Morgane. 

In the ensuing chaos, Reid takes Morgane hostage, only to be stopped by Manon, who has the captured Archbishop. Lou pleads at Manon for not killing him, but Manon doesn’t listen to her. In a moment of carelessness, Morgane frees herself and lashed Lou’s throat. Reid, following the nature of magic, then kills the Archbishop for Lou’s life. Before Morgane can attack him again, the Chasseurs under Jean Luc arrives.

What is the outcome of the story?

Lou survives and is on the run again, but this time she is not alone. Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from the Chasseurs and Morgane Le Blanc and coven. They are heading to where Coco’s coven is and guarantees their safety as her aunt is the La Voisin, and Morgane cannot interfere in her territory.

In other words, does the character get what they want and do they still want it?

This one is hard. Lou gets a happy ending by staying alive and knowing Reid still loves her even though she is a witch which is something he grew up despising. 

Reid is the change of heart and happy ending. He rescues and saves Lou and his mother. He finds out who his parents are, Lou still loves him, and he still loves Lou even though they brainwashed him to believe all witches are evil and needs to be burned. His mind about all witches changes and even he finds out he is one. 


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