"BLOOD AND SALT belongs on lists of 2015 must-buys."
Reviewed by Samantha Randolph
Posted September 8, 2015
Fantasy | Young Adult Paranormal | Young Adult Romance
When Ash Larkin's mother returns to the mysterious spiritual
commune she left years ago, Ash know she must follow her.
Once she and her twin brother arrive at the mysterious
Quivira, Kansas 'utopia' surrounded by corn that almost
seems deadly, Ash must not only search for her mother but
also unravel the strange memories of her ancestor, Katia,
that continue to haunt her.
BLOOD AND SALT by Kim Liggett is nearly impossible to
describe well enough to do the story justice. The mix of
thrills, creeps, swoons, and heartbreaking sighs make the
story intensely absorbing, and readers shouldn't be
surprised if they find themselves reading far into the
night. The cult-type premise brings out a perfect setting,
ripe for scenes of horror, paranormal mysteries, and
ultimately, of discovering the light, dark, and
everything-in-between-sides to people.
One of the biggest drives of BLOOD AND SALT is the question
of the benevolent, or perhaps not, ancestor/spirit/immortal
Katia. Who is she really, and what lengths will she go to
get what she wants? The mystery of her, her daughter, the
men who love them, and the current village leader is richly
layered with intrigue, pain, and love. Watching Ash try to
unravel it all without getting attacked or lost herself will
make you root for her all the way through, hoping perhaps
beyond all hope that despair isn't the only outcome available.
BLOOD AND SALT belongs on lists of 2015 must-buys. I have
rarely read a story with so much originality, bitter
sweetness, and depth. I can't recommend this title enough,
and I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for more from
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this
“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
the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash
follows her to
Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among
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
deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with
secrets of his
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years
making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but
discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late.
Before she’s all
in—blood and salt.
ExcerptTHE SICKENING CRACKLE of the corn-husk rope pulls me from
sleep, down the hall, up the stairs, and out into the
night. The sky is the strangest color, a dusky gray rose.
Dark blond hair skims the ground as it disappears into a
patch of tall prairie grass.
Tearing through the coarse grass, I try to reach her. As
I break into a small clearing, I catch a glimpse of her
face—eyes wide and lifeless, she stares back at me as her
body’s being dragged into the corn.
Sensing a presence, I turn to see a winged figure made of
smoke move toward me, but I’m not afraid. The scent of
freshly rained-upon soil, salt, hay, cloves, sandalwood,
and saddle leather perme¬ates the air. It’s the most
beautiful smell in the world. I close my eyes to breathe
it in, hoping it will imprint on my memory. And when I
open them, the smoke has sharpened into the face of Dane.
I reach out to touch him, but he flinches away. I can’t
help but laugh. Even my illusion of Dane won’t cooperate.
My skin is pulsing with light. Faint at first, the golden
light soon grows into a soft halo that wraps around me,
illuminating the protection marks.
I stand perfectly still, coaxing the golden light forward
to reach him. As soon as it meets his skin, I can feel
him, just as if I were touching him with my own fingers.
Every bit of our connection is alive and electric as it
flows through me and into him, back from him to me, and
I feel his spirit, damaged and beautiful. Perfect in its
flaws. Suddenly, I become worried that he can see all of
me, too; something in me wants to cover up, to hide my
imperfections. I feel vulnerable, like a gaping wound
with salt water lapping at the edges.
“Do you see the light?”
“There’s no light,” he answers.
It makes me so sad he can’t see or feel what I feel.
“Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it
Dane’s shadowy figure takes an unexpected step toward me.
Even though he’s only a hallucination, I swear I can feel
his gentle breath on my face. He leans forward, pressing
his lips against mine. I can taste him, along with the
salt of my tears that stream into our mouths. Sadness and
ecstasy consume me.
I open my eyes to find Dane has vanished, along with
every bit of light that beamed from my skin. I hear the
crops rustle behind me. I turn and step toward the corn.
As I peer through the stalks, a feeling of dread presses
down on me, crushing me, holding me in place.
The dead girl’s hand emerges from the corn, clasping my
ankle. “I thought you loved me,” she whispers.
I awoke sometime before dawn, sprawled on top of my
cov¬ers, a thick sheen of sweat covering my body. I
stirred; my muscles ached. My feet gritted against the
sheets. Looking down, I found them caked in dirt.
I leapt out of bed.
“What’s going on?” Rhys mumbled.
“Nothing. Just need to get ready.” I escaped into the
bath¬room and rested my forehead against the closed door.
“This is real,” I told myself as I pressed my fingers
into the cool wood grain. I stole a glance at myself in
the mirror and did a double take.
Threaded into my tangled hair were coarse strands of
prairie grass. In a panic, I checked the rest of my body.
“Holy shit.” I exhaled when I discovered a bloody
handprint coiled around my left ankle.
I’d gone outside without a clue of how I got there or how
I got back. I’d lost time again. Maybe hours. Was
Coronado’s black magic trying to lure me into the corn?
But it felt deeper than that.
“Are you okay in there?” Rhys knocked on the door,
“Find another bathroom,” I snapped as I pumped water into
the washtub. I stepped into the cool water and scrubbed
my legs with a washcloth until they were raw, then pulled
the plug, watching the dirty water swirl around my ankles
and disappear down the drain.
The dead girl spoke to me. She touched me. She wanted me
to find her in the corn. And Dane could take me there.
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