Published by Month9Books, LLC on September 8th 2015
Genres: General, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural, Romance, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology, this sweeping fantasy is set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns 16, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell. When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
In the Kingdom of Xia, Skybright is a handmaid to Zhen Ni, the youngest daughter of a wealthy family. Skybright grew up alongside Zhen Ni, and the two are as close as sisters. When Skybright is 16, she changes in a way she can’t even tell her best friend about; at night, she becomes part serpent. Skybright never anticipated being half-demon, but when Zhen Ni runs away, Skybright must rely on her newfound skills to save her. To make matters worse, a war between demons and monks is going on, and if Skybright isn’t careful, she’ll be caught right in the middle.
Filled with Chinese mythology, a sisterly bond, first loves, and more, SEREPENTINE is a magnificent fantasy that demands to be read in one sitting. Author Cindy Pon creates a kind, loyal protagonist in Skybright, whose world is shaken as she discovers a new half of herself. What will leave readers spellbound is the seamless way Pon brings together layers upon layers of story, world-building, character, and a dazzling voice. From the first chapter, readers won’t be hooked by one aspect of the opening: they will be hooked by all of them.
The pacing is steady and strong, making it far too easy to tell yourself “Just one more chapter,” and instead find several chapters (and hours) have passed. While so much is happening in the plot, one key part that drives it is Skybright’s relationship with Zhen Ni. As close as the two are, Zhen Ni is part of Skybright, and though the two have differences and conflicts, they care deeply for each other. Kai Sen, Skybright’s love interest, is another great character, and their interactions offer a nice amount of swoons, even as star-crossed as their relationship becomes.
Cindy Pon’s SERPENTINE is a masterpiece with its rich world, lovable and dynamic characters, and a story that won’t let you go.
Review originally posted at YABC: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/18376-serpentine