[Review] The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Title: The Serpent King
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publication: March 8th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: e-ARC

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.

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My thoughts:

I received this e-ARC from Jeff Zentner himself in exchange for an honest review.

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Okay, I thought this book was going to be something fantasy-like because of the title, but I was very, very wrong. It’s an amazing book, I tell you and you should put this on your radar/TBR because it will come out next year March 8th 2016.

There are a lot of contemporary books that I like but this one I really love. There is something unique in this book that will make you love the characters, and really, really hate the antagonists. I rarely get these feelings that every time this antagonist appears, I just want to rip off their throat and kill them instantly. Most writers fail to create villains that are annoying and irritating.

“And then you hate yourself for being a coward and not saying what you really think. You hate yourself for not being good at sports like your dead brother. You hate yourself for not being as brave as the people you love to read about. And you just want to be somewhere where no one makes you feel that way.”

This story revolves around three friends who have their own miserable problems. I seriously don’t know how to give a gist of this book because you honestly need to read this to be enlightened with its words. It is just pure fantastic and deserves to be read all over the world. I have no doubt this book will be popular.

What I like about this book is that it is easy to read and it’s very easy to relate to the characters. For a contemporary book, this is way different from the usual ones because there’s really few romantic scenes, but the author focused on the intimacy between these three friends.

My most favorite character would be Travis because he is just a simple guy who is a big fan of Bloodfall, a fantasy series in this book, and who also wants to be a writer. What makes him my favorite is not only those, but he’s just like me. He likes making two friends get back together which I sometimes do. (lol)

“And if you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”

I tell you, this book is so good; you don’t want to live the lives of these characters except Lydia’s because her life is just average which is probably fine. Dill suffers from being marginalized every day because of the work his grandfather did by killing all the serpents, avenging his wife’s death (therefore the title of this book). This is widely known to his town and now, people think that Dill is a offspring of evil. Also, Travis suffers from child abuse because of his father’s drunkenness.

I also love how REAL this book is. It contains real-life situations. Child abuse. Bullying. These are evident in the main characters’ lives. Also, I love how the author incorporated his passion for music in this book. He is a guitarist and Dill is a musician too. I really love when authors put a piece of their life to the book, making the book one of their most treasured creations.

I will tell this again, you should read this book because it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I never expected to like this book, and this is a book for everyone. This is also a tearjerker, so don’t forget to bring your tissues and wipe all those ugly tears that will come (soon). I have no words for this book, just read it.

5 swords5 swords for a pure tearjerker!

About the author:

jeff zentner

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

Do you like tear-jerking books? Comment below and let’s talk about it!




13 thoughts on “[Review] The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

  1. Nice to see a new book review from you. And I am going to have to add this book on my ports to plunder list. Great review. Thanks for liking so many of my own blog posts. Glad to have you as a reader.
    x The Captain


  2. For me, the antagonism of certain characters was a narrative thread that I actually didn’t “hate” them for as, for me, I attributed it to more of an internal moral struggle. Of course, that’s just how I read it; as a proxy of sorts you could say. I found the tone to be the best part of this story for me. I’d expound on that but I’m still writing my review at the moment haha. But good to see you really enjoyed it.

    Also make note: you mention this book being released ‘next year’ — which I’m guessing is when you wrote the review. It’s next week!


    1. OH GOD, I WROTE THIS REVIEW LAST YEAR. I MUST CHANGE IT LATER WHEN I GET HOME. THIS IS EMBARRASSING, oh well. I’m glad that you still like some aspects of this book. And I’m excited to read your review. Can’t wait to hear your complete thoughts about it.


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