Friday, 5 September 2014

Review: The Witch of Salt & Storm

The Witch of Salt and Storm
Publication Date: September 4th 2014        
Publisher: Orchard Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother - the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic - steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe's power.

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches' help to thrive.

Avery has never read a dream that hasn't come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance.

A sweeping romance with a spellbinding twist - from a talented new voice in YA fiction.

I'll start by saying I don't regret reading The Witch of Salt and Storm- and kudo's if you read it and get that reference, and I'm just going to go put on The Cure and go cry for a while because I do not accept how it ended. Nope. Nope. Nope. It didn't, okay? Okay, it's not that painful, honest. But the thing is, the symbolism in here is just ahhhhhhhhh, everything you think is going to happen, happens, just not in the way you (or Avery for that matter) imagined it would happen so it just pulls you along with the emotional waves .

From the beginning of the story you know two things.

1) Avery is telling the story after.
2) Avery dreams her own death.

(This isn't spoilers since 2) is in the synopsis and 1) is the first page. So don't worry.)
Years ago, Avery's mother came back and took her from her life with the Roe Witch, her grandmother. Her mother not wanting to have anything to do with magic (which, is quickly hypocritical when you find out the reason why Avery can't leave and go back to her grandmother) and not wanting Avery have anything to with magic she thinks she can shield her from her birth right- even at the risk of the whole Prince Island.

Prince Island runs on the faith of the Roe Witch, cast spells over items that can initiate romance, love, pieces of rope into bracelets, cast on ships to protect the crew from drowning among other things, even the market. Since Avery was pulled away from her grandmother, slowly, Prince Island is becoming undone. When it comes to this genre, I always love to see the different types of power and magic is done, because there is so much you can do with it. With The Witch of Salt and Storm the way the magic is woven into the story was seamless, it wasn't the type of magic that's over-the-top-witchy-magic, but more of a nature and elemental magic.
There's no doubt a lot of research went into The Witch of Salt and Storm, it's rich and descriptive and brings to the story what it should: image. I don't know anything about whaling, so I'm not even going to try on that, but if anything is a little off, then I wouldn't notice anyway. There's an author's note in the back that's worth mentioning and reading too, along with the history and the research into whaling, there's an in-depth section on Tane's tribe, although fictional there's some interesting facts taken from the history of some tribes, mainly compared to New Zealand and the Maori's

I mentioned the symbolism, and I don't just mean the symbolism in the dreams and how they become reality, but the symbolism of the way it happens, and the symbolism of magic and power that comes from emotions and pain and it's a huge part of the story and pulls the story where it had to go, where it had to end and  leaves nothing untied.
I'm purposely straying away from the romance because well, you'll see. You have to see.

The Witch of Salt and Storm is a beautifully crafted story from determination to love and intricate magic. From blood and pain and ultimately, finding who you are after everything you thought you know. About accepting and letting go of a dream.
Rating: 4/5