Saturday, May 05, 2018

'The Serpent King' ...

Damn.

I try to not know about things before I experience them. I don't read reviews in advance. I may read them after, wondering if I agreed with a critic, but I don't want to know too much before.

But my friends know my tastes and make recommendations and they are almost never wrong. Or they don't make recommendations expressly but they make me aware of offerings and I'm intrigued by association.

And so it was with "The Serpent King" by Jeff Zentner. He's one of a coterie of YA authors I've come to know of and know. I'm author-adjacent. Angelo is link. Him I know know. Jennifer and Kerry I know secondarily and electronically. Jeff I know only by reputation – and now, his book.

When I first saw the title, I expected something ... medieval? Something ... in the fantasy genre? A YA fantasy novel?

I reserved it through my local library and received the notice that it was ready for me to pick up and then a lot of life was happening so there it sat. Until the last day of the hold, when I popped in to nab it. That was March 19. (I got the softcover edition. I'm posting both covers so if you look for it – and you should look for it – you won't be confused.)

I read the first couple pages right away and then set it down to tend to more life that was happening.

The library sent me an automatic renewal notice.

And then another.

And then another.

There was a lull in the lot of life that had been happening.

And so I read.

And I fell in love, especially with Lydia, her dialogue.

Bravo for a man who can write a smart teen girl so well!

I made a lot of headway, close to halfway, and then set it down again for a handful of days.

The library sent another notice. It was due back. No more renewals.

So I picked it up again yesterday. And read. A lot. And then picked it up on the way to bed. And read until I was about to fall asleep. And then finished it this morning.

It was not what I thought it might be, not really, but partly. When you read it, you'll understand.

I don't divulge story details because I don't want to spoil experiences for anyone. But I have to applaud "Crackers Barrel"! That made me laugh out loud, a detail for we grammar geeks in the vein of "attorneys general" "culs-de-sac."

Thank you, Jeff, for a story so well told, for taking me to places I didn't expect to go, and, most of all, for being yet another example of the metamorphosis from not-an-author to author, for further defining that path so that others may follow.

[ whispery voice to those reading this post ] You should buy his book.

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