I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2014-09-23
Genres: 19th Century, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women, Historical, Multigenerational, United States, Young Adult
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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.
I first heard of Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper at this really awesome blogger brunch hosted by The Novl at Little Brown during BEA. You guys, I am totally an elderly blogger, so you know, I don’t know about cool and upcoming things until they are right in my face. Let me tell you, Salt & Storm was totally in my face at this brunch. It was described as the next Daughter Of Smoke & Bone and then we learned all about tattooed harpoon boy and how this was a standalone and how pretty much everything they said about it made me sit up and take note. I have to tell all of you that this was the book I chose to read first from that brunch because my eye was continually drawn to the book and the cover when I got home from New York City. And well, the heart wants what the heart wants and for me that was to just tear into Salt & Storm. Oh my goodness, I LOVED THIS BOOK even though it made me really sad.
Sixteen year old Avery Roe is poised to take her position as the witch of Prince Island, to weave charms and spells to protect the sailors who ask for the charms. Unfortunately for Avery, her mother refuses to let her become the witch. In fact, her beautiful and gorgeous mother weaves this spell so that Avery cannot cross over to where her grandmother lives, and so, her grandmother suffers as Avery is unable to access her birthright and become the witch. Never fret, though, Avery has a plan. A mysterious tattooed harpoon boy says he may have a way for Avery to break her mother’s spell. SPEAKING OF WHICH I totally forgot to mention, the reason Avery wants to be the witch of Prince Island so bad is because she can read dreams to tell the future and she has this dream that predicts that she will be murdered and it is impossible to murder a Roe witch. They are protected against it. So, yeah, Avery will do whatever it takes to save herself, including trusting a stranger to help her break the spell.
I did see that some people had a hard time with Kulper’s debut because they were not able to connect with Avery. Fortunately, I immediately hit it off with Avery right off the bat. There was something in her narration that made me connect with her — maybe a certain kind of pathos that I really like. You see, Avery’s life is not an easy one. She’s been yanked from her grandmother and she resents her mother for that. She’s someone who really respects her past and where she has come from. yet, at the same time, Avery does not exactly hold all the information about what it means to be the Roe witch. When we find out the secret to becoming the witch, it’s heart wrenching and I have to say that I felt the melancholy right along with Avery. Also? I just want to say that I loved how headstrong Avery is. She’s the definition of fierce and of perseverance.
Speaking of things that are heart wrenching! The romance! So, I mentioned that there is a tattooed harpoon boy and oh my goodness you guys his name is Tane. He works for a whaling ship. Anyways, he comes to Avery for help with some dreams that he’s been having over the past few years and so, Avery agrees to read his dreams if he will agree to help her undo the charm because Avery can sense some magic in Tane. Over time, the two begin to fall in love and this romance starts to unfold. There is kissing! It’s actually really sweet to see how Avery tries to resist her feelings, but then gives in. And oh my goodness, talk about swoons. This romance is the definition of swoonworthy and sad and tragic and oh my goodness, this book I cannot even.
So, as you have probably gathered, Salt & Storm is a historical fantasy book. It’s set on a fictional island called Prince Island which is like near Martha’s Vineyard. The island is pretty well populated. I mean, it’s a hub for whalers who stop there before going on their voyages. Speaking of which, whaling plays a pretty large role, but it’s acknowledged that whales may go extinct if the whalers keep hunting them so much. I did like that part as someone who used to be totally obsessed with whales in like fifth grade, reading about whaling makes me a little uncomfortable. However, Kendall Kulper writes this aspect in an interesting way and it’s not the total focus, it is just acknowledged as a way of life. I also have to mention the fantasy part — there’s magic that involves tying rope to weave a spell and I love that. There’s actually different types of magic in this book and it’s great. Further, the magic comes with a price, it’s not just unlimited and easy to wield — which is another thing that I like.
I really liked Kendall Kulper’s writing style. I could not set this book down. I know that not everyone will be into this writing style. It’s very, hmmm, how to describe? Like, formal, but not. It reads a little like a classic, but at the same time is accessible. I really, really liked how the book was written. It’s for people who like books that meander and take their time to weave a spell over the reader. It’s the sort of book that you put down after finishing and think about how melancholy and sad you feel. Salt & Storm made me feel heavy and weighted down and I am totally okay with that.