Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Genres: Magic, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 whale men safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother, the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic, stole Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape from her mother before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roes’ power.
When Avery awakens from a dream foretelling her own murder, she realizes time is running short—for her and for the people of her island, who, without the Roes, will lose their ships and the only life they know.
With the help of Tane, a tattooed harpoon boy from the Pacific Islands, Avery plots her escape from her mother and unravels the mysteries of her mother’s and grandmother’s pasts. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected—one she might not be able to make.
I’m really not sure what to rate this one, so take my review with a grain of salt (pun totally intended). Sometimes I found myself enjoying this read and other times I found myself bogged down by the fact nothing was really happening.
I found the that nothing was happening due to the fact that for vast majority of the book as we found our main character just trying to find out how to achieve her powers. We didn’t see her being awesome with her powers, rather we saw the journey Avery went on to get her powers. Quite frankly though, this journey seemed quite repetitive at parts with the mention of the whaling and how Avery would be this close to finding out something important to only have her hopes dashed. I wish we could have seen more magic and that there was more plot development spread out throughout the book. It seemed to happen only in the last 1/4 of the book which made it seem like Salt & Storm was overly drawn out. The writing also contributed to this fact. Though it was quite poetic and very atmospheric, it sometimes felt as though it was too excessive and could have been just as impactful with fewer words. I found that the writing did actually bog down the story in certain points.
However there were times where the writing in all of its glory stood out to me and shined.
The lighthouse looked different in the daytime, its haunted, mysterious aura fading into the forlorn quality of an abandoned wreck, with paint peeling and curling from its skin like the scale of the lizard.
Shown through the quote above, you can clearly see that Kendall’s writing was very descriptive. I found that this worked the best in the development of the atmosphere and the setting. The story did feel like it was set in the past and there was definitely hintings of the supernatural and superstition. I would have personally liked these hints built on but I didn’t find that to be the case. Salt & Storm was also set on Prince Island, a historical town known for its whaling. I felt as if the writing transferred me to this small island and its way of living. I personally find whaling horrible (and I still think this. Some of the descriptions of in this one were truly horrifying) but in the past it was a way of life, and I feel like Kendall captured it accurately with her intense and impactful descriptions.
Sometimes, when I am very angry at my mother, I like to imagine her big and bloodless and all alone at the bottom of the ocean alike a giant squid. I imagine her in the darkness, in the cold, all her sticky tentacles wrapped tightly around her. That is how I imagine my mother, a monster deep in the ocean, reaching out with her tentacles to catch stray fish and sailors and pull them apart like a bloated, underwater spider.
So it’s safe to say that Avery and her mother aren’t best friends. I actually really enjoyed the relationship between Avery and her mother and how it was present in the story. It was obviously negative to begin with, and I found myself detesting Avery’s mother in the beginning. However over the course of the novel you begin to develop an understanding of the mother and even have moments of sympathy for her. I feel like there was insurmountable obstacles between Avery and her mother, however Kulper dealt with them in a way that felt realistic and I enjoyed witnessing the transformation of Avery mother’s character. The relationship was complex and I enjoyed that the author made the choice to not alter it completely by the end of the book, but allow us to gain an understanding of the mother and her once rash actions.
I also enjoyed Tane, the love interest in Salt & Storm. I was initially quite wary of him due to the initial description of Tane. He was described by his tattoos and his broody attitude. Of course I thought we’d have another case of the “YA bad boy” on our hands. I’m glad to report that wasn’t the case here. There was certainly a reason for Tane’s initially odd behavior and I actually found myself connecting and sympathizing with him quite easily. He had been through so much and Tane’s story definitely pulled at my heartstrings. I enjoyed how Tane wasn’t just the bad boy stereotype and was actually fully developed as an individual with emotions that were very palpable. His relationship with Avery wasn’t insta love, though I would have appreciated a little more development as things did move a bit quicker than I would have liked. Nontheless, by the end of Salt & Storm I found myself invested in the relationship and the ending of the story did leave me feeling quite emotional.
Though I did find myself enjoying other characters in the story I actually found Avery, the main character, the hardest to get into. I did understand her plight and sympathized, I didn’t find myself particularly invested nor connected deeply in her characterization. I found myself more intrigued by Tane actually than Avery and her issues. For the majority of the story I felt detached and I think this was due to lack of character development of Avery till the end. Though her relationships develop I found that Avery’s own character was a underdeveloped. She frankly was flat and a bit boring.
Overall I found Salt & Storm to have a well described setting, developed relationships and a good love interest. However I found there to be little to none plot advancement, prior to the ending, and the main character to be lackluster. I also found that the most interesting factor of the plot (magic) was could have been a lot more involved. The writing also left me feeling conflicted: though it was descriptive and beautiful at some points, I also found it to be drawn out and excessive.
~Thank you Little Brown for the review copy~
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