Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 with 13 comments
Title: Salt & Storm
Author: Kendall Kulper
Series: n/a (at this time, but a prequel is in the works)
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

Ahem. Well, this book turned out to be not at all what I was expecting. And I don't mean that in a bad way, unexpected one. These days, I pretty much skim summaries of books as I'm adding them to my TBR, only scanning for keywords like assassin or pirate or tattooed harpoon boy. So, when I saw the cover for this book and spotted that last keyword(s) in the synopsis, I immediately assumed it was about pirates because duh, I thought that was a sailor's knot on the front.

Turns out, it's a witch's knot, part of a trio of them significant to this story, in fact. Yep, it appears that this book is about whaling and witches, not pirates. No big deal...witches can be just as awesome, if not more so, than pirates. And believe me when I tell you that the family of witches in this story have quite the history. I loved how they passed on their magic, how they came into their magic, and how hard Avery fights to unlock her own magic. But I'll let you discover those things on your own.

Salt & Storm is a story about magic, true, but it is also a story of love and sacrifice, of which there is a ton in this book. The Roe Witch protects Prince Island with her magic, and Avery believes this is a great honor. However, it is an honor to some and a curse to others, but either way, it is a responsibility that comes with great sacrifice. And as Avery learns more about this sacrifice, learns more about the two Roe witches who came before her and what they have given up, she finds herself with something she's unwilling to lose for the first time in her life.

Or, I should say someone. What starts out as a deal, one that is mutually beneficial to both Tane (the aforementioned tattooed harpoon boy) and Avery, ends in a love story that just about broke my heart. Tane is a foreigner, on the island with a docked whaling ship, but he's been searching for Avery. Even with her magic locked away, Avery still has a very special gift, one that could help Tane wreak the vengeance he so desires. But as the two work together, they grow closer. I loved the romance that was slowly blossoming between these two because it was careful and cautious and sweet, with Avery dead-set against even liking Tane. But it didn't take too long for his open and honest manner to win her over. Hell, he won me over pretty much from the start, but Avery is a VERY stubborn girl.

I think that first line of the summary is probably all you really should know going into this story: "A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future." I mean, I had the wrong story altogether in my head when I set out to read this book, and I ended up loving it, if that tells you anything. The book isn't for the faint of heart: it's going to tug at your heart-strings, make you ponder what sacrifices you'd be willing to make yourself, and make you reconsider what you really value in life. It reevaluates the mother-daughter relationship in a brutal way and reopens generations and generations of old wounds and heartache. But it is beautiful and magical and tragic and completely lovely. I'm glad I didn't know what I was getting with this story because it took me by surprise in the best way possible...and also the worst. I didn't cry, but it made me want to for all that was lost but also for all that was gained.

Also of note, I'm a huge nerd and love to read the Author's Note when probably everyone else just skips it. I like seeing what they have to say about the research that went into the book and what allowances they made, etc. And I really liked Kendall Kulper's Author's Note. The writing was stunning and lyrical and Kendall made this half fantastical, half historical world come alive with her words. And now I want more of this world, so I guess it's a good thing that she's working on another story set before Salt & Storm. Prequels are usually iffy for me, but in this case, it makes a ton of sense for her to go back in time rather than to move forward.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Kendall Kulper is the author of SALT & STORM, a Young Adult historical fantasy to be published by Little, Brown in September 2014. She grew up in the wilds of New Jersey and currently lives in Boston with her economist husband, Dave, and Abby, her chronically-anxious Australian Shepherd.

Find Kendall:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr


  1. So I skimmed some of your review because I'm reading this right now and am scared to read a review thoroughly (I knew you wouldn't include spoilers) :)
    I'm loving it so far though, and am glad to hear you liked it. I love witch books and am fascinated now hat there seems to be an influx of them!

    -Dee @ Dee's Reads

  2. I'm really glad to hear you liked this one. I too saw certain key words and grabbed it up, and I've been a bit hesitant to start it. But from your views, I think it's something I'd rather enjoy.

  3. I'm currently reading this and the writing is phenomenally lyrical. Tbh, I'm a tad iffy about the whole whaling situation--it's an odd one, I never thought the day would come in YA. But the writing has me hooked, and I'm excited to see this one unfold!

  4. I'm so glad you liked this one! I adoreee the cover. Like, seriously. Its amazing. I think I'll like S+S. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Jackie @ No Bent Spines

  5. THAT COVER THOUGH. And I skimmed the synopsis too and I'm glad I read your review or I'd be a little confused as well, ha! It sounds amazing though. I love hearing about YA families, but it's even more interesting because they're witches. Ah, I can't wait to read this!

  6. Oh so much more excited about this one now. I am the same way... skim the summary add to tbr. By the time I read them, I can't remember what they are about or why I wanted to read them. I blame it on the rate of book releases. I can't keep up. I love witch stories though especially when told in a historical setting. It makes it more authentic to me. Oh and I read the authors notes too. Love the Gif. My heart belongs to Wesley.

  7. Yay!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I skimmed your review since I JUST started reading S&S this morning. I am really looking forward to continuing now! Wonderful review :)

  8. SO excited about this one! laughed when. I got to the part where you said you skim summaries (or if I've read them I forget them by the time I start reading.
    Really can't wait!!

  9. I only peeked at your rating because I just started this book, but I'm glad to see your 4 stars! I"m enjoying it very much so far. I met the author at a LB event at ALA and I'm looking forward to continuing.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  10. hrm, I'm so unsure if I'll like this one or not...but we tend to agree on books so you enjoying it makes me think I would too. I totally skim summaries too these days!

  11. I LOVE THE AUTHOR'S NOTE. And I cannot wait to read this. That one sentence description totally sold me. I can't wait for the historical aspects and magic. Great review!

  12. BAHAHA, your keywords are great. I do the same thing, so I'm glad I'm not alone in that respect.

  13. I'm excited for this one and plan on starting soon. Witch stories are usually iffy for me--although j I always love the idea of them--but this one is getting some great early buzz. I'm glad you enjoyed this, but I'm nervous to hear that it really focuses on sacrifice and heart string pulling. Great review!


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