Ok first of all, apologies for my long absence. Between moving and starting my new job and working through my first race meet, I haven’t been blogging at all. My life has drastically changed in the last month and I absolutely love it, but more on all of that later. I finished The Serpent King before my work schedule went crazy and I haven’t had a chance to review it until now. Since it has been a little while since I read the book, I may be a little vague on detail but I think I can remember enough to give it a good review.
The Serpent King is a YA novel centered around three friends in their senior year of high school. It takes place in rural Tennessee and each of the main characters have drastically different home lives. Lydia is from a wealthy family with really supportive parents. She is very ambitious and stubborn. She writes a popular fashion blog and is looking forward to going to New York City for college. Travis is quiet and obsessed with a Game of Thrones-esque fictional book series. His parents are poor, his dad is an abusive alcoholic. Dill is creative and moody and is the son of a pentecostal minister that is serving jail time for child porn. His parents are blinded by their ‘faith’ to really take any interest in their son.
Zentner takes a very common rural American community and makes interesting stories from the characters there. I liked Lydia’s spunk and ambition. I also found her to be a bit elitist and unaware of the disadvantages that her peers had because they didn’t have wealthy, supportive parents. She does get called out on this in the book which I appreciated but I do feel more could have been done with that angle.
Travis was set up and executed at a martyr, which served a purpose in the story but I felt that he was under developed as a character. He was very passive and sweet but he faded to the background. His parents were the worst of the characters in my opinon and I hated them for their treatment of Travis but I still didn’t feel connected to him.
Dill is the main character of the three, and he does have the most interesting story. I really enjoyed the way that Zetner explored Dill’s faith. Though his parents are misguided in their faith, Dill still has his own and that was unexpected but very interesting. He was also moody, tempermental and petty at times. These qualities do not detract from the character’s overall likeability which is hard to do.
The overall plot wasn’t the strongest, it seemed to get a bit scattered at the end but the characters were engaging enough to keep the reader’s interest. I thought this was a great YA novel tackling a lot of difficult subjects with great finesse.