Book Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

the serpent kingTitle: The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

I received this book from Owlcrate, a YA themed book subscription box. For more information, please visit their website.

The Serpent King follows the lives of three teenagers in a small, rural high school in Tennessee over the course of their senior year. Dill, Travis, and Lydia are close friends with differing ideas of what is in store for their futures, partly due to their very different home lives.

Dill is the son of the preacher who is known for having his congregation handle poisonous snakes to test their faith. Unfortunately for Dill, his father is even more well-known for what landed him in prison, causing Dill to be trapped at home with his mother and his father’s debts.

Famous on the internet for her fashion sense, Lydia has a ticket out of this town. She has a family that loves her and connections that will take her far in life and away from the town and people that don’t fit in her blog’s aesthetic.

Travis doesn’t care what anyone thinks. While Lydia prepares for college and Dill avoids thinking about her leaving, Travis prepares himself for the next book in his favorite fantasy series, “Bloodfall” by dressing like the book’s characters and rereading the series.

As the three friends cope with the ending of high school and the beginning of what lies ahead, they learn much more about themselves and each other in the process.

 Premise: 4/5

While at first I thought the snakes were a little weird, I quickly became interested in the backstory of Dill and his family. It’s weird enough to make it different than other things that I have read. I was also a little leery at first about the novel following a group of outcast friends, simply because it’s not that original. However, I liked the way that the three diverse friends came together.

Plot Development: 5/5

The Serpent King is quickly paced from start to finish, but not overly so. The plots jumps between the three main characters and what is currently happening in their private lives as well as what’s going on with the entire group. The plot was developed evenly with next to no filler material. I was unable to put the book down.

Characterization: 5/5

Each of the main characters keep parts of their lives private from their friends. They each have their own struggles on top of the struggles of the group as a whole. The way they cope with these struggles changed over time as they matured. The characters were developed appropriately throughout the course of the novel.

Writing Style: 5/5

I highly enjoyed the writing style of this novel. It was one of the reasons I read it in one sitting. Time passed quickly while I was reading. Each of the characters had their own distinct voices reflected in the writing style.

Readability: 5/5

Like I said before, I read this book entirely in one sitting. It read extremely easily, even though some of the content wasn’t exactly easy to read about (don’t worry, I won’t spoil you!).

Total Score: 24/25, avg. 4.8/5

5 stars

The Serpent King is one of my favorite reads of 2016 and may even have topped the list. This book made me love my Owlcrate subscription even more because I hadn’t heard of this book before receiving it. I am sure glad I read it. It’s an obvious five stars from me!

I also read this book for the #sixsquaredchallenge hosted by bookstacksamber! – New Releases (Debut Authors)

Have you read The Serpent King? What did you think?


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Want to purchase a copy of The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.


Read-A-Thon Update: Hour 18 – January Owlcrate Unboxing!

Hello everyone! I’m having a very bookish weekend. I received my very first Owlcrate book box today! I am so excited to open this box and check out the loot.

If you have not yet received your January box and do not want to be spoiled, stop right here!


I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited for a box to arrive in the mail! I’ve watched about one hundred unboxing videos, but as I was holding this box on my lap, it was like I’d never seen one of these before. I can’t cut into it fast enough.

January’s Owlcrate theme is “Magic” and according to the sneak preview posted by Owlcrate, there will be a Funko Pop figure inside this box! Since the theme is magic, I’m betting it’ll be a character from Harry Potter. Maybe not…it could be any other magical character. Hmm…


Left: Oh my gosh, I don’t think I am prepared for what’s about to happen. If the card is this beautiful, I can’t even imagine what’s in store!

Right: Ron! Ron! Ron WEASLEY! He’s even got a bit of Spello-tape on his wand! He is going to make a fantastic addition to my bookshelf. I might even battle him with Voldemort. Muahaha!


Both: Ooh, this is a pretty bookmark. I haven’t yet read The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, but it’s in my plans for the very near future as part of the #SIXSQUAREDCHALLENGE. I really like the light side of this bookmark. It is gorgeous. I really like the artwork in general for this bookmark.


Left: Ooh, this is pretty! What is it? ….Throne of Glass! I really like the color scheme of this print and the choice of quote. This is definitely going to be on my wall. I’m not all that fond of the font, but only because I’ve seen this font (or a very similar one) EVERYWHERE, from blogs to videos to commercials on television to a brand of fruit juice. I still really like this print! The bookmark and this print are both from Evie Bookish.

Right: Chapstick! It’s called Patronus…oh my gosh it’s chocolate. That’s perfect. It does have mint in it, though, which will give me an asthma attack…but my sister will very much enjoy this lip balm. It’s from Geek Fire Labs.


Last, but certainly not least…

The BookWorlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley – This edition was released by HarperCollins Canada on January 5, 2016.

I know nothing about this novel. I see that it was very recently released, so it will qualify for the #SIXSQUAREDCHALLENGE to read 6 New Releases of 2016. Excellent! I wonder if this was on anyone’s most anticipated releases videos/blogs…I’ll have to check on that.

After reading the synopsis in the dust jacket, I am to understand that this is a historical fiction novel based on the Brontë sisters and their childhood writings, imaginations, and the worlds they created and in which they played. This sounds so interesting! The cover is beautiful and the finish on the dust jacket feels so great to touch. I hope to read this one sooner rather than later.

Overall thoughts: For my first Owlcrate, I am ecstatic! I picked a great time to gift myself a 3-month subscription. I bought this as a birthday present to myself…maybe in three months, my elementary school will hire me for a full time position (mine is until the end of the school year) and I can gift myself more months! I’m loving this service already.


Now, for the read-a-thon update portion of this post.

My brother showed up today to help my father move some things out of the attic. I rarely see him so I spent a lot of my time today catching up with him. Then, dad enlisted the two of us to help clean out the attic. Yuck. I’m also responsible for cooking dinner for the family this evening. I might need to make this a late night to catch up on reading.

Hour 18 Stats:

Books finishedShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Time read: 4:54

Currently readingRoom by Emma Donoghue


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