Salt & Storm

Salt & Storm

Salt & Storm

by Kendall Kulper

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: September 23, 2014
by Little, Brown Books




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.


One of my most anticipated reads of this fall, I was rather impressed by the end result of Salt and Storm. While it certainly wasn’t perfect, the novel is definitely one of the better witch books I have read and I found it to be a really original take on the genre.

Avery Roe’s family has been the witches that control Prince Island for generations, and now it’s almost Avery’s turn to take on the job. The only problem? Her mother has forbidden her to practice magic or become a witch. Until one night she has a haunting dream:

Because I could read dreams and I knew what it meant to dream I was a whale, to dream of men trapping me, hunting me, piercing me with harpoons and leaving me to drown in my own blood.

I will be killed. I will be murdered.

I’ve never been wrong before.

It’s this dream that convinces Avery that time is running out for her to claim her spot as the island’s witch…or die trying.

Avery is a solid protagonist. She isn’t perfect, but she was still very relatable. For her whole life, Avery’s mom has forbidden the one thing she yearns for – magic; forcing her instead into a world of class and money. You can really sympathize for her as you feel how this impacts and stifles a lady who is so headstrong and independent.

Sadly, however, I found her romance with tatooed foreigner Tane to be a bit mediocre. It was sweet enough, but I wasn’t quite as invested as I wish I could have been.


View Spoiler » I can see how it might have been a strong point for many readers, but I wasn’t able to click with it. I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly I felt this way, but my indifference definitely had a rather negative impact on my overall feelings towards the novel.

All in all, Salt and Storm is a solid debut and there is quite a lot to like here. The originality of the plot makes it shine in a unique way, and the heart-breaking ending is sure to provoke some feels.


38 thoughts on “Salt & Storm

    1. YEAH! Review twinsies! 😉 I completely agree Ella. It could have been rather heartbreaking when [spoiler]Tate died, but since he told Avery his dream and she deciphered what was going to happen, that make it kind of obvious, you know? 😐 Because we all know she wouldn’t kill of Avery, right? :|[/spoiler] And you live in New Zealand, right? That’s so cool she based it off of your culture! 😀

      AND YEAH! Thanks for the tag too Ella! <3

  1. ZOE!!!

    I’m so sorry I’ve been slacking off on commenting lately; life is being an insufferable piece of crap. 🙁 But hopefully I’ll be better at stopping by even during my semi-hiatus (commenting is a form of relaxation too, no? ;D)! Anyway, I’m happy that Salt & Storm was mostly good for you, especially since it was one of your most anticipated reads of the year. I think what impresses me most is how you were able to feel the sense of urgency in the novel. I don’t know, but most of the “suspenseful” books I read aren’t all that suspenseful… You can tell that time is a huge factor, but you can’t actually feel it, you know? So being able to actually feel the desperation of the situation is a huge plus for me!

    And holy wow, that quote. Talk about intense. O_O

    I don’t have high hopes for romances to begin with, so I guess if I ever read this book, I won’t be too disappointed with the mediocrity, haha. And of course she falls for the tattooed stranger. *rolls eyes* But it’s great that Avery was such an easy character to connect to.

    Lovely review as always, girl!

  2. I totally with you! Kulper’s world building was fab. It’s been so long since I’ve read a standalone in the genre and overall, I was quite impressed.

    But you’re so right about the romance. I could care less, honestly. It was sweet and everything but…I was just not as emotionally invested as I normally would be (or even emotionally invested to really give a care ,you know?)

    Fabulous and thoughtful review, Zoe!! <333 xxx

  3. I love all these witchy novels lately, it sounds amazing! The world building sounds really interesting with the co-dependency there. So many things could go wrong. I’m glad the author took the time to talk about the history as well.

    Sounds like a really great book – even though the romance was disappointing. Lovely review as always Zoe!

  4. Most witch books leave me feeling lukewarm, so I’m relieved to learn that Kulper delivered in that department. Aside from your gripes about the romantic elements, the world-building and magics seem to have hit their mark which is enough to get me to read this one.

  5. Yes, I totally get how you’re feeling. Sometimes, theres nothing all that wrong with the book apart from the fact that it’s missing that ‘connection’.

    Lovely review, Zoe <33

  6. Loved your review because I love how honest it is. I am glad that overall you really liked this even if the romance was lacking at times. I love a good book about witches and I really think with all the reviews I have been seeing on this lately, it is one I need to try.

  7. I loved the romance (which is weird, since I usually don’t)but loved the way elemental magic was portrayed in here, it felt more like a physical being than just you know, magic. So that was different and fun to see. And yeah,you can see how easily that deal was outbalanced, and loved that you could see it deteriorate as the story went along. Considering there’s not much going on in the first half, I couldn’t stop reading, and that in itself makes the way it was written great. 🙂

  8. I see this book a lot these days. I’m quite intrigued because the reviews are good! It’s been a while since I read a real witch book and I miss that! I think I’ll have to keep this one in mind. I’m glad you had a good time. Thanks for the great review!

  9. Okay, first of all I LOVE YOUR RATING SYSTEM!!
    The thing about Salt and Storm is that I’ve gone off main characters predicting their own impending doom (yes, it makes me very tense and anxious about how they’ll overcome it…but it’s so easy…)…I don’t know…maybe I’m leaning into contemporaries this month (do you have monthly reading swings too? I swear…it’s almost biological…I MUST be a bookworm now). The cover looks awesome too… and I have to admit the title sounds SO cool.

  10. Gah! You make me want to read it actually. XD I’m always a bit iffy when it comes to witchy books, but then I adored Half Bad and Trial By Fire soooo…I’M IN. Although the romance does sound seriously bland. But ticking clocks?! LOVE. I love it when a book has a serious sense of urgency. 🙂

  11. Great review Zoe! I’d seen this book around quite a lot in the interwebs and on goodreads, so it did pique my interest. It’s interesting how now many of the YA supernatural/paranormal novels being released are going down the witch route rather than werewolves or vampires. Apart from the mediocre romance, the worldbuilding and main character sound interesting, so I might give this one a go if I have the chance. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS BOOK FOREVERRRRR. I’m so excited that I’ll be able to buy it soon…the only dilemma is, US hardcover, or UK paperback? Both are gorgeous! I’ve always loved YA witch books, as the WICCA series by Cate Tiernan was one of my first YA series that I read, and I fell in love with it, so they hold a soft spot in my heart. I’m glad to hear that overall, this is an enjoyable novel, and an original take on witches. I’m sorry to hear that the romance was mediocre and that you just couldn’t quite connect to the novel – fantastic review nevertheless. <3

  13. This is one book I’ve very curious about (and will read) but the ratings are so low on Goodreads! I do love witch books and if you say that this is one of the best you’ve read then HELL YEAH! 😉 Also, the world-building sounds good. Not invested in the romance? Bouuu

    Great review, Zoe! 😀

  14. Oh yay! I am glad you liked this book. I have gone back and forth with wanting to read it, I am a bit wary of the whole “witch” thing. I love that the protagonist is relatable (that totally makes or breaks a book for me!) and that the world building was good. And that quote.. my goodness, I definitely am going to need to read it! Great review!

  15. I have had this for a while now, and really should hurry up and get to it but I’d been nervous to read it. I was just worried I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I also thought it was another start to a series, so I am happy that it’s actually a standalone. Your review has made me more excited to read it because I don’t feel like it’s going to disappoint me too much. I was expecting an okay read and it seems like that’s what this is.

  16. I’m glad you did like it at least! I know I thought that the romance between the two came also out of nowhere, that I think it was due to magic. But I loved the setting of the whole book, though that ending was super bleak haha.

  17. I’ve seen quite a few 3-star reviews on Salt and Storm recently — and from reviewers I trust. So, I’m not in a hurry to read this, unfortunately. Though the witchy and whaling history is both rich and unique, I need more than just an interesting backdrop in my books. I’ve heard it takes a while to connect with the characters, and this is the biggest reason why I’m hesitant to invest my time here. Plus, the romance doesn’t sound particularly memorable or swoon-worthy. I think I’ll pass.

    Thanks for your honest thoughts, Zoe! You’ve helped me make up my mind about this book. 🙂

  18. It’s so refreshing to see that when your life’s on the line, it’s about time that characters actually panic, or the sense of urgency as you described. The world is ending, so the first thing I do is find a love interest and spend the rest of my days in a teen drama haze. Yeah, right. This is a breath of fresh air! The romance sounds a bit naff though. Fabulous review Zoe <3

  19. I agree, this was book was definitely different! I wasn’t too sold on the romance either and being an HEA kinda girl the ending wasn’t my cup of tea. Glad you were able to enjoy this book, though, Zoe. I haven’t been too impressed with the few witch books I’ve read, but like you said this was for sure one of the better ones. Great review!

    Also: Happy Belated Birthday! <3

  20. Hey girl! I’ve totally been horrible at commenting lately on your blog and I do apologize, have been reading all of your reviews though.

    I believe this is the first time we’ve read a book and disagreed 😮 Lol. I rated this one 2.5.

    I actually didn’t mind the romance surprisingly. In fact it was one of the more interesting things in the story for me. I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters sadly. I came into this one also excepting magic and awesomeness, and Avery really didn’t grow into her powers till the end. It was more of a journey to that and I found that journey to be dull tbh. Also felt like nothing was happening a lot of the time

    The writing was odd to me. I liked its descriptiveness and though it really evoked the mood and setting. However, on the flip side I would find it dragging and that it slowed down the pace. I sometimes found it too descriptive and flowery. It was really hard for me to find the drive to continue reading.

    Lovely review Zoe though c: Glad you enjoyed this one more than me haha. One day we’ll find that perfect witch book.

  21. I’m super happy Zoe that this one worked for you and you enjoyed it overall! I felt burnt out of witches before read Salt & Storm but after it i remembered why I loved witch stories! I for one loved the romance but can see how it may not be for everybody. Wonderful review 🙂

  22. New take on the witches! You gimme that. I really need something new there as every witch book I have read was either with them being freaky and scary or angels. So yeah. But this one seems different. Even though I don’t like the sound of romance here well it seems like a story worth reading.

    Amazing review, Zoe! 🙂

  23. Oh I love witch books and this one has been catching my eye. Seems liek many people are really enjoying it. I love the intensity this one seems to have.And the world building and witch lore sound very interesting, too! Great review, hun!

  24. Aww, I’m sorry that the romance was such a let down. I enjoy romance in books but I’m now swaying towards the ‘if it’s not needed, don’t bother including it’ group. So often it’s just there to attract a certain group of readers, and it’s such a waste of paper.

    I’ve been looking forward to this book all year as well, so I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it overall! I haven’t read a witch book this year yet, so I will have nothing to compare it to. Hopefully I enjoy it just as much! Wonderful review as always Zoe <3

  25. Salt and Storm sounds original and interesting, Zoe. I always enjoy stories that are a little different from the norm of their genre, it just makes me more enthusiastic about everything.
    I’m adding this to my TBR, even if the romance wasn’t as good as you had hoped. Excellent review!

  26. I think I would rather enjoy a more original take on witches with a good world building, since I haven’t read a good witch book by far. Also, witch lore! This one was on my TBR but I completely forgot about it until your review.

    Although the meh romance is a bit of a disappointment, I have my hopes up. Hoping to read it soon. Lovely review as always! 😀

  27. Gahhh this book hurt. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I was expecting it to be awful but it was actually not bad. I gave it the same rating. I didn’t expect that spoilery thing to happen because books usually have happy endings. And this one didn’t. I got pretty mad at that darn ending… I found the sacrifice that the witches had to give up pretty scoff-worthy. Seriously?! It kind of just doesn’t make sense. I loved the world-building too and found the romance to be lackluster. Lovely review, Z <3

  28. I’ve heard so many good things about this book! I’m glad you enjoyed it very well. I actually didn’t want to read it because the cover didn’t impress me, but then now you’ve convinced me enough to take a look through it. Thanks for the lovely review! And I definitely agree with the points you say in your review 🙂

  29. Sounds like there is a lot of suspense in this one, which is always a good thing! I’ve been looking forward to this book as well, especially since I haven’t really read a good witch book. Also liking the sound of the world building, but not so much the romance. I think I will give this a try though!

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