A dangerous romance, a stolen sister, and the mythical treasure that could change everything.
The first in the Uncommon World series of standalone novels, Waters of Salt and Sin combines the epic setting of Game of Thrones with the humor and romance of Pirates of the Caribbean—perfect for Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas fans!
To save her sister from starvation and hold on to her relationship with Calev—the high-caste friend she secretly loves—Kinneret sets out for a lost island of silver. But when a madman enslaves her sister, Kinneret must make a deal with the local ruler: Help the leader find the island and secure the ruler's place in history. In return, the leader's fighting sailors will help rescue her sister.
Using Salt Magic to navigate cursed waters, Kinneret and Calev struggle to hide their taboo, caste-breaking feelings for one another, knowing if the ruler witnesses the attraction, she'll cancel the agreement. But when Calev makes a terrible mistake, Kinneret must choose between the life of her only remaining family member and saving the boy she loves from a traitor's death.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17-year-old Kinneret has been raised knowing the power of controlling the seas. Just like the high caste members of Old Farm who pray to the fire, she whispers to the waters, who come to her aid. Kinneret is a strong willed force to be reckoned with. She has her sights on raising her and her younger sister from low caste to high caste, and proving her worth to marry her best friend, Calev. She's an admirable character, with her biggest flaw being not thinking things through. Because of this, she gets into trouble a LOT in the book, which I feel could've been avoided. However, her strong head obeys her heart. The book is a relatively easy fantasy to get into, and a quick read with lots of dialog and interesting plot points. I would recommend this series to a Young Adult audience or adults young at heart. *Soapbox* Some of my readers might hold issue with the term "salt witch," but in a fantasy novel, I think it's totally acceptable and overall, the values in this book are ones that I would be comfortable passing to my children. Just keep an open line of communication with your kids; don't stop them from reading what interests them
I really, really wanted to love this book. (C'mon, who doesn't adore that cover?!?) Unfortunately, this book wasn't all I hoped it was going to be. (Perhaps it's partly my fault in the first place for having such high expectations.) The plot wasn't what I was expecting: I was hoping for more of a swash-buckling, piratey adventure. Instead, this was more of a (slightly spoilery) let's-try-to-survive-while-planning-a-jailbreak kind of book. Like another reviewer mentioned, they find the island about halfway through the book, and then it becomes a minor background element. The story is pretty much them escaping from whatever's trying to kill them at the moment, while attempting to rescue Kinneret's sister. (end of tiny spoiler) I did enjoy the salt magic and salt wraiths (I thought they were the most believable of the fantasy elements), but I could have used a little more explanation on some other things, like the Fire religion, how salt magic works, and more about Kinneret's aunt's magic. The characters themselves were meh. I liked Kinneret--but that was about it. I felt like the author just scratched the surface of the characters, and I didn't get a chance to get to know any of them except for Kinneret. I only cared about the other characters because Kinneret cared. Also, some of the characters just fell flat. They didn't react realistically to situations. The story was told in 1st person narration, when 3rd person might have suited the story better. There was also a lot of characters introduced, right from the beginning, and that may have added to my struggle to connect with them. The world-building was pretty good: it felt unique, and I was interested in learning more about its history and customs. I liked how the setting wasn't your generic medieval European fantasy setting, but instead a Mediterranean-type culture. However, the author again could have delved a lot deeper into the world-building. It was a little confusing because the characters jumped around so much, and there wasn't a whole lot of description about the places they went to, or the cultures they visited. Overall, I just couldn't get into this one. While I did finish out the book, I just as easily could have left it. If it had had deeper characters, more world-building, and a little more suspense, I probably would have loved it. Rating: 3 stars. Recommended: No. Age Rating: For Ages 14 and up. Content guide: Language: 3/10 (characters start to curse, but are cut off. a lot of inappropriate innuendo bandied about.) Sexual content: 6/10 (passionate kissing, once while half-clothed, some touching. lots of thinly-veiled innuendo. characters' relationship seems at times more lust than love.) Violence: 8/10 (characters are killed and injured, sometimes graphically described. some characters place very little value on human life. a demon attacks the ship, killing several characters.) *Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!* For more book reviews, or to request your own book to be reviewed by yours truly, visit gabriellenblog.wordpress.com
WATERS OF SALT AND SIN is Alisha Klapheke’s first book in her Uncommon World series. It is high fantasy, and the world Klapheke gives the reader is one to rival some of the best in that genre. And the cover—well, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. In WATERS OF SALT AND SIN, Kinneret Raza is about to turn 18, and her sister Avigail is 14. The girls lost both parents to an illness, and Kinneret has been struggling to keep them alive with her sailing skill combined with her ability to do salt magic. Salt magic allows Kinneret to bend the sea’s currents and winds to her will, and it is forbidden. If she’s caught doing it, she’ll be made an outcast and Avi will be on her own. As Kinneret begins to feel desperate about their overall situation, a family friend tells her about Ayarazi. Ayarazi is thought to be a mythical land where silver is plentiful, but Kinneret learns that the island is real, and there is a map that will show her the way to it. With silver as the only way to pull herself and Avi (and her first mate, Oron—my favorite character in the book) out of their low-caste life, Kinneret is determined to find the map and then find Ayarazi. With enough silver, Kinneret will not only move herself and her sister to a better caste, she will also put herself in a position to declare her feelings for Calev—her best friend and the young man who holds her heart. Unfortunately, Calev is of a higher caste—he’s the oldest son and apparent heir to the head of Old Farm. Once Kinneret and Calev turn 18, any interaction between them will have to come to a halt as Calev becomes betrothed to someone suitable for his station in life. The first chapters of WATERS OF SALT AND SIN set the world in which we’ll be immersed: one where higher caste do as they please, lower caste strive to improve their lots, and outcasts struggle to survive. Boats and life on the water play an integral role in the story, and Kinneret’s skills as a boat’s “kaptan” are impressive. Kinneret also has a gift for inspiring allegiance in those with whom she comes in contact, and that gift serves her almost as well as magic throughout the book. My favorite parts of WATERS OF SALT AND SEA focused on those times when Kinneret was at her most confident: managing a boat, acting as a natural leader of men and women, and dealing with one of the many unexpected trials—both large and small—that life brings. I really liked the world of WATERS OF SALT AND SIN, and it was great to read about a female protagonist with Kinneret’s skills and spunk. I wish her romance with Calev hadn’t been quite so formulaic, and I would have loved for the second half of the book to be as well layered and plotted as the first. That said, the excellent world building at the beginning and the fast pace of the final chapters pull everything together nicely. There are some plot points that don’t make complete sense in the larger context, but the charming cast of characters, the world Klapheke creates, and the promise of more stories about Kinneret and her friends combine to win the day. This is a series I’ll continue to follow, and I really look forward to the second book. My thanks to the author for an advance copy of the ebook in exchange for my unbiased review.