September 18, 2014

Latest Read: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
Publication date: Sept. 23, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Paranormal/Historical
Source: Received ARC at BEA
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself. Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Salt & Storm is the 2nd witch book I've enjoyed this year and I've got to say, it's nice to be pleasantly surprised especially when I thought these kinds of stories just weren't for me. But something about this world and the characters Kendall Kulper created really held my attention. Avery Roe is determined to follow her destiny as the next witch of Prince Island. It's the family tradition – from mother to daughter – and they alone supply the people of their town with magic that brings them good luck, fortune and more. Because of this, they have a a tenuous relationship with them. The Roe witch is loved when the people get what they want and hated if they don't like what they got. But Avery's grandmother is dedicated to being the witch, just as she is sure of Avery's fate to be her successor. Unfortunately, Avery's mother and Avery's own future-telling dreams (that tell her she's to be murdered!) have a very different opinion of that.

Avery is an intriguing character because she sometimes carries herself like an old soul and other times like a very young child. I say the latter because her younger years were spent in seclusion with her grandmother. Not that she minded. She got to see the many people who came to her grandmother seeking help and she was trained in the ways of magic, waiting for the day when her own abilities would be unlocked. But she didn't have friends or a typical upbringing. And when her mother literally had to drag her kicking and screaming from the only home she had ever known into a magic-free environment, she still didn't get "normal". Everyone in their town knew she was to become the witch and Avery was determined to make it happen. The majority of the book is about this internal conflict and her desperation to prevent her murder, which made the plot a slow-building one, especially in the beginning. But it's one that pays off because we learn a lot about the family dynamics, personal sacrifices of the Roe women and what magic means to them.

The other very important part of the book is the romance. Avery meets Tane, a tattooed harpooner, who's got a little magic of his own and is willing to make a trade. She helps him interpret his dreams and he helps her defy her mother to become the witch. But along the way, the attraction between them grows and I really liked how their relationship progressed. It felt natural plus I thought Tane was a great character, not to mention perfect for Avery.

(Minor) reservations
I liked this book a lot! Like I mentioned before, there a lot of emotions at play here but they mostly dealt with Avery's need to unlock her magic and then her feelings for Tane. Both are important to the story but I wanted more. There were also some moving moments towards the end that I wish had come up sooner or that we had seen more of.

Do I recommend?
I do! It's a standalone paranormal romance that was a quick read in spite of how many pages it was (416!) so if you're interested, I would check it out.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

If you were a Roe witch, what would your special ability be?
One of the Roe witches had the ability to speak any language and I think that's the ability I would want. It's safe but practical! Plus it would actually really benefit me for a couple reasons. One, I love traveling! And being able to speak the native language of any country I visit would be awesome. Two, I'm a web developer and there are lots of "programming languages" I should learn but am too lazy to (c'mon this counts, right?). If I could magically know every single one, again - more awesomeness. 

1 comment:

  1. I love what you chose for your magical ability! That's a pretty darn useful one, if you ask me. I have no idea why I didn't think of it. Maybe I'll just tag along when you travel to another country! As for Salt and Storm, it surprised me a lot as well! I never know how to feel about witch books, but this one was definitely on the positive side of the spectrum for me.

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