Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.
“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 actually got in a spooky read just in time for Halloween! Well, sort of spooky. It wasn’t all terror but there were some creeptastic moments towards the end that gave me chills notwithstanding the incredibly cold office I was in! LOL! Blood and Salt was Kim Liggett’s first book that came out last year, pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn! Having never seen the latter…or desire too really, because me and scary movies? Nope!—I can’t say how much of that part is true. There’s definitely corn. Lots of corn. Lots of sentient corn. Yep.
Ash has always known she was a little different. Ever since she could remember, like we’re talking baby times which I found odd. How can you remember something that happened to you as a baby? But anyway, ever since she was young, she has always seen a dead girl hanging by her feet just above her head. She’s become desensitized to it over the years. She comes from an odd family, you could say. Her mother is always putting protective tattoos on her and never really explaining why. Then one day after she’s had some sort of vision that leads her to lose the entire day, she and her twin brother, Rhys, come home and find their mother gone. A note is left saying she’s gone back to Quivira, the home she escaped from just before they were born.
Feeling the need to rescue their mother, Ash and Rhys drive halfway across the country to find her. What they end up finding is the strange hidden community of Quivira. The community comes off as very cultish. They greet Ash and Rhys with open arms once they know they’re their mother’s children. And right away they whisk Ash off to be readied for her choosing ceremony or some such thing. And thus begins a convoluted tale of strangeness.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good weird book. But some of the weirdness wasn’t fully explained in this one. There are events from the past, like the way back when past, that greatly shape our present. Luckily Ash has a connection to one of these important people and has a series of well-timed flashbacks in the form of visions you could say, which help to shed some light onto the growing weirdness.
Then Ash meets a boy, of course, Dane is your ultimate bad boy you could say. He’s been outcasted from the community for he is a mixed blood, one from the enemy of the ancestor from the past. I can’t explain it all that well, just know that things are explained in a much easier manner in the book. Anyway, Dane is considered a Mixed blood and basically shunned, why he’s allowed to live there was still a little sketchy and a romance with him is basically forbidden. Especially since the community has already chosen who Ash is intended for. The romance between them was kind of hit or miss I felt like. They did the dance of “should we, we shouldn’t”. I never really felt hooked into the romance really. And when it comes to fruition it was a little ehh. For once it really starts going of the lovey-dovey feels the climatic ending starts to come into play.
This book was straight up weird for me. But again, not always a bad thing. A lot of weird things keep happening in this tight-knit community. People are suddenly spontaneously dying in gruesome ways and it definitely seems like some people are lying about things. It’s all very intense and somewhat complicated to explain in an easy manner without touching onto spoilers. So just know that it’s complicated and weird and answers are not always easy either.
One thing that made this a difficult read was trying to figure out why the past events were so important to the future. In some sense I get it, I do, it’s all the unsaid things that happened in the past that are somewhat important and how that plays roles into the present time that I don’t get. It’s really more of me knit-picking over details and wanting to know more about them rather than just accept them for what they are.
I’d like to say that the ending was impeccable! That all loose-ends came tying together. We get a little bit of that honestly. This book definitely reads as a potential standalone, but I do believe there will be at least one more book. Goodreads shows that a Blood and Salt 2 will be releasing next year! As there were a few loose-ends that are left out there to tease and torment you. But it may actually be happening, the sequel that is! I hope at least. While the things left unaccounted for, aren’t terrible-drive-you-crazy things, it will be nice to hopefully see some conclusion settled towards them. That is if this sequel is in fact more sequel than book 2 spinoff! As I said, I only just found out about a book 2, there’s no word on what kind of book 2 it will be.
The ending though was pretty twisted! So many shocking things and reveals were coming to play and quite a few were of the jaw-dropping variety!
While I couldn’t get totally hooked into this story as I would’ve liked, it was still an engaging and intriguing one! I guess I would’ve hoped for more creepy and little more explanations on things from the past and why they were so important for the now! I am more than likely going to pick up the second installment of this possible series of some kind! Be it duology, trilogy or whatnot. I feel hooked enough to want to see where things might end up for the characters as we left them!
Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars