My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Release date: 7th January 2014
Source: ARC provided by Entangled Teen in exchange for review.
Penelope is a witch without power. A demon attack as a child left her without essence, necessary for witches to perform magic. Penelope has been hiding this fact for years, borrowing from her family in order to fool the rest of the witching community. Penelope is only a few weeks away from sitting the test to become an Enforcer, part of the elite demon hunting force. If she can get access to the Enforcers' library, she might be able to find the demon who stole her essence and perform the ceremony necessary to regain her power and be "normal" again.
Then Penelope meets Carter and strangely, she's able to draw power from him in a similar way to her family. He has secrets of his own and could use her help as much as she needs his.
Inevitably, the two fall in love, but the path does not run smooth. Their individual secrets threaten to tear them apart, that's if the ever increasing demon attacks don't finish them first.
"I'm Sorry." Carter's eyes are on me and I don't know whom he's talking to. I'm not taking an apology. Not after that. "It was an accident. I lost track of time." I want to punch him in the face. And then I'll apologize and say it was an accident. That I lost track of my fist." (loc. 2392-2395)
Salt is a different take on the genre. Although there are paranormal/supernatural elements, it is grounded very much in our own world and the witches live beside "normal" humans, or Nons. They hang out at the coffee shop and the mall and go to the same schools. They even communicate by mobile/cell phone.
Although there are some similar elements to Harry Potter (the Nucleus centre sounds a bit like the Ministry of Magic) it is much less fantastical and there are many more differences than similarities. There are slightly more similarities with the Shadowhunters of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments, and it is set in a similar urban environment, but the differences are enough to set it apart.
The romance element develops predictably, girl meets boy, girl hates boy, girl discovers boy is actually not so bad, etc. I don't have an issue with that as it was written well and I liked the snarky conversations between the characters. These two have chemistry and that comes across in spades in the romantic scenes.
I found some elements of the plot quite predictable, but that may not be the case if you're in the target age group. I did like that although this is clearly meant to be the first in a series, it has a conclusion. That is a big selling point for me.
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