Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

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“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.

Remember that episode of the Twilight Zone with the kid who could wish people into the cornfield? Well imagine if he wrote a book. I hope y’all like cornfields, because there are a lot of them here. The major issues the book has is that the author tries to explain a lot without actually explaining anything. There were several points that I was deeply confused as to who was doing what in what vision and what was going on. The book starts out giving every impression that it’s going to be an intense horror novel, but then it forgets the horror and starts hitting all the general YA romance novel cliches with the heroine falling for the one boy she’s forbidden from and being the Chosen One, etc.

Oddly, the ending is the book’s saving grace. I’d say about the last fifth of it is really good. Fast paced, some unexpected twists, confusing vaguely explained things suddenly coming into focus as to why the author only vaguely explained them, and the love story actually having some meaning. Unfortunately the first 4/5 of the book is a real slog through the corn. I only wish the first part was as good as the ending turned out to be.

3 out of 5

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