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 spirit animal. 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!