Even though their parents disappeared during a hunt three months ago, seventeen-year-old Indi and his siblings, Beleza, Oscar, and Zulu, continue to roam the Mediterranean on their sailboat and hunt down monsters–but Indi yearns for a more settled life for his family, and he hopes that his parents’ journal with its tantalizing hints of a treasure, will provide them all with the means of escape from their nomadic and dangerous life before it is too late.
DISCLAIMER: I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
EXPECTED OCTOBER 30, 2018
TW: gore, needles, brief scenes of a medical nature
If anything, Salt is an intensely character-driven novel. Told from the perspective of Indi, one of four children sailing the seas, hunting monsters in the wake of their parents’ disappearance, it follows his journey to become who he wants to be as it intersects with who he is supposed to be. It’s all about family, about the closeness between siblings and the fights that always ensue. Plus, it has a healthy dose of sea monsters and a hint of romance that is delightfully realistic in its resolution. Indi’s life is hard, and not once does the book allow you to believe otherwise.
I really adored the concept, I think, above all else. The idea that monster hunters called sicarios patrol the seas, hunting abyssal beasts while the rest of the world knows nothing of it, is just delightful to me. It reminds me of Supernatural (at least, SPN when I actually used to enjoy it, haha), and had a little bit of that monster of the week flavor to it, just with a high seas twist. The importance of family and the inheritance of the trade only made that feeling stronger, and it made me miss early SPN. Plus I just really love sea monsters, especially in the wake of reading The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie.
Oh, and speaking of sea monsters, CHECK OUT THAT COVER. The barest hint of the monster silhouetted against the stars is just amazing. I love the cover A TON.
I will admit, though, that I didn’t love the book the whole way through.
I loved the concept. I LOVED that it was a short read (only took me two hours as opposed to my usual four or so for a YA novel). I loved how realistic the sibling relationships were, and that the romance wasn’t starcrossed so much as failed and accepted as failed. However, I really wish there had been more to it. The idea of monsters tracked via radiation, hunted around the world by people who have to keep it a secret (and presumably don’t get paid much in the process) was such a cool idea, but there was nothing about how these monsters came to be or anything of that nature that I really crave.
The other problem I ran into may stem from my own personal preferences. I love strong characters, but I like my plots equally strong, and this was a character-driven book through and through. I was not satisfied with the conclusion or the bulk of the plot itself largely because I was hoping for more depth and complications that I ultimately didn’t feel I got. Some folks enjoy narratives that wrestle more with inner demons than outer monsters, and I totally respect that. It’s just that that kind of thing isn’t for me, and it meant I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I quite might have if it had been written differently, focused around different plot issues.
Of course, that means that my rating is so, so, SO subjective. If you love character-driven stories that have open-ended resolutions and intense potential, Salt might just be for you, and I totally encourage you to give it a try! Besides, do it for the monsters, if anything. Just picture those big old beasties and all the chaos they cause. Cool, right? So cool.
Salt and all its monster goodness is expected October 30 this year (monsters before Halloween, wooooooo!!), so if this book is for you, I really encourage you to preorder it or ask your library to look into ordering a copy!