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(Serpentine #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,135 ratings  ·  279 reviews
SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to th
Paperback, 274 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Month9Books
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Valerie I liked but didn't love Silver Phoenix (I'm not big on books where characters travel from point A to point B) and I straight-up loved this one. Defini…moreI liked but didn't love Silver Phoenix (I'm not big on books where characters travel from point A to point B) and I straight-up loved this one. Definitely give it a try! There's more of a sense of place and the setting is extremely rich. Also, fantastic genuine relationships and a girl who turns into a SNAKE. (I'm sorry, I might be overly influenced by the SF (Snake Factor))(less)
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Faye, la Patata
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!

For some reason, I can't get this song out of my head. And I think I know the reason why:

Because I did not like this book... like at all.

We rarely get Chinese-inspired YA books published by American publishers - so taking that into consideration plus that pretty cool hand-drawn cover, I was seriously psyched to read this. I couldn't wait to get to know a rootable, sympathetic, bad-ass Chinese heroine and be a part of
Sherwood Smith

I read far too late last night, slammed into the ending, yelled "What?" as I desperately reached for pages that weren't there. Not a cliff-hanger ending precisely, but a turning point.

So many things to love: the rich descriptions, the resonant use of Chinese myth to create a fascinating world where the supernatural blends into the natural world with awe-inspiring and also terrifying effect. The strength of female friendship alone would have made me a fan of this book, but even better was the
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those looking for character-driven fantasy
Shelves: 2015-faves

Chinese mythology + historic details = atmospheric, detail-oriented fantasy that has as much heart as it does world-building

The world fell away when I read this, which, at 290 pages, took me two sittings/less than twenty-four hours. I became fully immersed, as Pon not only provides visual details, but goes in-depth when it comes to food, perfumes, sounds, etc. Yet there isn't one wasted scene, no plodding bits; the paci
May 31, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015-favorites
Y'ALL THIS WAS PUBLISHED today. That means it's time for you to go to a bookstore and buy your copy - or buy it online - and ask your libraries to get copies of this book. This book is really, really good.

Finishing this novel, my first thought was: Cindy Pon is a really talented author. Even in the middle of reading Serpentine, I knew that I would a.) want to return for the sequel and b.) want to read Pon's other novels. In looking up and adding those other novels to my TBR, I discovered that th
nick (the infinite limits of love)

Despite the vast possibilities of cultures that can be explored, YA fantasy is unusually lacking in diversity. The promise of a Chinese setting and that gorgeous cover are what initially attracted me to Cindy Pon's Serpentine. Going in, I knew deep down that Serpentine would be a good book, but I was surprised by how much it was able to hook me into its characters' lives, the stunning world building and the dynamic relationships the book explored.

As soon as I read the first line of Serpentine, I
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
I read this book following the whole Nagini mess and I am so glad that I did, because Pon's Serpentine demonstrates that East-Asian women can be serpent shape-shifters without being exoticised, enslaved, cursed, and later decapitated.

- About a handmaiden, Skybright, who discovers she is part-human, part-serpent demon and her journey of self-discovery, save her best friend/sister, and star-crossed love.
- Guess what: Skybright has AGENCY. She is a developed character with feelings, sometimes c
Kells Next Read
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my first read from this author and I can safely say that I will definitely be reading the sequel to this book plus her other works.

This story had a little of everything that I love to read in a novel and I couldn't put it down once I started it. I need to fine out more about Stone ( my badboy immortal crush ), Skybright, Zhen Ni and Kai Sen. The characters were rich and full of depth and I found myself wanting to know more about the world and there own personal struggles.

Cindy Pon did

Definitely a strong 3.5 stars.

I really enjoyed my reading experience during Serpentine. It was engaging, quick, it was centered around a female friendship and is for all intents and purposes a coming of age story. Tick, tick, tick, tick on the list of things I like to read.

I had the pleasure of hearing Pon speak at NerdCon and I just fell in love with the bright and personable way she comes across. However, it was how she described this book that made me want to read it. In Serpentine, she sa
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
It's Cindy Pon. It's an awesome cover. It's Asian-themed fantasy. What else do you need?

So much awesome in this book. Lead heroines of color (in fact nothing Eurocentric at all, which is refreshing). Strong female friendships, quests, magic, the RIGHT way to utilize romance in a YA fantasy, no heroine hijacking, and passes the Bechtel test.

Longer review coming soon. I promise.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
Cindy Pon has given her readers something utterly unique and exciting with Serpentine. Filled with Chinese mythology, fantasy, romance, heart pounding action, and characters whom I enjoyed getting to know, and want to read more about, this book hooked me!

Read my FULL REVIEW here
Hmm rather unexpected and interesting ending. I am intrigued by God Stone and his future interactions with Skybright.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book pissed me off.

That it ended! I was so completely enthralled and then it was over. But no worries, there is a sequel!
Cassie C
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointing
See more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces

Actual rating: 2.5 stars


I had a very difficult time rating this book because while there wasn't anything particularly bad about it, I just never fully got into reading the story either. Nothing stood out to me enough that made me like was just, eh. I was excited for this book originally because of the mythology. Chinese mythology isn't something that is used very often in books, and so any type of book that I find that has this type of myth
Chapter by Chapter
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh, where do I start with this review? Serpentine by Cindy Pon was a book that reminded me of reasons why I fell in love with reading to begin with!

Author Cindy Pon’s writing completely and utterly drew me into a world filled with magic and Chinese mythology. Honestly, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t love about it. The characters all had personalities of their own that readers will love and hate, and the storyline is one that I just could not get enough of! And the action! Battles be
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: protag-female, ya, fantasy
Short review written for a class on YA lit:

This young adult novel from We Need Diverse Books advocate Cindy Pon is set the Kingdom of Xia, a fantastical realm inspired by Chinese myth and lore. Skybright is the sixteen-year-old handmaiden to Zhen Ni. Despite their difference in station, the two girls have grown up together and are the closest of friends. Nothing can come between them. That is, until Skybright discovers a secret too painful to share with anyone, even Zhen Ni: she is half demon. O
Cori Reed
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately this book wasn't for me. I enjoyed the Chinese folklore, but overall the book felt underdeveloped and the writing could use some work.

I am interested in reading more of Cindy Pon's work, but this one probably wasn't the best place to start.
Lauren Wilkerson
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. I adore mythology. I adore Chinese mythology even more because I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING. Instead of just summarizing a book without spoilers speckled with my opinions, for this review, I'm going for short and sweet.

The author captured the essence of the ancient Chinese Kingdom of Xia so gracefully that I truly felt as if I was there. Historical fiction was my first genre love and this book was just begging for me to pick it up. The world building, the details pertaining to
Jennifer Walkup
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Serpentine! I have read all Cindy Pon's books, and I think this one is my favorite. The writing was so lovely and lush and the world building was fantastic, as always with Pon's books. I was swept off my feet and into Skybright's story. Highly recommend this book for fantasy-lovers! ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Such a fresh, unpredictable story with characters who feel utterly real. A great read for fantasy fans of Cinda Williams Chima or The Lumatere Chronicles.
Minni Mouse
DNF at 11% because I lost interest (or rather, the interest never piqued), the reviews don't promise it gets any better, and I'm in a did-not-finish roll. ...more
Stacey Lee
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, richly woven story.
sil ♡ the book voyagers
Cindy Pon's luscious fantasy world is filled with demons, undead monsters, immortal guys and beautiful descriptions.

Thank you Eri so much for loaning me this ebook and giving me the chance to finally read Serpentine! I have been meaning to read this for so long but sadly it isn't available in my region to buy or anything. I was so happy that Eri and I actually could loan each other books and so happy that she loan me this one!

Skybright is a serpent demon from her mother's side and a human from h
Zoey Talbon
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Reviewing Serpentine is hard because I didn't have particularly strong feelings about it in either direction. In the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing but wasn't totally invested in the story. And that's pretty much how it went the entire way. The story definitely did get more intriguing, but it didn't feel as if it had enough intricate and fleshed-out details to seem believable, and so instead I found myself rolling my eyes sometimes.

Still, the mythology of Serpentine is something I h
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read Cindy Pon's previous books a few years ago. Silver Phoenix and then Fury of the Phoenix. Like Serpentine they are Chinese inspired high fantasy. Cindy Pon is all about Diversity in YA and it certainly shows in her books. In 2011 I interviewed Cindy on my blog and she mentioned this book (not that it was named, but that she was feeling inspired to write it and that the ideas were taking place). I'm glad I finally got that book after that long wait!

First of all, I know that fantasy is not f
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it

A few years back, I picked up Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix on a whim and fell completely in love wit it. I devoured it, and its sequel Fury of the Phoenix, in no time flat and even now it sticks with me. The writing is gorgeous. The world-building, intriguing and imaginative. So when the opportunity arose to review Serpentine, I knew that I had to give it a chance. While it wasn't quite the perfect experience as the previous series, it was still 100% Cindy Pon. Beautiful writing, top-notch world-
Jun 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Here is the thing. This is a very pleasant book to listen. The narrator is nice, the story is evenly paced and interesting enough. I also enjoyed the ever so fascinating Chinese mythology, but at the same time it feels like Middle Grade instead of YA. And not in a good way.

It's light, it skims through the real dangers and horrible moments in a way that doesn't allow the gravity of the situation to sink in. Even one sexual moment of the book is retouched to the point that you are not sure what's
Jun 13, 2016 added it
Shelves: ya, magic-n-shit
First things first: a girl comes of age and discovers she is a SERPENT DEMON. So obviously my snakefemme heart had to read it. This book also explores power in rare and precious ways: what is it to love someone who holds such absolute power over your existence and daily life? What does it mean for religious discipline to require human sacrifice and secret collusion with the deities? FYI for the homos: The main character's love interest is a boy, but her lady/near-sister (complicated, right?) fal ...more
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
More like 3.5 stars, but a strong 3.5 stars.

There's a lot to like about this book: commentary on socio-economic classes, Chinese mythology, a strong female friendship, and a f/f pairing. The story isn't that deep or engaging, but it's at least a refreshing change from 99.9% of the YA fantasy books out there.

I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Pon at a convention in September this year and I loved what she had to say about needing more diverse stories/characters in YA sci-fi/fantasy lit. This b
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book made me want Chinese food, and I don't even really like red bean paste buns or rice porridge. All the food evoked bits of my childhood and felt genuinely representative of the setting. (Not a coincidence: got Chinese food tonight.)

But that was probably the biggest impression Serpentine made on me. I was cool with the female friendship and the mythology and the cultural setting, but I started getting bored when the zombies turned up and more or less shrugged at the developments in the
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
Serpent demons are the seductress of Chinese and East Asian mythology, so it's nice to see a story where a heroine of such origins reclaim the narrative and her identity. I loved the relationship between Skybright and her mistress, Zhen Ni. The writing was so lush and descriptive, I especially appreciated all the mention of food - I don't think anyone can go through this without craving for yumcha. However, I do think there was a lot more tell than show when we dealt with relationships
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Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent duology Serpentine and Sacrifice (Month9Books) were both Junior Library Guild selections and received starred reviews from Kirkus an ...more

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