3 Different Ratings for Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

 "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. For as long as we both shall live."

Disclaimer: This review below will contain spoilers for Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, so please remember if you haven't read the first book yet, I advise you to click this link here instead.

Following where we left off in the first installment, Blood & Honey starts with the runaway Lou and her little allies: Reid, Madame Labelle, Coco, Beau, and Ansel, in a hideout far away from the entire coven and kingdom. Seeking a way to outsmart Morgane in her lethal game, the gangs are forced to form dangerous allies in which loyalty is not guaranteed. In addition to the uncanny packs, Lou seems to get more absorbed into the shadowy side of magic where a part of herself slowly turns hazy and unfamiliar the more she uses her power.

Perseverance, along with my strong belief that it would get much better at some point, proved to be very important in my experience reading Blood & Honey. Divided into three main parts, I found it a little difficult to evaluate this book as a whole, so let me sum up my feeling into three different conclusions and three separate ratings as you can see below:

1. This book started out slow and... long. I was honestly expecting more background info to refresh our memory of Serpent & Dove considering some of us had read it quite a long time ago, but none came through (not precisely meI had only read it in Septemberbut even I had to search some names mentioned on Fandom Wiki to remember who's who). Frankly, some scenes felt as important as they did unnecessary; some dragged on way too long; and some simply bored me. Needless to say, the first part of this book was my least favorite, and I even considered marking it with only three stars or lower. I ended up giving this part 3.5 stars merely for the complex world-building and Mahurin's beautiful writing style.

2. Thankfully, the second part got so much better. It explored the elaborate relationship between the characters, and I was all for the progression and the twists. If you like to see how different characters react to different pressures, this book would be something you need to consider. Even though we barely witnessed the adorable romance between Reid and Lou in this part, their character development successfully made up for it. I adored the duo even more here hence my decition to give it a 4.2 stars rating.

3. The feeling the third part left me was exactly what I had originally signed up for ever since it was announced that Blood & Honey would come out this year. Yes, it’s really good. The main conflict gripped me with its thrill while the ending broke me into a million unexpected anticipations for the third book. How big my love was for these precious characters: Lou, Reid, Coco, Ansel. A 5 stars rating was given for this last part which unluckily was also the shortest.

In my opinion, Blood & Honey might not be as charming as Serpent & Dove, but it was still an enthralling sequel for me. It might be an unpopular opinion for all I know, but I'm glad that I chose to pick it up despite the mixed reviews on Goodreads. For a more satisfying reading experience though, I suggest that you flick through Serpent & Dove a little bit and get your lovely memory of it refreshed before diving into the sequel.

Actual rating: 4.2★ (it's the average)