Welcome to my stop on the Penguin Blog Tour for Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett! I am so, so excited to be participating in this tour, because I have been excited for this book since about the first minute I heard about it. Good news, it absolutely lived up to my expectations and then some. True story: I finished the book, and went to Goodreads to complain that it was over and I wanted more, when at the exact same time, the sequel was being put on Goodreads. I don’t know if this is fate, or an eerie Blood and Salt-esque coincidence, but I don’t care because I am excited!Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt, #1) by Kim Liggett
Series: Blood and Salt #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 22nd 2015
Source:BEA, Copy provided by publisher for review
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.
I confess, this book had me from the opening line. Because when you open with this, there’s no way I am putting the book down. I mean, that escalated quickly, right? That is the first thing I loved about this book: it jumped right into the action. There was no meandering until we got to the “good part”, because the whole book was the good part. I will admit, this made me a little apprehensive in the beginning, because I thought it would lack adequate backstory, but there are lots of ways that the backstory is incorporated that make it work very, very well.
Let’s discuss some of the things I loved about this book!
- Cults. I have a “thing” for cults. The thing is that I freaking love them. Let me rephrase that, I don’t love them as in “I’d like to join one”, I am just so, so fascinated by them. I just want to know how things get so out of hand, and how otherwise stable, intelligent people get caught up in such business. The whole psychological process of a cult is complex and unique, and I love trying to figure out how it all came to be, and of course, how it will all end. Quivira is so, so creepy. Creepier than most, really, because there’s a supernatural element to it which adds to the mystery. Quivira also has roots, strong roots, from centuries ago. This is a cult dynamic that I hadn’t read about before, and it absolutely upped the creep factor, because I feel like when you throw in anything from centuries ago, it tends to make the skin crawl a bit.
- The characters were fabulous and realistic. See, one thing that can usually throw me off in a paranormal/mystery book is when the characters just jump into the action and accept everything at face value. Not so here. Yes, Ash is more willing to accept it, but she’s also seeing dead girls in her kitchen, so that makes sense. Rhys, Ash’s twin brother, is having none of it. I love a healthy skepticism, it fosters realism, and Rhys has it in droves. He also has a fabulous humor that he brings to the table, which lightens the tone from time to time. Even as Ash tries to convince Rhys that the happenings in Quivira are real, he resists, and with charm:
Ash: “What if you’re wrong? What if this is all real? And aren’t you the slightest bit curious about our dad?”
Rhys: “I’m curious about the Loch Ness Monster too, but you don’t see me going to Scotland with a harpoon!”
But it isn’t just Ash and Rhys that are great. There are a lot of people in Quivira who I connected to instantly, some I was on the fence about, some I did not like. Dane, the love interest, falls in one of those categories, but I am absolutely not telling you which.
- The plot is incredibly unique. Seriously, I have never read anything like this before, and I think that says a lot. I mean, when you read at least a hundred books a year, it takes quite a bit to feel fresh, but Blood and Salt has that special something that hasn’t been done before. I will say that there were a few points that were slightly predictable, but not the plot itself, just a few things here and there. Overall, I was wondering what could be happening next, because there were just no guarantees in Quivira.
- The writing was so, so atmospheric. I could picture Quivira so vividly, it was almost frightening. It was a chilling setting, and one I was completely immersed in. I absolutely love when I feel like I can “see” the settings in a book, and wow, could I ever in this one! Even some of the smaller, more relaxed scenes, I felt like I could visualize so clearly.
Bottom Line: I want to flail a bit more, I do. But alas, you must read for yourself so I do not spoil anything. Blood and Salt is unique and chilling while still being full of romance, family, and life lessons. It’s the kind of book that has something for every reader, and I will be anxiously waiting for the sequel!
Hardcover Copy of Blood and Salt (US Only)
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