The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Page Count: 384
“I read somewhere that a lot of the stars we see don’t exist anymore. They’ve already died and it’s taken millions of years for their light to reach Earth,” Dill said. “That wouldn’t be a bad way to die,” Lydia said. “Giving off light for millions of years after you’re gone.”
The Serpent King is one of those books that just came out of nowhere. I had heard nothing about it prior to its release, but the second it came out, everyone started talking about it. Whether it was fellow book blogger friends or other authors, I kept seeing The Serpent King everywhere I turned. After reading it, I can totally understand why.
He thought the most alive he could feel was in the moment after he’d done something incredibly brave. Turned out, he also felt pretty damn alive in the moment just before.
The Serpent King is a beautiful coming of age story told from the point of view of three high school seniors. Dill is quiet and moody and has to deal with the troubling past of his family name. Lydia is the founder of a popular fashion blog, although the fame brought on by it does not help her whatsoever when it comes to the high school food chain. Travis is a gentle giant. Coming from a troubled home, he is quiet and keeps to himself by constantly reading his favourite epic book series.
He had his normal faraway affect and distinct air of melancholy.
I am so happy that I went into The Serpent King without knowing too much about it. It was quick and super fast paced and I had a lot of trouble putting it down. I can’t remember the last time I breezed through a book this quickly. I was in a bit of a reading slump before I started reading The Serpent King and I would say that this novel helped me break out of that slump.
The characters were all very relatable and they all felt very real. Of course, there were flaws with these characters and their personalities. Dill was easy to take things too personally. He was very sensitive that way, which begins to make more and more sense as the story carries on. Lydia was very controlling. She is definitely one of those people that needs to have things go her way. She did have everyone’s best interest at heart though and only wanted her friends to be happy. Although these characters weren’t perfect, it was characteristics like these that made them feel more realistic and relatable.
“I’ve made books my life because they let me escape this world of cruelty and savagery.”
There were moments within the novel that felt a little bit repetitive, specifically in terms of Dill and his insecurities. It felt as though he and Lydia had the same conversation a few times with no real change to the dialogue. I noticed this happening until the moments when Dill slowly starts to come out of his shell. Other than this little minor hiccup, I absolutely loved Jeff Zentners writing style and the overall pace of The Serpent King.
This story is heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. It is a fantastic coming of age story and a beautiful addition to the contemporary YA scene. As a debut novel I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with Zentner and his writing and I’m eager to read more from him in the future.
And if you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave and beautiful things.