28/11/2014

Review: The Witch of Salt & Storm {Kendall Kulper}



Written by Kendall Kulper

The only thing Avery Roe wants is to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the whalers safe at sea. But before she can learn to control her powers, her mother steals her away from her grandmother, and places a curse that forbids her from returning. Now, Avery must escape before her grandmother dies and takes the secrets of the Roe power with her. But Avery doesn't realise just how little time she has left, until the night she foresees her own murder. With time running short Avery becomes desperate to take her rightful place as the witch. After all, the Roe witch cannot be killed. And it may be Avery's only chance.

I've never really been a fan of historical fiction, so I was endlessly surprised by how much I adored The Witch of Salt & Storm!

The setting is dripping with sensory descriptions that pulled me straight into a world of magic and whaling, where I could picture the small village and it's superstition-rich islanders easily.

A key part to this is story is magic, and Kendall Kulper incorporates the legends of the Roe family through the pages wonderfully, splattering droplets of lore and Roe history in each chapter. The result is a book brimming with backstory and intricately formed legends that together make up the magic of the Roes and their importance to the people of Prince Island.

Avery is both the fiercely determined future witch, desperate to fulfil her destiny, and the naively stubborn young girl willing to defy reason at all costs. Her fear of never becoming the witch, mixed with the fear of her impending death were both flawlessly executed, and I really connected with her character.

I was also captivated by the supporting characters, particularly the other Roe women, like Avery's grandmother, and her mother – who made an interesting 'villain'. The stories of the current Roe women, mingled with the pasts of those long-dead, were all engaging and fascinating.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as keen on Tane, who was the love interest. Though I loved how magic was weaved into each of his tattoos, the romance aspect didn't quite work for me. It seemed to be nothing at all and then everything all at once, which isn't how I like my love stories. 

There's a lot to be said for a book that changes my entire opinion of a genre, and so I have to give credit to Kendall Kulper for that. Her tale of fantasy and mystical islands, puddled with an historical backdrop, piqued my interest in ways I never imagined. It was a wonderful story of love and magic, that explores sacrifice, the power of fate, and our ability to change it.

"Whispers – always, I hear the whispers. Love will lead to ruin. Death is a comfort. You cannot kill a Roe witch."

 
Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart
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36 comments:

  1. That sounds awesome! Wow. I may need to find my copy to read it sooner rather than later. :D

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  2. I think the cover is reminiscent of The Book Thief, for some reason. Maybe it's the colors used, hmm.

    I was meaning to read this sometime, but I think I should move it further up my TBR. I love it when the supporting characters actually seem like they're a supportive part of the plot, so I'm really interested to see what The Witch of Salt and Storm has to offer. It's been a while since I indulged in historical fiction so I'm looking forward to this.

    Lovely review, Allie!

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    1. I get that! The withered parchment look is definitely similar!

      The supporting characters outshined one of the main characters for me (Tane), which was nice, because I like my background characters to be just as alive as the main heroes and heroines!

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  3. Beautiful review Allie. I completely agree with everything you've said here. :) I absolutely adored this one as well - Avery was such an amazing character and I found the supporting characters to be well-developed as well. :) But, like you said, the romance was just a tad lacking. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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    1. Avery was lovely – fierce, but not overly cocky. She was just the right balance of everything. But, yeah, the romance left a lot to be desired. Which is a shame because Tane as a character wasn't BAD. It's just I didn't really buy his connection with Avery, and he only seemed to exist to be her love interest

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  4. I adore historical with a twist of paranormal so I bet I would like this every bit as much as you did!

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    1. I loved how it combined so many genres and motifs :) it was so unique in that way!

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  5. Although Avery wasn't very likable (to me), I admired her tenacity and will to fulfill her destiny. I loved the backstories too. The romance didn't work for me either. The ending was so horrifying though!! Fantastic review, Allie!!

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    1. The ending kind of broke me! I wish she hadn't left, I wanted a sequel with her on the island doing her thaaang!

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  6. Ohh yay! I have this book, and am looking forward to reading it! I didn't know that it was historical, that is good to know. It's funny how different the book itself is from yours too- completely different cover, even a different name! I do not care for name switching, it confuses me too much. Great review, I am looking forward to this one!

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    1. Yeah; I think the UK version (mine) is a lot different from the US. Sometimes they name-switch books for UK, I don't know why. Like that Robyn Robyn Schneider book 'The Beginning of Everything' is called 'Severed Heads, Broken Hearts' over here (which I prefer). I think the UK covers and titles tend to be a little better. But I'm kinda bias LOL

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  7. Fantastic review! Something about the title really appeals to me. I also usually like historical fiction (plus, magic!) so based on that alone I'd be willing to give this one a shot. It's a pity about the romance though....

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    1. Thankfully the romance wasn't bad enough to ruin the story. It was just a little bland IMO

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  8. Yes! I'm so, so glad that you enjoyed this one, Allie! I've wanted to read this one for aaaages now, and I'm so happy to hear such a positive review. This sounds like such a unique story. Definitely going to have to get a copy sooner or later. Thanks for the great review, Allie. :)

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    1. Give it a go! I wanted to read it for a while but was a little hesitant. Then I was like, ahhh, screw it. And I read it and loved it and WOW. It's such a cool fantasy with some nice lore behind it. You can tell a lot of research went into it!

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  9. YAY YOU LOVED IT, I LOVED IT, WE ALL LOVED IT! *confetttii*

    I wasn't a Tane fan either, just because I felt disconnected from him. BUT THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE ISLAND WAS ON POINT. Brilliant. Plus the secondary characters were fantastically cast. Everyone had a past filled with mystery and I loved that. (*whispers* I kind of cried at the end :O) Lovely review, Allie! <33 x

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    1. I DID, I DID, I DID!

      Tane was just . . . eh. He wasn't bad. He was just so redundant and I did not feel the chemistry. I would've preferred it if he wasn't a love interest, but hey, you can't have it all!

      Tommy though! How adorable was Tommy. I was so sad for him :(

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  10. I might actually need to get to this one now. I've been putting it off for so long now but I'm not even sure why. I like that this has strong supporting characters, it bugs me when they're not developed well.

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    1. Ohhh, don't put it off! PUT IT ON. Okay, that made no sense, but seriously: give it a read. It's a wonderful little fantasy

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  11. I recently read this book, and I completely agree with you! I'm not much of a fantasy person either, but somehow I just knew this one would work for me. I'm much more apt to like a fantasy with a historical setting - because the history takes some of the attention away from the magic and balances things out - and if it features witches - because they're human enough to make the magic seem more realistic.

    My favorite thing about this title was the plotting. Kendall Kulper is a genius at tying her plot into knots so tight that it seems as if the characters will never escape their struggles. She never takes the easy way out, which I appreciated.

    I'm so glad you liked this title, and I can't wait for more from this author!

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    1. Oh see, I love fantasy, but it's historical books I'm a bit 'eh' on. But this was kind of non-specific and more just had an historical 'feel' to it, which I think is what made me really like it. Historical books, normally, distract me with old-fashioned speech and trying to hard to adhere to conventions. I just find it boring. But not this book (thank God!)

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  12. soud like a good book ,, happy you like :)

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    1. Hope you like it too if you ever check it out!

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  13. I have a copy of this from Netgalley but haven't read it. Now I want to start it! Great review an thanks. :)

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    1. Definitely read it! I loved it so much more than I thought I would :D

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  14. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one Allie!
    I read it in the summer (but it had a much cooler cover. HA) And loved it so much. I was a bit surprised that quite a few bloggers weren't feeling this one even though I NEVER read historical fiction and this one worked for me. Guess we're just two peas in a pod.

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    1. We're two far-out peas in far-out pods, Lilykins!

      I'm more likely to dip in to some historical fiction now. We'll have to do a read-a-long when we find another one worth our time :)

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  15. The secondary characters being captivating is always an extra bonus

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  16. The vivid descriptions sound absolutely great, I love it when you can imagine everything like that. I know what you mean about the romance, it's like the author wanted a slow burning romance but still goes from zero to a hundred in like one scene. I'm intrigued by these tattoos though ;) Definitely going to check this one out.

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    1. Descriptions are the soul of a book I think. If I can't imagine the world, then I don't tend to care about it. I need to see and feel it all alongside the characters! This book definitely did that :)

      Those tattoos hehe :P

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  17. Yayy I think witchy books are getting better lately! I like how this blends fantasy and historical fiction and the lore and backstory sounds amazing. Avery sounds like a character that really resonated with you too. Lovely review Allie!

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    1. I've always loved a good witchy book. Probably, because I still wish I went to Hogwarts haha.

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  18. Yessssssss! I loved this one (I'm picky when it comes to witches/magic since there's so much and so many ways to incorporate it, and yet we usually get the same thing) so was surprised how it was used in here, and how much more elemental and natural magic, and how the town balanced on it. I actually liked the romance, and as sad as that you-know-what-part was I got over it quickly. We rated it the same. :)

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    1. Exactly – the use of elemental magic and really playing on the 'sea witch' aspect was brilliant. So much more interesting than the bog-standard and all encompassing abilities so many witches in contemporary fantasies seem to have

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