Series: Salt & Storm #2
I’ve always been a monster. And monsters destroy things. Things like magic and friendships and futures.
Mal used to have a home, a best friend, and a secret. But he lost all three on the day Essie Roe exposed him as a blank. Blanks cannot be cursed or saved or killed by magic. And everyone is afraid of them—even Mal himself.
Now Mal travels the world in search of dangerous and illegal magical relics, never stopping in any one place too long. When his partner in crime, Boone, hears of a legendary dagger that can steal magic, Mal knows he finally may have found a way to even the score with Essie. Crossing oceans and continents, Mal and Boone travel from Boston to Paris to Constantinople in search of the dagger. Finding it would mean riches, fame, and revenge—but only if Mal can control the monster inside him.
Kendall Kulper weaves a vivid story of betrayal and determination—and the road to forgiveness—in this new adventure set in the world of Salt & Storm.
Kulper delivers in this prequel-of-sorts tale to Salt & Storm. The story focuses on Mal, a blank, exposed by his best friend and exiled from Prince Island. He joins forces with silvertongued Boone to steal a magical dagger that can strip someone of their magic, and makes plans for revenge on the one who ruined it all – Essie Roe.
I loved Salt & Storm, mostly in part to Kulper’s wonderful atmospheric writing style that was perfect for the setting and time period. Her lyrical style is what kept me reading even when the story seems to stall or become disinteresting. The world building was a little confusing — it was a little confusing at times just how the world operated. Phrases referring to the “Others” and different groups weren’t really explored. Would have loved to know more about the magic system and blanks.
I loved the characters, all so wonderfully filling up that “gray” zone between good and evil. Kulper definitely knows how to craft her background characters to be as interesting as her main characters. The story was a little slow paced, but more than made up for it in the last hundred pages. The big finale of a finish did not disappoint! The characters and relationships that unfolded through Mal’s journey to find the shar and flashbacks to his friendship with Essie Roe were compelling and ultimately made the story for me.
Overall was really impressed with this story. It builds slow, and could use perhaps a more in-depth explanation of the world these character live in, but was a compelling journey start to finish.