Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Pages: 416
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future. 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."
Avery Roe lives in a New England whaling town on Prince Island during the 19th century.  Like every Roe female before her, she has one job: to become the next Roe witch.  This is important to the island's welfare as the witch keeps the sailors and whalers safe at sea by making protection charms as well as other task important to the townsfolk.  Avery's grandmother has been the most influential person in her life and is raising her to take over as the next Roe witch.  But Avery's mother, who comes back into the picture, decides magic isn't an option and takes her away from everything she has known.  Years go by and Avery isn't allowed to see her grandmother nor use magic, but things change when Avery dreams she is murdered.  She knows this is a serious omen and tries to contact her grandmother, but thanks to her mother, she is cursed from seeking out magical help or even her grandmother.  Her mother wants her to be a proper young lady and leave that life behind, but Avery knows she must find a way out. Kendall Kulper's Salt & Storm is a slow-moving historical fantasy that kept me entertained, but wasn't one that I fell in love with.

Avery was a tough protagonist to connect with in Salt & Storm.  I thought it was pretty intriguing that she could interpret dreams, including her own, and has magic within her, even if she is unable to use it. I liked the whole aspect of the Roe female ancestors all being the island's witch, but other than that, I never really warmed up to her.  This is including her relationship with Tane, a Polynesian harpoon boy, who promises her that he can help her unlock her mother's curse as he has powers of his own. I liked Tane, overall, but never really swooned over him or their relationship; perhaps, because I felt so distant from Avery to begin with.

Salt & Storm is a slow moving type of fantasy. One that creeps slowly and hints at secrets, which I think worked for the 19th century setting for the most part. Don't get me wrong though….there were many moments which I felt the pace was just too darn slow, especially since this book is 400+ pages.  

On the other hand, one thing I tremendously enjoyed about Salt & Storm was the setting.  I loved the idea of a New England town intertwined with a magical history. You guys know I am all about coastal stories and I think Kulper did a good job bringing a 19th century whaling town to life as well as the idea of "sea witches."

Salt & Storm has aspects to it that I enjoyed even though it wasn't my favorite debut.  There's an intriguing setting, a sweet romance (albeit tragic at times), family secrets, witches, and a coastal setting.  If you can get past some of the slow pacing and you enjoy fantasies with historical details, then you'll appreciate this novel.



10 comments:

  1. I felt the same way about this one Christina! I loved the setting, it was so well done, and I thoroughly enjoyed the history of the Roe witches. Like you though, Avery was a struggle for me, and the story itself was definitely slow at times. I would have been fine with that had I fallen madly in love with Avery and Tane and their relationship, but that didn't quite happen and then of course one of my deal breakers happened in the end. *sobs*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad we agree about the setting! Definitely well done. I wasn't feeling Avery and Tane too much, but I'm glad you enjoyed their relationship…yes, the end was heartbreaking! Thanks so much for visiting, Jenny, and I'm glad we agree for the most part!

      Delete
  2. I'm really glad to hear you liked this one okay, I've read some bad reviews of it, but I really want it to be good! Thanks for your honest review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Carrie. If you like historical fantasy, which I believe you do, I think you will find this one pretty interesting. Not my favorite, but definitely entertaining! Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  3. The premise sounded good but it is too bad about the pacing and inability to connect with the main character. I decided not to order it for the library's teen collection. Something tells me our teens wouldn't be into it.

    I may decide to read it someday keeping in mind that it will be slow going. Kind of like Juliet Marillier's books where the settings are really vivid but the pace of the story kind of drags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm not sure it will have a large teen audience. I could see a few of my former students enjoying it, but a select few. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

      Delete
  4. I tried several times to get involved in this one, but I never managed and kept abandoning it in favor of other books. I finally gave up and admitted I simply wasn't going to finish it. Loved the premise, but couldn't enter the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I wasn't the only to struggle with it at times. The setting and historical details were intriguing enough to keep me somewhat engaged till the end. I'm sorry you DNF, but I can definitely see why. Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  5. That's too bad about the distance from the characters - only a few rare authors can pull off something like that and still make you love the book. Love the sound of the setting / magical history, though!

    Very nice honest review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best part was the setting…love a story that takes place on an island. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

      Delete

I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Design by: Designer Blogs