Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Serpent King - Jeff Zentner

Title - The Serpent King
Author - Jeff Zentner
Genre - Young Adult
Pages - 384

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.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill's only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core.


I came across this book on Instagram and happened to find the author - Jeff Zentner's profile. That's when I learnt that this book is his debut novel, first published in March 2016 and that his second book - Goodbye Days got published on March 7 this year. 

A light story was what I wanted because I felt under the weather and needed fictional company while recovering all by myself at home. So I picked up the ebook and jumped right into it expecting it to be some kind of fantasy novel, my guess based purely on the title. But it wasn't. 

I didn't read a single review and hence my thoughts are unreservedly uninfluenced. Jeff Zentner writes well. Very well. And though the story bored me in the beginning, I just couldn't put it down later. It touched so many topics, harsh and sensitive circumstances that are realities of so many people out there. 

I particularly enjoyed Lydia's character. Given the conditions she is born to, she could have been a complete and utter snob. But she isn't. And the things she does for her friends, who obviously as portrayed by Jeff mean the world to her, are heart-warming. In today's day and time, where greed has taken over humanity, it is a blessing to have even one (true) friend. The fact that she didn't base her love on the materialistic aspects or the present conditions Dill lives in made Lydia's character all the more lovable. Travis's character was equally endearing. I could relate to his need to live in the fictional world of the Bloodfall series. It was his only escape, his way to get through each day alive.

I do not want to reveal much about the story. I highly recommend this one, it might not work your tear glands but it will make you aware of how privileged you are and compel you to count your blessings.

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