Book Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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 don’t know that I would necessarily agree with Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn, but I guess it’s the best comparison description there is. There are small pieces of each in it. I definitely enjoyed the book a lot more once it picked up, but if you’re planning on reading Blood and Salt be prepared to wade through a lot exposition and set up until about page 200.
Like I said, I really enjoyed the book. It is different from a lot of other YA books I’ve read although I know there are more and more YA books being written that could fall into a horror sub-genre if you had to categorize them. I hadn’t read a YA horror book before, so the experience was refreshing.
Something that I really appreciate from an author, and I especially did from Kim Liggett was her ability to portray imagery. I thought Liggett did this very nicely. One of my favorite lines was this description of a tree that becomes important in the story:
“It’s branches spilled to the ground like an overfilled champagne glass.”
If you are familiar with other reviews of mine, you know that character development and being able to connect with those characters on an emotional level, is something that is extremely important to me in a novel. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen with any of the characters in Blood and Salt. Despite the fact that we, as readers, spend a lot of time in Ash’s (the main character) head I feel as though we find out very little about who she is as a person, emotionally, because we are often spending a lot of time finding out about other characters through the flashbacks that Ash is having. Since this is meant to be a duology, it would be my hope that Liggett would be able to continue to develop her characters in the follow-up.
I have started doing something as I read that I didn’t used to do. I have started trying to predict what characters will do and where storylines might go. I was pleasantly surprised with this book that I was wrong on most counts, which is always appreciated.
Ash – Ash had her good moments and her bad moments. There were times I found her to be interesting. She could be strong and stubborn and could take charge,
but there were also times that she was whiny and weak. I think the part that I found most irritating was that she flip-flopped back and forth between being these two people throughout the book, there is no arc where she went from being one and grew into the other, which, I suppose, makes her human. It will be interesting to see how Liggett develops her character.
Rhys – Rhys is Ash’s brother. I found Rhys very one-dimensional. However, based on the way the book ended, I think there is potential for his character to
become really interesting in the next book.
Beth – The secondary characters in this book are probably the most interesting, especially Beth and Dane. I’ll get to Dane in a second. Beth has an air of mystery surrounding her the minute you meet her. She acts as, sort of, the translator for Ash and Rhys when they discover this community they enter in order to try and find their mother. She is considered something of an outsider within the community, so she sees and understands things that all the others seem to miss. Beth is really the only character that I found that has a true character arc as well.
Dane – He’s similar to Beth in that you’re never really sure what’s going on with him. He’s likable and charming, and, as a female reader, I was easily drawn to him, but I also never fully trusted him either. I’m especially curious to see how his character is going to develop in the next book.
I give Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett a C-. It gets this rating mainly because I was able to stick with it in order to get to the really good parts, but it took a really long time to get there. There was a definite lack of character development, and my inability to connect with the characters on an emotional level was probably what made it hard for me to really get into the book. But, it did have its good qualities. The imagery was enticing, and kept me reading, and the fact that it was unpredictable made me really enjoy it.