Monday, August 22, 2016

ARC Review: Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Title: Salt and Storm
Series: Salt and Storm #1
Written by: Kendall Kulper
Published: September 23, 2014 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.

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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

It is extremely rare for me to decide to pick up a book again after DNFing it, much less to do it two years later. But with that fact that historical fantasies and witch books have been working for me lately, I had the sudden and surprising desire to pick this up two years after deciding it wasn't for me. And while it was far from perfect I did enjoy it more this time around.

One thing that I do enjoy about this book is the setting. For one thing I loved Prince Island. It's a tiny island in New England in the late 1800's. The author did a great job of developing that world. You could imagine the ocean breezes, the waves breaking across the shore. It was atmospheric and engaging. Then on top of that you had the historical fiction elements. The author clearly did her research on whaling culture and what things were like as the industry was dying at. It all worked together to make an interesting setting.

I also did like the magical system here. I liked how it was so tied to the success of the island. And yet the magic is subtle or maybe it's just a small part of the book because of plot reasons. But it was interesting. However I would have like a little more magic. As the book developed we learned more about the source of the magic and saw it in action and that was when I wanted more from it.

That's also kind of how I felt about the plot development here. There was a lot of exposition. A lot of set up. That was one of the main reasons I DNF'd it two years ago and it was something that I didn't like again. It's a slowly paced plot too. It plods along to a few main climaxes but it takes it's sweet time getting. I'm such a plot driven reader that I eventually hit a wall again and just wanted to skim until I found out what happened. I just wasn't invested anymore.

But I think a lot of my lack of investment with the plot came from the fact that I seriously could not connect with the romance. This is a very romance heavy book and I am so picky about my romance. To me that isn't the most compelling narrative for a book. And this is a book where the romance dictates a lot of the plot development so if you can't connect with the romance you're at a huge disadvantage. And I didn't connect with the romance. I found it cliche, full of instalove, and aggravating. It did play with the tropes a little bit towards the end but at that point I was just so dumb to it that it didn't help much.

I'm not sure why I did end up liking this a little more this time around. Maybe because I listened to the audiobook. I feel like the narrator did a really good job setting the scene which is what I liked most about the book. But I also think she did a good job with the characterization. You get much more of the emotion with the audio and that kept me interested much longer.

On the whole, Salt and Storm is an okay read. It is decent historical fantasy despite the fact that the plot development didn't work for me and I never really connected with the characters. And while I don't regret picking this up again I think this is a good example of how if I DNF a book it really isn't going to work much better for me later.

I give Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I didn't totally love this book but I think it's just not my kind of read. If you are a fan of romance narratives than check this out but if you are looking for a more plot-driven read I would not recommend this one.

Have you read Salt and Stone? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I haven't seen many reviews for this, but it does sound intriguing. Interesting review!

    1. It's a few years old actually and the blogosphere moves so fast that I'm not surprised that you haven't seen many reviews. It was definitely interesting. It didn't totally work for me but if you're intrigued, check it out.