I received this book for free from BEA 15 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“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.
“The dead girl hung upside down over our kitchen table. Ropes dug into her ankles as she swayed from the chandelier.”
This is how the expertly creepy Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett opens. A book so creepy that, even while reading it on a hot sunny day in beautiful Central Park I had to put it down because CREEPY SHIT WAS CREEPY! Liggett has this amazing talent for completely immersing a reader in a world of suspicion and intrigue. A world covered in horror and blood and cornstalks.
From the very first page we are introduced to characters who are likable but not perfect. Who are exactly what you would expect if they were walking around your town. Who’s personalities and emotions just grabbed you by the feels and wouldn’t let go! I can honestly say that Ashlyn and her twin Rhys were one of my favorite parts of Blood and Salt. They were twins but they had their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, mannerisms! I appreciate Liggett’s work in sculpting two distinct individuals and for giving them both voices when the book was written through Ash’s eyes….well mostly her eyes.
(Clowns are my #1 fear….putting this gif in almost broke me y’all!)
You see Ash’s mom escaped a “cult” before she and Rhy’s were born. But this wasn’t just a good old-fashioned “we-have-a-leader-to-follow-into-the-promise-land-let’s-all-drink-this-special-punch” cult. Oh no! That would be too darn easy! This was an actual town, unmapped and untouched by technology surrounded by sinister feeling cornstalks. A place so remote and “selective” that anyone who dared to try to find it (or leave it), is lost forever before ever reaching their destination. Quivira was a town built on forbidden love, magic, betrayal, death and a thirst for revenge that spanned five centuries. Through a series of present day deceptions and hidden truths Ash and Rhys find themselves stuck in Quivira searching for their mother who vanished without an explanation. I don’t want to spoil anything, and I won’t, but…..
Of course I had a few issues along the way. There is instalove. SO MUCH OF IT. But as the story progressed and things came to light the instalove became just love. There was a reason, and a purpose and once the story was over my poor heart wept. For something to build and blossom and then….well THINGS. (DAMN SPOILERS)
I had minor issues with Ash, but mostly because I often felt like that person who yells “DON’T GO IN THERE” during the movie. I saw how each step was a bad decision, but Ash wasn’t reckless or out to prove anything. She wasn’t brave beyond measure or determined to “save” everyone she knew. She wanted her mother back, and she had the resources and drive necessary to get her back. And even when she made a mistake, by doing something stupid, SHE APOLOGIZED AND MOVED FORWARD! A character who realizes they messed up, takes responsibility and genuinely apologizes? YES! SO MUCH YES!
Add in Dean (our love interest) and Beth (the sweetest and most brilliant person ever) and Blood and Salt was everything I wanted with a gruesome twist of more. It was my #2 book to get while at BEA and standing in line for an hour to ensure I got it was 1000% worth it. It was weird, creepy, romantic, eerie and suspenseful from start to finish and in the end it was just bloody brilliant.
In an effort to make sure more people enjoy Blood and Salt I am giving my well-loved ARC away! Just enter below and keep your fingers crossed!
*THIS IS OPEN TO THE US AND CANADA. I’M SORRY INT GUYS!*