Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt & Storm
Kendall Kulper
Salt & Storm
Kendall Kulper
Published: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Demographic: YA Historical Fantasy
Pages: 416

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.

To PreOrder Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper 
please visist: Amazon & B&N

(I received an eGalley of Salt & Storm from the publisher's via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided here on the blog and on Goodreads.)

Beautifully written and hauntingly bittersweet, Salt & Storm , will captivate you with its imaginative world and memorable characters. For a debut young adult historical paranormal world, based on loose facts surrounding whaling in the late 1860's, Kendall Kulper knocked it out of the park. There was never a moment when I was bored or uninterested in what was going on in Avery's world. The pain and heartache that went along with her sacrifice at wanting to become the witch, tore at my heart and made me ache with the desperate longing that she felt. You cannot imagine a life so filled with pain, loss, terror, and heartache, such as the one created here. 

I fell in love with the history and life that Kulper breathed into the world of whaling, the lifestyle the townspeople lead, and the history of the Roe Witches on Prince Island. It was deeply rich and incredibly intriguing, watching the the events take place through Avery's eyes, and aching while she longed to get back to her grandmother and that little cottage that her mother took her away from. I was completely fascinated by the fishermen and their superstitions and the lengths they would go to in order to obtain some charm or form of magic that would keep them safe and ensure that they brought back a bountiful amount of goods. In a genre so full of readily available paranormal stories of witches that heavily focuses on the magical aspects, this story was unique in the way that Avery would have to experience insurmountable pain in order to become the witch she was destined to be. It gave this dark chilling fantasy an interesting and original edge, that it needed to keep me buried in the pages. 

Avery is a little different, in the fact that she's a plucky, quick-witted, and determined young woman. She knows that she was born to be the next witch to care for Prince Island and all of the people who live there. She also knew that her mother had put a curse on her, when she had taken away from her grandmother, that was so strong that it wouldn't allow her to return and it would keep anyone from being able to help her. Filled with rage and hatred for her mother, she will stop at nothing in order to ensure that she becomes the next witch and to break her mother's curse, so she can get back to her grandmother. Able to read dreams and tell people their future, she soon meets a beautiful dark skinned man with tattoo's she later discovers hold magical powers of their own. 

Tane is filled with rage, pain, and revenge brewing deep inside of him. Half-dead and on a mission to seek out and kill every man possible that slaughtered his family and destroyed his own island, he is told by this shaman that he will meet a witch and she will be able to help him. That witch is Avery and when he first approaches her to read his dreams and tell his future, he tests her, which does little more than annoy her. Later on down the line, when she is desperate enough and he has convinced her that he will be able to help her break her mother's curse, the two make a bargain with one another. She'll read his dreams and tell his future and he will set about helping her to break the curse. These two were wonderful to read about, with their witty banter, the frustration, the attraction, and the love that poured forth from them were amazing. One of the things that I personally loved, was getting to see Avery through Tane's eyes, and seeing her become the strong woman that he kept telling her she was.

Where Kulper really impressed, was the relationship between Avery and her mother, and the reason her mother had taken her away from her grandmother and that little cottage Avery longed to get back to. It wasn't until closer to the end of the novel that I decided that I didn't hate Avery's mother as much as her mother hated herself. I could see why she had done the things that she did out of love and protection for her daughter, even though it was hard for Avery to see that for herself. Those last few moments Avery spent with her mother, were some of my favorite moments in the book itself. It was just beautifully written and filled with so much bittersweet pain and sorry. The sacrifice that her mother ended up making for her at the end, definitely caused me to tear up a bit. Sweet pain and misery is how you become the witch, there is no choice at the end of the day, your future is set and whatever is going to happen will eventually happen. It was wonderful to see that the Kulper brought this point home in such a poignantly and embittered way. 

Salt & Storm is a wonderfully intense novel, that is just as gorgeous and wonderfilled, as the poetic lyrical way the Prince Island and the sea were illustrated. If you enjoy novels where the author doesn't shy away from putting their characters through sheer hell, then this is the book that you should be reading. I would strongly recommend it, if you enjoy historical paranormal fantasies, that are dark, illusive, dangerous, and full of twists and turns. It was truly one of my favorite reads this year and it is definitely on my auto-buy list, once it's released.

Kendall Kulper

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.

Don't forget to check out her Tumblr, as well!!!


  1. I cannot wait to read this one! Great review!
    New follower :)
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. Wow, great review. I really want to read this, especially when it's obviously such a strong character-driven novel with great writing. Tane & Avery's relationship sounds intriguing....Historical Fantasy is such a cool genre. BTW, love your blog layout. :)

    Axie @ Books are Bread

  3. You gave me such a GREAT sense of what the characters and setting are like, who they are, and what to expect from this book. I haven't read any reviews of it so far, so it's awesome to see such a positive one. This makes me really want to read it!

    1. Aw, thank you so much. I was hoping to be able to draw more people in with my review of this book. <3 I'm glad that you want to read it, I hope that you end up liking it as much as I did.


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