Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Title: The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 8, 2016

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.

Well, if you were expecting or wanting a light fluffy contemporary, this is not the book for you.  This book is dark.  Very dark.

I admit, I didn't really know what this book was about when I picked it up.  And had I known how much about religion there would be, I probably wouldn't have to begin with.  Yet I'm still glad I read it, because this was far different from anything else.

I know what you're say: But Christina, you don't read religious books.  And that is indeed true.  I don't.  But this book isn't about religion.  It happens to have religion as part of the plot, but it's not a "religious" book.  Never throughout the entire book did I feel like I was being preached to or being told what to believe.  This book is much more about growing up.

As soon as I started reading The Serpent King, I felt wrapped up in the three characters' lives.  There was a disconnect between the three, and yet you could tell they loved each other.  Of course I had my favorite (Travis).  His weirdness so coincided with my own weirdness from high school.  So I really loved him.  About 20% in, I got bored.  But that didn't last terribly long.

Bad things happened.  Things I didn't expect.  And I cried.  At least four times.  I was an emotional wreck by the time I finished reading.

This book was enjoyable.  Extra points for making me cry.  If you're into something dark, give it a shot.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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