What would you give up? What would you give up to be a real witch?
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper is an underdog champion. I was intrigued by the combination of witches, sailors, and the sea, but this book really surpassed my expectations, even while I was still reading.
Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island’s sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.
Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she’s never been wrong before.
Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.
Avery walks the knife’s edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper’s sweeping debut: the story of one girl’s fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.
I’ve read quite a number of books about witches, but this one is unique to me. A lot of books involving witches focus on what they can do or growing their power; Salt & Storm takes a step back to focus on how they get their power in the first place, and I loved the idea.
In all honesty, I didn’t love this book the whole way through. The beginning was very interesting in terms of the concept, but because Avery doesn’t really know anything, the pace felt a little slow. Avery’s burning desire to be “the witch” became a little overbearing at times, and maybe just because I felt like I was seeing “the witch” on every page. Her fixation with becoming the witch influenced her choices a lot and I felt like it was just as much a curse and dictator as the one her mother forced upon her. I couldn’t understand her obsession with being “the witch.”
I was about 150 pages in when I really started to get into the plot. As the book progresses, there’s more and more at stake, and as the reality of the circumstances became clear, that’s when I was really hooked. All of a sudden things were much more intense; I went from talking to Avery (“yeah, you go girl”) to screaming at her (“Damnit, Avery, listen to your mother!”). My personal investment in Avery’s life got serious.
Aside from her passivity to the restrictions of being a Roe witch, Avery was pretty determined and fierce. I cheered her on strongly, and she just had a sense of passion and commitment that I really liked. Tane (pronounced Taah-neh) was fantastic. I had a swoony moment with him (*cough* and Avery *cough*) that really warmed me up to his character. However, neither of these is my favourite; that’s reserved for the smuggler. I feel like he’s this unforeseen hero-guy and, I don’t know, I just really loved his vibe and his character.
Salt & Storm really pulled through for me, and I found myself giving it a quick snuggle when I finished it. Definitely a great debut and a wonderful read of 2014.