The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Book Review)


Publisher: Crown Publishing
Page Count
: 370

I bought The Serpent King because I saw many (really, oh so many) good reviews for it, but I didn’t actually have a clue what it was about. The only thing I did know was that even though it has a title that 100% screams Fantasy at me, it’s a YA contemporary and apparently a brilliant one at that. Well, after reading it, I certainly cannot disagree!

I did not fall in love with this book headfirst. Set in a religious small town in the deep South of the US, you are immediately confronted with the sad reality of Dill, Travis’ and Lydia’s life. They are passionate, funny but also different, which makes them instant outsiders in their world. The whole thing was laced with this kind of inherent sadness that I just wasn’t prepared for. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading the book, but I didn’t love it, yet slowly and gradually it won me over.

Dill, Travis and Lydia are such strong characters and this book will push you down to the ground until you sob about their fate and then be the helping hand that guides you up again and shows you the better side of things. Whenever there was a truly happy instance, it got crushed immediately or vice versa. It didn’t feel like made up drama though, they may not have been conventional circumstances for all of us, but they definitely felt honest, raw and real.


The beauty of it all was that you could easily find a piece of yourself in each of the characters. I designated Lydia to be my personal kindred spirit. She’s a blogger too (even though she talks about fashion which I know virtually nothing about – that’s really only semantics) and she is so confident and quick and smart, she is the kind of person I wish I had been in high school. Travis is this incredibly sweet and darling guy, who is completely lost in the fictional world of his favourite books and seriously, who cannot relate to that? And Dill … Dill feels stuck and as if everyone is leaving him behind after graduation. They all have their hardships to face, even though I think the guys have it much more difficult than Lydia, who at least has the most amazing, present and caring parents (which is ever so rare in YA these days).

I feel like there is so much to say about this book, but I simply don’t know how to express it! A couple of unexpected things happen, especially one big twist. It felt so very twisted in the faith department and it showed so much injustice. That’s a thing I can never handle very well, because it’s so unfair and all you can do is just watch … This book definitely crushed my feelings, but it also gave me so much hope and inspiration. I will gladly pick up the next book by Zentner.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Broke my heart into a million pieces and then mended it again.


Do you feel like picking up this heartbreaker? Have you read it already? Tell me all about it!

15 thoughts on “The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Book Review)

  1. So, yes. I read that. I ran to Goodreads right away and added it to my TBR. I watched the price of it on Amazon. I watched the price of it on ebook. And my brain is screaming STOP IT YOU ARE BROKE. But I want to read it now. (and it’s cheap and WHY) (I am serious about all of this. I might be a bit crazy as well?!)
    It sounds so, so good and to be honest I heard a lot of things about it, but I had NO idea it was so heartbreaking, and that the characters could be so relatable. I feel like I could love everyone. I’m not sure how I would handle the ending though…. I am still reminded of you telling me you burst out crying like that, suddenly. I will probably cry a river. Seriously. I need to read it. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has a very redeeming ending! The ending isn’t what’s so sad – the ending is freeing, but everything in between – ALL THE FEELS!
      It has quite a lot of crazy religion in it, which I was a bit freaked out by and honestly not prepared for, but other than that, it was such an amazing book. I didn’t expect to fall for it as much as I did. Don’t rush buying it, it won’t go anywhere though and I am sure you have enough to read for now. But I am really happy to hear that you will read it one day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought this was a fantasy at first haha. 😛 The only reason reason I bought this book was because of the blogger love as well and I was told it packs plenty of punches. I can definitely see myself getting along with Lydia.

    Liked by 1 person

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