The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Published by Tundra Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.
He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.
Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living. - via GoodReads
I received The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner in one of my OwlCrate boxes. I immediately thought that I wasn’t going to like it. I totally judge by the cover and I had no interest in this one. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to learn my lesson because The Serpent King is going to be a book that sticks with me for a long time.
The Serpent King covers a lot of ground. There’s a little bit of everything in here for everybody: how people compartmentalize you from a young age, poverty, self doubt, life changes for the good and the bad, abuse, escapism, and death. Yeah. Like I said pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. I didn’t really put much stock into the book being this deep until it broke my damn heart.
I think out of the three I identified most with Travis. I’m sure there a lot of us bookworms who can say that we’ve used fiction to escape our reality and that sometimes it even caused a bit of an obsession. I know that I never obsessed about my fictional favorites like Travis did but I can tell you that I’ve often had full blown fantasies about what it would be like to actually live in a world found on the pages. So yeah, I totally identified with Travis.
The Serpent King is told from three different perspectives: Lydia, Dill, and Travis. I’ve seen this story telling technique go really well and I’ve seen it go really bad. Zentner does it beautifully. I was able to get to know all three characters through the other two. And the other two characters managed to have differing thoughts about the same person! *gasp* I know.
Dill had so much character growth over the course of the story and I wish I could hug him in real life. (Of course this isn’t helping my earlier statement re: obsession……) Of course watching Lydia, Dill, and Travis define themselves and discover who they wanted to be within their world was so great. I loved it.
If not for OwlCrate, I wouldn’t have picked up this book. I know that this book isn’t going to be for everyone but I ask that you give it a shot. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did.