Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Book Review: Salt And Storm by Kendall Kulper
Avery Roe (who has a totally anachronistic name) is a witch -- sort of. Her female family line (grumble... it resembles way too closely the set up I have in my Nerissa MacKay novels, so now people will think I stole the idea from Kulper.) has been sea witches on a small island filled with whalers for many years. But Avery was stolen from her grandmother (who would have trained her) by her mother, who is a witch of a different kind (the real kind, the kind that is often spelled with a "B" instead of a "W.").
Avery is a total drama queen and throws major hissy fits about everything, especially about not being able to get back to her grandmother. Eventually, even though Avery is short, unattractive, and a very unpleasant person, Tane, the exotic, tatooed sailor (who has waaaay too much free time, even though the boat is being repaired) from an island near New Zealand falls in love with her and gives her a tattoo. Predictably, this allows her to use her magic, free herself from her mother, and have a big climactic scene that only needs Ursula the Sea Witch to be complete.
In spite of everything, she goes back to her mother -- mostly just so her mom can explain herself. This, however, could have been done effectively by Mal, the good-guy sea captain and rejected lover, so it's kind of pointless. Also, the mother's return to witchhood is out of character.
Thus, although it's missing the love-triangle element, it's pretty typical YA paranormal.
In fact, it would have been a completely boring read with irritating and hatable characters, but it is saved by the setting.
Kulper has really done her research -- and it shows. The island, the time period (except for Avery's name), the weather, the whaling -- it feels real. THIS is what kept me reading to the end.
Other good news: this is a stand-alone novel. The end does NOT just leave you hanging for another volume to come.