Title: 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.
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.
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.
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
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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