Salt & Storm, Kendall Kulper
September 23rd 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ebook, 416 pgs
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.
Avery Roe and her family are definitely tough chicks! Avery’s grandmother is the Roe Witch on Prince Island off the coast of Massachusetts. She is responsible for charms for safety for the islands’ whalers, for fidelity from their wives and even at times for their deaths at sea. The Roe Witch is each replaced by her daughter-they only have daughters- who let’s go of her individuality to just become the next Roe Witch. Avery’s mother has chosen to leave that path and leaves Avery behind with her grandmother. Avery is waiting for her destiny, when suddenly her mother swoops back into her life and pulls her into a “normal” home. We meet Avery when she’s living with her mother again who is trying to groom Avery into a nothing more than a marriageable young woman. Avery cannot access her own magic, with the important exception of telling fortunes based on dreams, and her mother has cursed her so that she cannot return to her grandmother’s cottage.
Avery is miserable when we meet her. As I mentioned Avery tells fortunes from dreams and she has never been wrong. When she dreams of her own murder she knows that she cannot change her fate, but she also knows that the Roe Witch cannot be murdered. She can only hope that by becoming the Roe Witch she can change what she has seen. Her determination to thwart her mother and return to her grandmother rises to a new level. I was really impressed with Avery at first. She pushed herself to the point of blackouts trying to get back to the cottage. She soon realizes how far her mother is willing to go to keep her from becoming a witch and has to reach out to friends for help. Avery lost me for a bit at this point-granted her mother was awful and I didn’t like her either-but why couldn’t she talk to her rather than act out like my 3 year-old?!
Avery meets Tane, a Pacific islander who brings the magic of his own people to Prince Island. Tane has been searching for Avery for an agenda of his own and they work out a deal to break her mother’s curse while Avery tells his dream fortunes. I loved that Kulper brought in the Pacific Islands and touched on how the whaling ships must have both influenced and terrorized their people. I thought Tane with his island magic brought a really interesting foil to Avery and her female line of witches. Even though their relationship moved a bit quickly for me, I was still touched by the romance between Avery and Tane and their hopes for each other and the determination to be together.
I loved how the island itself was part of Avery just as much as the history of the Roe women. Its a harsh life for the whalers and islanders alike and this fit so well with the fight Avery had to put up against her mother and her own fate. Though this was a book about witches it was much less about magic than it was about love and family, betrayal and sacrifice. This was about the choices made by mothers and daughters just as much as the fate of the young lovers. Avery absolutely lives up to her name and her powerful ancestors. I’m glad this was a standalone book, but I am really excited to read Kulper is writing a prequel. The Roe women were fascinating and I would love to read more stories about them-though I would definitely not like to be one of those women! Have you read Salt & Storm? If so which Roe magical gift would you like? I’m leaning towards talking in any language to any creature!
Thank you Little Brown and NetGalley for this copy in exchange for an honest opinion!