Review–Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt and Storm
by Kendall Kulper
Summary: 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.

Source: I received a digital copy from NetGalley.

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Salt and Storm had the intrigue of witches, where magic keeps the whaling economy afloat back in the days where we used whale oil for just about everything. It had so much potential, especially given that the main character wasn’t allowed to become a witch and started having dreams about her death. She was a dream teller, which was the only magical thing she could do without becoming the Roe witch.

The problem with Salt and Storm is that it was completely over the top to me. If I picture it in my head, I see a cartoon, like the Disney ones where all the adults have sinister shadows under their eyes because they aren’t to be trusted. There are different kinds of YA books and I feel like this one falls under the true YA category because it demonizes adults a bit more and the main character just follows her own whimsical instincts without thinking about consequences. Also, of course she would fail to find answers because adults are horrible, so she falls into the arms of some strange boy who promises to help her. Cue the insta-love.

I loved the idea of Salt and Storm, but I felt like it was all over the place, it dragged on in some places, and it was full of way too many tropes for me to enjoy it. It could have been thought provoking, especially because the whaling industry went south in favor of oil (plus they were running out of whales), and the Roe Witch basically kept that economy in check. But the main character never asked those kinds of important questions, so I felt like she just wanted to be a witch because that’s what she was supposed to do.

There was a little bit of a twist at the end because the author did some unexpected things, but I don’t think it was enough to save the novel for me. I do recommend the book to teens, but it doesn’t come across as a YA book that is also enjoyable for adults.


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