October 7, 2014

Review: Salt & Storm

It’s October! And I like to call this month my month of witchy, spooktascular reads.

So, it is only fitting that my first review for this month is a witchy tale.

Title: ‘Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Pages: 416
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available: NOW at your local library or bookstore
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.

Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.

Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before.

Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.

Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I was not expecting to be drawn into the story as quickly as I was, but once I started, I did not want to put this down.

Our heroine is Avery, a young woman who wants just one thing in life: to be the Prince Island witch. But her mother has other plans for her, plans that involve Avery marrying a wealthy young man and being a good wife; plans that involve nothing to do with witchcraft.

Avery feels that this is not her destiny. It is her duty as a Roe to continue the family line and to be the next Roe witch, to take over from her grandmother.

Avery spends the novel trying to pry herself away from her mother and back into the house she knows, the woman who will teach her the witchy ways, her grandmother. But there is a curse on Avery, thanks to dear old mom, that keeps her from where her heart wants to be.

This is the heart of the novel’s conflict—a parent’s dream for a child that the child rejects. While this conflict is enough to propel readers into the action, this is not all the author has in store.

We are also introduced to Tane, a young man who is looking for the people responsible for the death of his loved ones. His chance meeting with Avery is a game-changer for her…and for him. They both agree to help one another achieve the unachievable.

I felt the pacing of the story was right on target. The story had a nice flow to it, keeping me engaged as a reader, wanting to see where the author would take the story next.

I especially enjoyed the style of writing. There is a storm in the novel, and while this storm was happening on the page, I could not only visualize it but also hear the sounds that surrounded the characters. I absolutely loved this—it allowed me to experience the story even deeper. This is the main reason I enjoyed the book so much. I was not just reading words on a page; I was a part of the storytelling.

I enjoyed Avery as a character, and I think teen readers will connect with her too. She knows what she wants, but she is frustrated because there are outside forces keeping her from the thing she wants most. This is definitely something teen readers can relate to, and something that will see a bit of themselves in Avery.

Then there is Tane, who is Avery’s love interest. While his role is a typical one in all novels, he really got under my skin. I think it was his determination to make sure Avery achieves her goals, no matter the cost. He brings enough to the page to give readers swoon-worthy moments, but he does not steal the spotlight from the novel’s true star.

Avery’s mom is a red herring of a character—I was not sure if I could trust what she said. But it becomes clear by novel’s end whether or not her intentions are pure. What frustrated me about the mom character was that she was hell-bent on her daughter not performing witchcraft and yet she herself was performing it to keep her daughter right where she could see her. In this way, Avery’s mom fulfills another element that teen readers can connect with, something they have probably had experience with at some point in their own lives.

Do I recommend this book?

This is not a book geared toward a specific reader—all readers can enjoy this book, but most especially those who enjoy a good witchy tale. This is a great read for this month, so make sure to add it to your TBR pile.

What’s your favorite witchy read? I have so many—share below and let’s talk books.
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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