Book Review #3: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House
Date Published: 8 March 2016
Buy it on Amazon | View it on Goodreads

“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.”

I don’t actually like contemporary novels but this book is definitely an exception. I picked up this book because I thought – oh another fiction young adult novel! But I was wrong (and I’m glad). This book is dark and happy and has a heart.

The story revolves around the story of three teenagers who are so lost in life. They are trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and who would they be in the future.

Dill Early is a musician at heart but ever since his father went to jail, he stopped all the fun things he’s doing. His family are in debt because of her mother’s accident. He works part-time at a store and earns a teeny bit money to help out his mother pay their debts.

Lydia is a fashion blogger. She has her whole life in front of her. A daughter of a respectable dentist, she gets everything she actually wants- except that she’s stuck in this little town called Forrestville- where opportunities don’t just come knocking on someone’s door.

Travis loves books. He breathes words and he loves the Bloodfall series. He has a drunkard father and a loving mother. His older brother died in the navy and he’s always compared to his older brother.

This book tackles about friendship, depression, culture, religion almost every sensitive topic in real life. It questions one’s faith in God, family, and friends. It contains emotions that you can actually relate to – specially if you’re in that predicament where you don’t know what you want to do in life.

I absolutely love this. It’s a dark story but a light read. I read this for about 4 hours and during those hours, I laughed and cried and both at the same time. This tragic book makes you want to leave a mark in this world. It makes you think a lot of things in your life. It makes you want to just stare at the stars and think about life. The book made me feel that way.

Discover how they surpass their fears and encourage one another. The sarcastic lines between Dill, Travis and Lydia is just funny as hell.

This book made me realize that it’s better to regret something you’ve done than something you’re not able to do. Life is a matter of choices, pathways, and decisions. If you didn’t make the right decision the first time, then it’s okay, you can do it the second time around.

This also focuses depression. The feeling of someone depressed were conveyed in the book perfectly. It felt like raw emotions and you actually get into the character’s head and how they feel and and how they want to do.

The character development is also amazing. These teenagers transformed into someone that they couldn’t believe.

I have nothing bad to say against this book. This is absolute perfection. The writing style and how the author manifested the character’s emotions are just on point. I couldn’t put this book down.

This book deserves a 5 out of 5 stars (★★★★★).

If you’re still not reading this book, then you’re missing out on a big story.

About the Author


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.


  1. fromlibrarywithlove says:

    I am on the waitlist at the library for this book, can’t wait to pick it up! Great review, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I love contemporary, so we may not read a ton of books in common, but I read quite a bit of fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian as well. Pretty much anything YA fiction.

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