The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
|The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fabulous, earthy, vivid, dark story of love and loss and witchcraft. Loved it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: September 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Avery wants just one thing: to take her place as the witch of Prince Island. The witch who controls the winds and helps the whalers on their way. The witch whose charms on which the whole island relies. But Avery's mother, who has rejected magic, came and stole her away. Avery's prison in her mother's house is a luxurious one - there are dresses and trinkets and ponies most girls would die for. But Avery doesn't care. All she wants is to get back to her grandmother and to continue her witch's apprenticeship.
The only bit of magic still accessible to Avery is the power to interpret dreams. And Avery's dream meanings are never wrong. So when she dreams of her own murder, Avery's determination to become a fully-fledged witch becomes all the more urgent - nobody can kill the Prince Island witch, so this is the only way she can prevent her own death. With her mother's charms imprisoning her, it seems like an impossible task. But then Avery meets Tane, a tattooed boy with his own magic who swears that he can help her avoid her fate...
You know, sometimes you read a book and it gives you something entirely unexpected and that something is utterly joyful. That happened to me with The Witch of Salt and Storm. From the blurb, I was expecting a cookie-cutter YA-romance-with-witches. I would quite likely have had an ok time reading a story like that. But I had a fabulous time reading this story. Although there is a love story - and a sweet and sad one, to boot - this novel is much more than a romance. It's a fable - and a rich, earthy, vivid one, too. I loved the worldbuilding. Set on a whaling island off New England in the 1860s, it's well-researched historically-speaking. But it also has magic, which adds an otherworldly element and makes the story feel both realistic and fantastical at the same time. I loved this. You can really feel the superstitious world Kulper has created and the darkness that sometimes emanates from it.
And Kulper is not afraid to be dark. The story is claustrophobic and menacing, full of secrets and desperate attempts to evade curses and destinies. It's difficult to see how Avery can emerge from the danger unscathed. I'd better not say more, for fear of spoiling it for you. But I'll say again: I loved it.
The Witch of Salt and Storm isn't a cookie-cutter paranromal romance and it may disappoint readers who are expecting one. But for those who like a bit of darkness and danger in their stories, who understand the power of landscape and the terror of a storm; for those who like some real meat in the books they read - this is a story for them. It's strong and vital and vivid and for me, it was an unexpected delight.
If you're not looking for a cookie-cutter YA romance-with-witches and Salt and Storm appeals, you'd also love The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan. Another fabulous story from left field is The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper at Amazon.com.
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