A Love That Will Burn For Eternity
Lou has spent her whole life running. Now, after a crushing blow from Morgane, the time has come to claim what is rightfully hers.
But this is no longer the Lou her friends know. No longer the Lou who captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.
While Lou battles her demons, and witches, Chasseurs, and the spirits of the land themselves rally for a final fight, Reid is faced with a terrible choice: a devastating sacrifice or the death of everyone he has come to hold dear.
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.
Warning: this review is spoiler free but expect to see spoilers from Blood and Honey and Serpent and Dove.
This review is probably the hardest I’ve written this year. Let’s just say that I have a lot of complicated feelings about this book. It’s no secret that I went into Gods and Monsters with zero expectations but here’s the thing, Gods and Monsters was not what I was looking for in a series finale. Specifically THIS series finale.
After a some-what mediocre filler book, Gods and Monsters should have elevated the narrative and solidified this series with an epic, edge-of-your-seat conclusion. Instead, I was left to trudge through another 600+ page book of fodder and allies, waiting for the final battle to hurry up and start.
Picking up some time after Blood and Honey, Lou is possessed, Ansel’s dead, hellfire rages below the city of Cesarine and their newly acquired allies are either hiding or captured by Morgane. Let’s just say, the situation is looking pretty darn bleak.
But Gods and Monsters felt eerily similar to Blood and Honey. Besides exorcising Lou, much of the plot revolves about gathering allies. And don’t even get me started on that mid-point plot twist! I mean, Shelby are you
freaking SERIOUS? I wanted to throw my book across the room and I definitely needed to take a break before I was calm enough to even consider continuing.
Now before I give you the wrong idea, Gods and Monsters isn’t exactly a bad book. I still absolutely ADORE these characters – their lively dynamic and hysterical banter kept those pages turning. I also shed more than a tear or two throughout their last, desperate quest. The problem is, there were just so many unnecessary plot points and I just stopped caring somewhere around half-way through. I think this series would have been MUCH stronger as a duology because honestly, Shelby could have cut a LOT from the last two books and still ended up at the same spot.
I mean, what is it with YA fantasy being so overly drawn out? It should be less about profit and more about producing tightly plotted, high impact stories with meaning.
Which brings us to the biggest issue of all: Morgane.
As the series progressed, I kept waiting for the moment we’d learn more about Morgane. I mean, people aren’t born evil – they’re made. Morgane did some truly despicable things but we never really learn why. As an antagonist, she felt seriously undeveloped. Evil for evil’s sake. I wasn’t expecting a redemption arch, but I was expecting an intense final showdown with some devastating backstory. And Shelby left so many questions unanswered! Like, how did Morgane descend into darkness? What the actual heck happened between her and Claude???
Honestly, Josephine and Nicholina were better developed than Morgane and THAT’S the tea.
That said, what Gods and Monster’s gets right is its portrayal of complex, flawed women and female friendship. I mean, there’s a strong theme of women helping women and we love to see it! Watching Lou and Coco’s acceptance and nurturing of Célie was truly beautiful. Because let’s face it, Célie’s growth was one of the better subplots of this book.
What saved this book for me though, was the final confrontation. Now don’t worry – I’m not about to spoil the ending [that’s not how we roll] but it was shocking and gut-wrenching with some serious Hunchback vibes. It wasn’t necessarily the climax I anticipated but watching these threads weave together was so satisfying. Especially when some unexpected characters showed up to crash the party…
In the end, I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this series. Having binged the entire trilogy, I’ve realized that Serpent and Dove really was in a league all its own. And as disappointed as I am to see the later books decline, I still had a lot of fun. Yes, my initial ratings might have dropped but I’m going to miss these vulgar, complex characters. Especially Big Titty Liddy.
Also, a quick shout out to Octavia, my bookish bestie. Buddy reading this book honestly made all the difference [I’m not entirely sure I could have pushed through without her]. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for her review!