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March 09, 2016

Review and Interview: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King

Author: Jeff Zentner
Published On: 3/8/16
Page Count: 384
I received this ARC for free in return for my honest opinion

Synopsis: (Found 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.



Overall Rating: 5/5
I cant really wrap my head around the fact this is Jeff`s first book. It’s a monster of a read but worth every page and tissue. The friendship in this book is one I wish I had in high school. It really hit me hard with how alone each of them felt even though they were standing right next to each other. Although this trios story is over I cant wait to read what else Jeff has in store.
Cover: 5/5
Here is the cover:

Here is Jeff`s tattoo (he stands by his words)
Here is me braving a snake for this photo:
Cover from Goodreads, Tattoo from Jeff Zentner, Snake Photo by Me
Its subtle yet impactful seeing as the name Serpent King is super relevant as is the actual presence of real snakes and metaphorical ones.


Characters:
Lydia: First off Lydia is a blogger so she instantly gets some bonus points from me. She loves thrifty fashion and just telling the world about it. What I didn’t like about Lydia was her hiding who she really was with the world. She learns to own who and what she can be but it takes a lot of shitty events to make that happen.

Travis:  The nerd in me is in love with Travis. He is so awkward and full of references that you wont get unless you’ve been in the gaming world for a little bit. He tries so hard to impress his father but he always seems to fail. I was rooting for him the whole time and never once gave up hope. Travis was the character we are able to see so much development with. He is so fleshed out and just an open book that you cant help but love him.

Dill: I saved Dill for last just because he was the character I related least to. He grows and matures in a way that you would never want a teenager to have to. He is so insightful and seems to say the right things at the right time. His relationship with music is just inspiring and soulful. All I wanted to do was hear him play while reading.

Plot:
This story is about faith but not just the religious type of faith. Faith in a future, for friendship, for survival. Dill has to accept and move on with what his father did. Lydia has to decide if she want s to go big and leave her “real” life behind, Then there is Travis, he just wants to keep his head down and stay off his dad`s bad side. Nearing the time of college departure and what the future holds for this crazy trio The Serpent King weaves a tale of finding each other in the darkest times and learning how to stay strong when all you want to do is crumble.
Goodies:

What the best thing about being a writer? The worst? 
The best thing about being a writer is getting to work with words. I love words. I love the way they sound, I love the things they can invoke. I also love creating worlds and people. You truly come to know and love the imaginary people you create. And it’s tremendously satisfying to be able to hold a volume of words you’ve put together to create some new world you’ve peopled. 
The worst thing is the periodic reminders that all art is highly subjective, and worlds you’ve created that mean so much to you may not mean a thing to someone else.

Any male authors we should be on the lookout for 2016? 
Absolutely. You should be on the lookout for Jeff Garvin’s Symptoms of Being Human, Brooks Benjamin’s My Seventh Grade Life in Tights, Kurt Dinan’s Don’t Get Caught. And of course you should be on the lookout for John Corey Whaley’s, David Arnold’s, Adam Silvera’s, Dan Gemeinhart’s, and Lance Rubin’s 2016 releases.

Your cover is absolutely gorgeous did you get any say in its creation? 
Thanks! I got a little say. My editor graciously permitted me to send her covers that I loved, which she shared with the design team. Ultimately, it was not my choice, but I’m even happier with my cover than if it had been completely my choice.

Outside your book who would you ship your MC with? 
I think that girl with the star neck tattoo who was on like two episodes of Friday Night Lights and got together with Jason Street. She seemed awesome.

Who or what inspired you to write? 
I volunteer at Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. These are summer camps where teenagers come to learn music. Getting to interact with these kids, I was so impressed by the way they clung to the art they loved and allowed it to save them. It made me want to create for them. The music I was making at the time wasn’t very teen-friendly, so I had to find something else. Hence, the writing for young adults.

I have to ask do you have a desire to play with snakes? Or have you? 
Not especially? I’m not afraid of snakes and I kinda like the way they feel in your hands (which answers the question of whether I’ve ever played with snakes). But it’s not something I sit around, thinking “Man, wish I had a good snake right about now.” ;)
  
Do you relate to Dill at all? 
A great deal. He has to come to terms with his faith and find a comfortable place for himself within it, which is something I’ve had to do. He’s found salvation in music, which is something I’ve found. He sees the beauty of the world in small and broken things, which I do. Dill isn’t me, but there’s a lot of us in each other.


 Hope you enjoyed my review and interview with the fantastic Jeff

TTFN,
Ashley

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