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I Belong

Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt and StormTitle: Salt & Storm

Author: Kendall Kulper

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316404519 (LB Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0316404518 (LB Teen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: This story was atmospheric and beautifully written. Unfortunately, it was also paced very slowly, which lessened my enjoyment.

Opening Sentence: Despite my mother’s best efforts, I never forgot the day my grandmother taught me how to tie the winds.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Welcome to Avery Roe’s world. She is a living legacy, heir to the great sea witches that have descended back in time. The sea witches protect the islanders, they have great power. They can wield storms and lives, but at a price. Avery is supposed to become the next sea witch, until her mother steals her away, determined to take her away from her destiny just as her mother had chosen to leave magic years ago. Avery wants to be the sea witch, but she doesn’t have power and she can’t get away from her mother. But then, a dream: she will be murdered. It has been prophesied and there is no way out unless she manages to escape and find her grandmother to teach her how to use magic. Because once you become the Roe witch, you cannot be killed. A boy named Tane with foreign magic may be her only chance.

Salt and Storm was a slow read, for me. Slow plot, slow romance, slow plot twists. However, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was intrigued enough to read on even in the most lagging parts, because of the strong world-building and interesting plot. I was very unsure of how it would go down, and honestly I am not surprised that the author wielded the ending the way she did. It was tragic but an exciting twist that made sense in the long run. Anyway, one of the things I liked the most about Salt and Storm was the rich backstory to Avery’s family. It was complicated, but I was extremely drawn in by the prospect of sea witches and a lineage that went that far back. I also was intrigued by the town and how it functioned, it’s strong economic interest in whaling. The whole idea of it reminded me of Moby Dick, in a way. The rich imagery created to describe the water and the whales made me imagine them clearly in my mind.

Avery and Tane had a budding love that took a while to develop. I had heard beforehand that it was a “slow burn” but it felt kind of awkward between them at first. Their conversations seemed forced and they didn’t have many of them. There was no obvious click, nothing that stood out to me as real chemistry. As they began to know each other, their connection grew deeper and less strange to me. I grew to enjoy them as a couple, enough for the story and a star of my review tone saved. Their love took half the book to develop into even a kiss but when it did, it was intensely passionate. They might have took a while to act on their feelings but when they did, they hit the ground running.

How do I feel about the twist? The truth uncovered about the sea witches and the way they find their powers? Well, the twist was sort of predictable. I saw it coming from the beginning but it still had an impact on me. I was very sad, that’s all I’ll say, though I didn’t cry as I do when I’m very emotional. The way that sea witches come into their magic was extremely surprising though I suppose there were hints — hints that I should have caught onto. But, be it as it was, I didn’t catch on until late in the plot line when it was being given away. Great detective skills, eh?

Overall, I enjoyed Salt and Storm. It was a book with lots of intrigue, but it was very slow. I’d imagine that if more action was added and the plot was sped up a little I would have crossed the boundaries to loving it, but sadly that was not the case. Avery was a determined female lead, even in the face of desperate times, and her voice was beautifully written. The idea of a sea witch was wonderful and unique, and I loved all the descriptions of the oceans and the waters and their cabin. I could imagine standing on the cliff, looking out onto the water, with all the beautiful imagery in the story. The scene and world building was rich, and I was very interested in the Roe’s past — actually, maybe a little more than Avery Roe herself to be honest. Her story was exciting and different but it moved at a snail’s pace. This book could have easily cut off a large chunk and would have been just as good, probably better. Tane himself I wasn’t a huge fan of. I didn’t hate him, but their wasn’t much allure either. This also lowered my interest in the novel. In the end I would encourage very patient readers to delve into this story. If you stick it out and push through boring parts, it really is worth it. With all my complaining about the slowness, I really did feel close to the characters and was crushed at the end. (Not that the end didn’t deliver. It was just sad.) Oh, and look at the beautiful rich colors on the cover! Happy reading!

Notable Scene:

I hate her. I hate her. I wanted to scream at her, at her lies and her duplicity, pretending to be nothing but a gentlewomen, sweet and caring and good. I wanted to leap across the room and rip the paper from her hands and shout at her that Tommy almost died, died, because of her! But I know what would happen then. She would stare at me, cool as a pitcher of water, letting me get excited, letting me get scared, letting me admit that I tried to defy her. And then she would have every excuse to pack me up and send me off to the mainland- to keep me away from magic, to keep me safe. If I wanted to beat my mother, I would have to play her game. I didn’t blink.


FTC Advisory:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Salt & Storm.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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