ARC Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

18302133Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date:  September 23, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Check out on GOODREADS

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.

review

I will be killed. I will be murdered.
I have never been wrong before.

Being a huge fan of historical fantasy books, it was no surprise that I ended up being sucked into Salt & Storm. With its rich setting, interesting historical backgrounds and powerful cast of characters, I wanted nothing else but to keep flipping the pages.

The first thing that drew me into the book was the beautiful setting. I love books, movies, and everything else that are set in some sort of small village/island with its own unique culture. At times, I did feel as if I were in the island with Avery, talking to all the sailors about how their whaling businesses were going. Initially, I didn’t know anything about the whaling industry, but this book had incorporated well enough into the story that I was never confused.

We also had various explanations and tales of history–the history of the island and the history of the witches’ clan. I was completely invested in both. Normally, I would be bored out of my mind reading about how things started out, but each witch in the clan had a different story to tell, and the island had a lot of cool (I’m not sure if that’s the right adjective for it) happenings that I wanted to know about.

When it comes to characters, I’d have to say that I enjoyed reading about the side characters (Tommy and Avery’s family) a lot more than I did with the main characters (Avery and Tane). I mean, Avery did have a tough situation going on (being a strong, determined witch and all), and while it was definitely intriguing, it wasn’t engaging. At the back of my mind, I was wondering things like, How would Avery’s grandmother do this? or I wonder what Tommy’s doing now

Another complaint I have has to do with the romance. I’ve been told to expect a slow-burn romance, but I didn’t feel that. Sure, they’ve been talking a few days (weeks?) before all the romance-y and gross stuff, but they didn’t have much interaction in those times that I felt like they’ve only known each other for a few minutes. Tane’s a good guy and all, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about this romance.

On the plus side, it wasn’t only the romantic kind of relationship that was explored here. Avery had friends (er… well…), a grandmother who she really admired and respected, and a mother who she thought didn’t really love her. Each person in Avery’s life made some good and bad choices, and I’d like to tell you that these choices are realistic and easy to accept.

Kulper also isn’t afraid to take risks. I’ve read tons of books where it seems like I’ve guessed everything in the first few pages, but that totally wasn’t the case with Salt & Storm. Whenever Avery was confused and unaware, I was also confused and unaware–which is a good thing, since the twists were more surprising for me. Trust me, there are quite a few things you wouldn’t have thought would happen until they just came right at your face.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Salt & Storm to fans looking for an engaging story about witches, history, romance, friendship and family.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Impact
Opening
Climax
Ending
Overall: 3.6
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Aimee
Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.
Aimee

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  1. says

    I really liked this book! Though the romance was definitely a little rushed. Actually it was fine in the beginning, but then ALL OF A SUDDEN (you know what part I’m talking about), BOOM it happens. (Also I was confused at whether she actually was or wasn’t pregnant because it kept switching POVs from her and her mother)
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  2. says

    There’s nothing more awesome than a character who can take risks, whether good or bad. I think authors create these wishy washer vanilla type characters hoping to please everyone, but I love the bad ones that take risks even if it paints them as unstable, unlikable or the villain even. The romance sounds a little cruisy until it becomes a bit too consuming, but I’m glad it involved other non romantic relationships. I’d prefer that actually with some books. Incredible review poppet, looking forward to reading this one <3
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  3. says

    I have heard mixed things about this one but honestly just that rich setting alone makes me wanna read this book and I’ll probably do so. I really haven’t read any good book about witches in a while and I cannot wait to give this one a try. That romance sounds good but maybe not perfect. I have seen worse, though. Great review, Aimee :)
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  4. says

    I actually enjoyed this one when i read it a few months back. The romance was one of my favourite factors about it but i agree that there was one moment that just went made everything go super fast and I was like “wait!!!are we moving ahead than? Okay!” LOL that being said I did enjoy this one!
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  5. says

    I swear it’s ’cause of the setting that I finished the book! So salty and windy and just me in love. As much as I hated hearing about whales being killed, I have to admit discussions about the whaling industry was one of the more intriguing aspects for me, too. ESPECIALLY how it all affected their lifestyles as well.
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  6. says

    I absolutely love historical romance so I was super interested in this when I first heard of it! I have yet to read it, but that cover is just absolutely gorgeous and I really want to read it. And despite the romance, I will be reading this for the historical stuff so yay!
    Shannelle recently posted…ARC Review: Queen of SomedayMy Profile

  7. says

    MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY AIMEE! I loved the rich, historical setting here and just the plot itself. The romance and the side characters were a bit mediocre for me as well, but, like you said, that is made up by Kulper’s incredible risks and twists. Thanks for sharing Aimee and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
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  8. says

    Hm. I’ve seen many reviews on this book but something has kept me away from reading it. I think that if the romance is too fast-paced, the whole book is pushed down its standards. Coming from my highish standards for romance, I need it to be pitch-perfect. This doesn’t sound so good… Thanks for your awesome review, hun! <3 I'll be thinking about going for this one!
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  9. says

    I was so torn over this book. It was different and fresh, and the author did do her homework, but I never ended up caring for Avery. I didn’t like the repetition. However, I think Kulper is going to blossom and bring something new to the shelves, and I can’t wait to see her growth.
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  10. says

    Okay, I’ve never heard of this book before now, but it sure looks intriguing! A witch foreseeing her own death and setting out to change it? I’m in.
    Kind of sad the romance didn’t work out for you, though (I love slow burn. Insta love ain’t my thing) and that the main characters weren’t really the interesting characters… will put this on my maybe list :)
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