I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I had no idea what to expect from this book. The title was intriguing but gives nothing away. Mostly, I took the chance because it was blurbed by Stephanie Perkins, and after reading her beautiful books, I could trust her opinion. But, this book gave me more than I could ever have expected and totally blew me away by the end.
P L O T
The Serpent King is about three teenagers living in a small town in Tennessee. Dill, the musician, feels tied to his family after his preacher father is put in prison. Lydia is internet famous with her fashion blog, and wants nothing more to escape to NYC. Travis, my personal favourite, has a horribly abusive father and retreats into the fantasy world of the Bloodfall series (like a Game of Thrones parallel.) In essence, The Serpent King is about these three characters and how their lives unravel before Lydia goes off to college.
The book’s paced incredibly well. I kept thinking that so much had already happened, I didn’t know what was going to occur in the next 25%. I think it’s better for a book to give you too much rather than too little, but The Serpent King definitely hit the balance right.
C H A R A C T E R S
Dill is an extremely interesting character because of his lineage. The grandfather and father both went a little insane, and because he shares their name, and the reputation that comes with it, Dill’s frightened he’s going to turn out exactly like them. His family is very Christian, and I felt that Dill did well to battle and justify his own views on the subject. His character arc is the most obvious and I definitely enjoyed its trajectory.
Lydia was my least favourite of the group. She was the intelligent and witty one, with her speech style giving me John Green vibes, but could come off as quite snobbish. She was important on the internet, and that sense of importance carried over into reality. Her family had a lot of money, making it possible to achieve her dreams, so in comparison to Travis and Dill, she didn’t have as much to work for. I really liked the use of internet fame, it’s something that came up in We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, and I think it adds authenticity to a YA book, because teens really can get 100,000 followers.
Instead of loving Lydia, I loved her father, Dr. Blankenship. THIS MAN was THE BEST. He was always there to take Lydia off her pedestal and give a really eye-opening perspective on the lives of Dill and Travis. It didn’t matter that they weren’t his sons, it was like they almost were. Any scene he was in was just better. He’s the nicest parent I’ve ever read about in a YA and he had such purpose: giving guidance and reassurance to struggling teenagers.
Travis was my fave, as mentioned. I don’t know what it was about him, but he was so lovely. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He didn’t deserve the horrible home life he had, but his sweet nature was admirable in that situation. His love of the Bloodfall series was really relatable, and the things he got from the series were great, too, oh gosh, I just wanted to tear up with joy every time he was mentioned. But, books can’t be all sunshine and daisies.
The characters had struggles and problems to overcome. There were some real highlights, when they’d all hang out together and be honest about what they wanted their futures to be. I found myself highlighted quotes that struck a chord, something I’ve never done before. I would read things out to Bee, because I was desperate for someone else to share the beauty.
V E R D I C T
I can’t give much away about this one, because it’s better if you go in wondering what’s going to happen next, but I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the book. The more I read, the higher the star rating I wanted to give. I haven’t had such an intense emotion reaction to a book since forever. Literally, my eyes were just leaking, at the sad and happy moments.
This is a five star book, so when it comes out in March, everyone get your hands on it. I guarantee it will get a spot on your favourites shelf.