Haunted. Cloying. Corn.
“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.
I had a feeling this would be a series. I wasn’t aware that it was when I started reading it, and when I finished it I thought it could have easily been left as it was. But then there were a few loose ends that needed tying up.
Blood and Salt left a lasting impression- I felt like I was seeing a good ending for Ash, but also that she could easily untie the black ribbon from around her neck, twining it in her fingers, and letting it blow in the breeze out of the car window. The end is slightly frayed- and I want to follow her into another story.
I know this is a long-winded way to say ‘I’m looking forward to a sequel’, but there were some really striking images in this book, and whereas it wasn’t always hitting the mark, there was enough pizzazz to make up for that.
It was a slow burner- it took a while before I felt the fire to read read read light inside me. I thought Ash was a difficult character to empathise with at first. She made some strange observations and cultural references that didn’t always make sense to me, but I was very aware that it could simply be a cultural difference between me and her.
Once the twins reach Quivera the narrative comes on leaps and bounds. I have to admit, some of the ‘reveals’ and explanations were confusing to me; I think I get it, but I found Coronado’s motives the hardest to fathom.
That said, I loved the way the characters interacted with each other- there were some interesting dynamics at work, especially when it came to Dane, Ash and Lauren. Beth is adorable and I felt like hi-fiving Rhys on more than one occasion. He said all the things I would have, given the same circumstances.
This book smoulders and mystifies. It plays the romance out well (if not a little rushed, but I guess that was to be expected, considering the ending) and I enjoyed the sense of place brought about by the sensory descriptions. I loved that the corn became its own character.
A solid read. It is described as a ‘romantic horror’, and I suppose that’s true. However, I expected it to be creepier. There were some darker, shall we say ‘bloodier’ elements which fed my appetite for horror.
There’s something I find really compelling about this book, it speaks to me on some level, and even though it was slow to start, it grew and grew on me.
Concept – 4/5
Plot – 3/5
Ending or Twist – 4/5
Overall – 4/5
(Bought with my own hard earned cash. Opinions also all my own.)