Blood & Honey Review: Middle Book Syndrome?

November 14, 2020 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

Blood & Honey Review: Middle Book Syndrome?Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent & Dove #2
Published by HarperTeen, Harper Collins AU on September 1, 2020
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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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.
The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

I absolutely loved the hate to love romance in Serpent & Dove last year, especially the memorable characters and the witchy atmosphere within it. Blood & Honey was one of my most anticipated reads this year, how does it stack up as a sequel?

Before diving into Blood & Honey, I read the official recap for the first book on the Epic Reads blog. This helped me familiarise myself with the world and its characters, as Blood & Honey picks up straight after Serpent & Dove left off. While diving in, I was immediately captivated by the world again, built around the conflict between the Dame Rouge witches and the Chasseur witchhunters. I loved seeing Lou and Reid together, particularly with how she teases him all the time and the fun and witty banter between them.

Plot is draggy

However it became a drag to read, as I felt like the plot lead nowhere, and I struggled to stay interested in the book. At over 500 pages, I felt like nothing of significance really happened, except at the very end the book. The pacing was all over the place, there are a lot of chase scenes, but there is a very fast build up towards the end of the book which left me feeling a bit dazed.

Characters feel off

The characters also felt really off, with Reid being distant, Lou kind of irritating and Coco in particular feeling really off as well. There’s an uncomfortable scene where Ansel crushes hard on Coco, and she ends up kissing him even though she doesn’t want to lead him on. Lou insists on spying on them, even though she knows it is wrong and it has nothing to do with her. I guess if this scene was written differently from Ansel & Coco’s point of view, it would’ve been okay, but it just felt voyeuristic and uncomfortable.

I had to pick up the audiobook which helped get me through, as the narration is excellent.

Blood & Honey definitely suffers from middle book syndrome, with a draggy pace and a plot that seems to be all over the place. I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as Serpent & Dove, however I’m looking forward to the finale in the series after this one suffered from middle book syndrome.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Thanks to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy!

Blood & Honey is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99 AUD or from The Book Depository.


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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3 responses to “Blood & Honey Review: Middle Book Syndrome?

  1. Bec

    Ooohhh nooo I was worried this might happen. I’ve been putting this off because I’ve been worried this would be a disappointment.

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