The Serpent King’s Sorrow by Anne Rowan
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (175 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by Astilbe
Once upon a time there was an impoverished kingdom in the North. Queen Eleanor did what she could to restore the prosperity for which it was once known, but no effort seemed to be strong enough. At her greatest moment of despair, she called upon Death to take her away. Death, however, refused and instead, told her of an eternal future filled with prosperity if only she could lift the curse that had been cast over her land centuries ago by the Serpent King. But the Serpent King would not be persuaded without an offering. What or whom will Queen Eleanor give up to help her kingdom?
It’s much easier to think about doing the right thing than it is to actually do it. Will Eleanor make the right decision for herself as well as for her kingdom?
Life lessons can be found almost anywhere. The ones that these characters deal with are applicable to both kids and adults. While they clearly seem to be written for readers in elementary school, they were presented in such a way that I found them appealing as an adult as well. They were educational without being preachy and were integrated so firmly into everything else that was going on that they felt like a natural part of the plot.
There was a fair amount of telling instead of showing. Some of the most interesting scenes were explained away so quickly that I didn’t really get the chance to marvel at what the narrator was describing. Had this not been the case, I would have felt comfortable selecting a much higher rating for this book as it was otherwise quite well done.
With that being said, Ms. Rowan’s writing style is definitely suited for this genre. She chose some of the most widespread tropes from traditional fairy tales and then updated them with modern twists that made me smile. While it isn’t strictly necessary to be familiar with the kinds of things that happen in these stories, readers who have a good idea of what to expect may find a few fun surprises tucked into certain scenes.
I’d recommend The Serpent King’s Sorrow to anyone who enjoys hearing about things that happened a long time ago in a kingdom far, far away.