Before Serpentine came out, I was really excited about this story. Hamilton had set us up with two interesting premises: Edward's wedding and the discovery of this snake-like monster, something that we hadn't seen too much of in the Blake-verse. I find myself feeling like she just bit off way more than she could chew. Despite the book's length, neither plot is done the justice it deserved.
The saga of Edward's marriage feels rushed and repeated. The central roadblock to the wedding is one that we've read about many times: a woman has a conflict with Anita because she's both good at her job and a beautiful woman. How many times can we read the same conflict???? Evidently, many. There's an ongoing issue between Donna, one of her bridesmaids, and Anita, and it just becomes too much to want to keep reading. I admit; by the third time that I was reading an almost identical argument, I started skimming.
With such an emphasis on an old issue, there are other moments within Edward's wedding trip that are under-served: the reappearance of Otto/Olaf, Peter's growing up and a few "gifts" of his, Micah/Nathaniel/Anita's first trip away from home together. I would have rather read about all three of those, but they felt like side-notes to a main attraction I don't want a ticket for anymore.
The actual serpentine plot is almost haphazardly thrown into the novel. At first you feel like it's going to be a big focus, that it might get well-developed, but then it takes a backseat to Edward's wedding. The connection between the wedding and Micah's snake-shifter case felt so FORCED, like Hamilton got to page 400 and thought, "oh SH*T, I had another story going on here." Everything fell together in a messy way that, to me, felt like lazy story-telling.
Even the relationship drama is unresolved. We get some tiny snippets that there's some important issues coming up with Micah, Nathaniel, Anita, and Jean-Claude, but that's all they are- snippets. Instead of getting real resolution, instead of seeing them work together to figure something out, it's just implied that they'll go to therapy. I want to see the characters grow "on page", not see big changes with just the tagline- "therapy was helping." We've invested years of readership & feelings in these characters; I want to actually see their story unfold.
Finally, I don't know about the rest of you, but it's become an eye-rolling question of not IF, but WHEN there will be an insensitive/prejudiced/conservative member of law enforcement who asks invasive questions, makes rude comments, and/or needs to be educated on the poly life. If you've gotten to Serpentine (not just by happenstance or accident), you've experienced the lecture/explanation of poly life more than a dozen times. Sometimes I wish Hamilton would just use a single sentence to just let us know that Anita's just finished explaining/exploring. There's so much reflection about poly, which wouldn't bother me if it was new/a progression of understanding, but once again- we're getting the same lecture again in Anita's conversations and thoughts.
I just wanted a good story, to cuddle up with my book and get to read about Anita and my favorite others (Micah & Nathaniel), but I'm just not sure if I can keep going on like this.