Blog Tour and Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Posted 1 March, 2016 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Blog Tour, Review | 4 Comments

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Welcome to The Serpent King blog tour! This debut already has caught some pretty serious attention including a starred Kirkus review:

“Characters, incidents, dialogue, the poverty of the rural South, enduring friendship, a desperate clinging to strange faiths, fear of the unknown, and an awareness of the courage it takes to survive, let alone thrive, are among this fine novel’s strengths. Zentner writes with understanding and grace—a new voice to savor.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

as well as a current Goodreads rating of 4.58 (which, if you’re not familiar with GR, that’s a pretty hefty rating).

Blog Tour and Review: The Serpent King by Jeff ZentnerThe Serpent King Published by Random House Children's Books on March 8, 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 384
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. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

This is a story of friendship, of the power it holds to save, to help, to build people up. Dill is the son of a snake-handling preacher and he’s a little afraid that he’s going to wind up just like his father and grandfather, both of whom went a little around the bend. While, at times, the story was a little rough-going (I could tell it was written by a debut author), I could also tell that the author was a songwriter by the lyrical writing and way with words.

Set in a small Southern town, this story has a deeply religious core (you probably could tell that just from the snake-handling preacher’s son) and touches on both redemption and survival. But it’s not a preachy story. Much like religion in the Bible belt, it just is, like a hot summer afternoon.

My favorite character by far was Travis, who’s just one of the kindest, sweetest and genuine people you ever could care to meet (good lord, I even wrote that in a Southern accent). Together, the three friends — Lydia, Dill and Travis — are amazing and powerful in the support they give one another, helping each survive his/her demons and everyday life.

I feel like I’m doing a terrible job describing this book, mostly because it touched my emotions, which always makes me a little discombobulated. While I didn’t go absolutely ga-ga over it but it was a solid read for me (even made me tear up a bit, darn it).

JeffZentner_Credit J Hernandez

About the author:

Jeff Zentner is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave and Debbie Harry. In addition to writing and recording his own music, Zentner works with young musicians at Tennessee Teen Rock Camp, which inspired him to write a novel for young adults. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. The Serpent King is his first novel. You can follow Zentner on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter at @jeffzentner. The author lives in Nashville, TN.

The Serpent King Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 22: Jenuine Cupcakes, Kickoff Blog Tour Post
Tuesday, February 23: Book Hounds, Review
Wednesday, February 24: Mundie Moms, Review
Thursday, February 25: Curling Up With a Good Book, Review
Friday, February 26: To Read or Not to Read, Annotate a Scene Guest Post
Monday, February 29: Bookish Lifestyle, Review
Tuesday, March 1: The Book Swarm, Review
Wednesday, March 2: Katie’s Book Blog, Playlist Post
Thursday, March 3: Paperback Princess, Guest Post: Writing a Character with a Parent in Prison
Friday, March 4: Who R U, Behind the Scenes Book Secret Guest Post
Monday, March 7: Icey Books, Review
Tuesday, March 8: Stories & Sweeties, Author Interview
Wednesday, March 9: LovingDemBooks, Review
Thursday, March 10: Swoony Boys Podcast, Review
Friday, March 11: Good Books And Good Wine, Review
Monday, March 14: Winter Haven Books, Review
Tuesday, March 15: Me, My Shelf and I, Review
Wednesday, March 16: Novel Novice, Review
Thursday, March 17: Lili’s Reflections, Review
Friday, March 18: A Reader of Fictions, Author “Don’t Miss” in Nashville Guest Post

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

4 Responses to “Blog Tour and Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner”

  1. Dill would love this song because it makes beauty out of waiting to be loved, which is a struggle Dill knows intimately. I picture Dill’s voice having the same soaring quality as Timothy Showalter’s.