Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Title: The Witch of Salt and Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: 4 September, 2014
Source: Orchard Books via NetGalley

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers 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 - steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe's power.

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches' help to thrive.

Avery has never read a dream that hasn't come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. 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. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance.

A sweeping romance with a spellbinding twist - from a talented new voice in YA fiction.
Review by Nara

The Witch of Salt and Storm is certainly a very gritty YA book that doesn't shy away from tragic plot twists and violence. It's always rather daring when a debut author makes that leap to unexpected tragedy. As it says in the blurb, to obtain the Roe witch magic, Avery must make a sacrifice. It's not the one she expects.

At its core, this book is about two relationships. The relationship between Avery and Tane (i.e. the romance) is certainly one of those relationships. But the other is the relationship between Avery and her mother, and it is this relationship that is, in my opinion, the most fascinating. (Dang, used the word "relationship" way too many times in this paragraph. Meh.)

Avery wants to be the Roe witch, wants the respect and the power, but her mother will not allow her to meet with her grandmother to discover the secrets of the trade. Avery's mother definitely doesn't treat her the way she deserves, but I think it's more that she just doesn't understand. Her mother is not intentionally cruel, but cruel through through not properly informing Avery. She does have her own reasons for not letting her in on certain secrets, as you find out much later in the book.

The romance is okay- it wasn't too much in the forefront until the last half or so, where it flourishes and dominates the plot. This wasn't a bad thing though, as the plot actually called for a bit more romance, surprisingly. However, I must admit that the romance wasn't as well developed as I would've liked, possibly due to the fact that the first half wasn't really spent properly developing the relationship between Avery and Tane before switching it to a romance.

Overall, The Witch of Salt and Storm is a bold debut from Kulper, that pushes the boundaries of the conventional coming of age plot, and showcases magic in an unorthodox tragic light.

Really liked it

Overall: 8/10
Plot: 3.5/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5