The Serpent King: ARC Review

Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers/Random House
Series: None
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
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.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for granting me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. 

The synopsis of this book is what initially made me want to read it. I'm slowly making my way into the Contemporary genre, and this was a great read for that. It wasn't perfect, but it was a wonderful debut that had me ugly crying at certain parts. Zentner's writing is so wonderfully descriptive that I felt at times like I could see what he was writing. I could feel the desperation of these three characters in their small town. 

My main problem with the book was Dill. His character was so dark and depressing, which I understood. His life sucked which was no fault of his. He was forced to live with his father's crimes which made making friends at school and around town hard. On top of that he and his mother struggled financially. It was hard reading about how poor he was because so many people live that reality. But even though he was living this crappy life, he was trying to get his friend to live that life also. Lydia has a way out, and Dill constantly resented her throughout the book for it. He would also throw her upbringing in her face like it was her fault that her family was well off and his wasn't. His behavior was not something you would think a friend would do. Honestly, each time I got to a Dill part in the book I would roll my eyes and not want to read it, because he would either be bashing Lydia or trying to convince her to live a miserable existence in their tiny town with him. Of course towards the end when Dill finally woke up, he got better, but there was still a sour taste in my mouth from his earlier behavior towards his friends. 

Lydia herself was a wonder. Some people have criticized her character because she acts like a pretentious snob because of her blog success and because of that she is embarrassed to be friends with Travis. I did not see that at all. She even mentions wanting to protect Dill's identity from her blog because of what happened with his father. But of course, Mr. Woe Is Me did not even think about that, he just assumed she was embarrassed. Lydia genuinely cared about Travis and Dill and each time she tried to help Dill, he would blow up in her face. I would have walked away from that friendship. He didn't deserve her. 

My favorite character though, was the soft spoken book nerd, Travis. He had the worst family life out of all three but his story kept being put on the back burner because of the whole Lydia/Dill relationship story. He honestly should have had way more scenes. Of course, I ugly cried during the one huge scene he had. It was gut wrenching. It honestly felt like I had been sucker punched. This brings me back to another complaint I had. After THAT scene, it felt like it was swept under the rug in favor of the Lydia/Dill story. I get it, they were trying to make sense of everything which is not easy to do. It just felt rushed. 

I will say again that Zentner really knows how to write some heart wrenching scenes. His imagery describing the desolate Tennessee town and the ignorant people who lived there brought the story to life. His characters felt real, and although I had issues with the book, it was still a great read. 

**This post contains affiliate links**

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow @ Instagram

Back to Top