October 26, 2014

Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

salt & storm

You don’t know what you must give up to become a witch.

Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island’s sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.

Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she’s never been wrong before.

Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.

Avery walks the knife’s edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper’s sweeping debut: the story of one girl’s fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.

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Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
Publication Date:  September 23, 2014
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013Initially it was the cover for Salt & Storm that got me interested in reading author Kendall Kulper’s debut novel. After reading the synopsis I knew that I had to get reading. The premise was interesting and unlike anything I had seen before in spite of the witch-theme that the novel has. A story set on an island where a teen girl is fighting to continue her family’s legacy? That sounded pretty cool.

In Salt & Storm the main character Avery Roe has known since she was a child that the women in the Roe family are all powerful beings. Roe witches are trusted by all who inhabit Prince Island and are known for making deals with sailors in exchange for their magic. All Avery wants is to embrace what has been entitled to her since birth: to become the next Roe witch. When her mother steals her away from her life with her grandmother, the current Roe witch, new beliefs are thrust upon Avery. What she should want is a life with a wealthy husband who can give her everything her heart desires be it material or otherwise. What Avery knows she wants is to unleash the power deep within.

Then she meets Tane—a stranger and sailor with foreign magic she can’t quite understand. With her mother’s own magic trying to keep her apart from her grandmother and embracing her birthright, Avery joins forces with Tane to become the Roe witch. From then on Salt & Storm is a story about first loves, magic and family secrets that test the limits between wants and needs.

Plot-wise, Salt & Storm is great It’s a story that is unique in its own way and doesn’t give a clear indication of just what will happen next. The entire story is a mystery of what may or may not be and what choices will impact the end result. A bit of magic and romance is always everybody’s cup of tea, add dark family secrets and some harsh realities—who wouldn’t want that?

The character in Salt & Storm are all very unique in their own ways. No two characters share the same personalities. Even the island itself could be considered a character. The people around Avery as she maneuvers through the story all give Salt & Storm an amazing supporting cast. Characters like Tane, Avery’s grandmother and Avery’s mother all add emotional depth to the story while keeping the pace along. I was always left wanting more of a character after they left the scene.

I’ve only had two problems with Salt & Storm while reading. My first would be the writing-style. While it is lyrical and descriptive it also grew very confusing at times. The prose is heavy and makes reading a bit distracting and difficult to get used to at first. The transitions between flashbacks and current events weren’t very clear.

The second would be the pacing of the novel. I’m sure that while the writing heavily impacted this, the pace was awkward. Some parts of the novel had me on the edge of my seat and others left me bored as I turned through pages waiting for the next big peak in the plot. Needless to say, I wish that the pacing in Salt & Storm had been more consistent as it definitely would have made my experience a lot better.

I would recommend Salt & Storm to readers who are looking for a novel that is original in its entirety. Any readers who want some historical fiction with magic mixed in should also definitely give it a shot. To any readers who want a novel with a romantic side-plot, this is probably also something that should be added to your to-be-read list/bookshelf/stack/whatever. Happy reading!


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.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Braine

    Very interesting, I like the witchy parts but from your description of the narrative, I think I’ll get bored by it. Heavy prose, inconsistent pace, perfect set up for a DNF in my case.

    Thanks for reading it for me though, curiosity is sated & I can say that this book isn’t for me.

    Happy Sunday!

  2. Megan McDade

    I have only heard a little about this book but it sounds interesting. Its not my usual type of read but I think I will add it to my TRL

  3. Georgia B

    Sounds really cool, I agree the cover does look really nice. The element of witchcraft sounds cool; it’s been a while since I read a book with witches in :)

  4. I’ve been meaning to read this one, but I keep putting it off for some reason. Good to know that the pacing isn’t great. It’s hard when you love a book for a while and then are bored, and then back to loving it. Still definitely want to pick this one up eventually, though.

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