We've been in a bit of a rut in the merbook business lately. Waiting for sequels, reading some filler in the time between, trying to earn money/find job to acquire said sequels (My Yogurt Mountain application does not need to make me question my purpose in life).
And then Salted waltzes in, and it blew my mind.
A largely romance free thriller and drama, Salted creates a fresh new mythology with a great ensemble cast of characters.
I don't want to give too much away of the story, but it starts off as a deceptively simple cat and mouse game. Lenny and co., selkies caught in a slave infrastructure are on a mission to find an elusive target. Garrett is a highschool student under fire from bullies, and after a near-drowning experience, his story and that of the selkies is irrevocably intertwined.
Salted leaves off on somewhat of a cliffhanger, leaving a lot of questions un-answered, but it also feels pretty complete by itself, something that a lot of novels these days don't accomplish. Some storylines are resolved but there is PLENTY of material for a sequel, and it's well warranted. It feels like there's a lot of life in this story and these characters, and a lot of places left to explore in the world Galvin has created.Salted gives the perfect taste of what I certainly hope is to come. The writing itself is fast paced, descriptive, and compliments the story perfectly.
My favorite two storylines were Garrett and Chidi, but I enjoyed everyone's contributions. Having so many perspectives can usually get a little tricky, but everyone's personalities are so distinct that it's pretty easy to keep up.
If I can nitpick, the book can be a little overwhelming what with all the info-dumping. While the approach works with the breakneck intensity of the book, learning a whole new mythology just by osmosis can be pretty tough.
As far as target audience, I'm gonna say older teens/adults, because Salted is a bit of a downer. It deals with a lot of pretty dark stuff like slavery, bullying, morality.and deals pretty deeply with choices we make and how they affect ourselves and others.
Anyway, it's a totally fresh take on selkies and merpeople, and definitely one of the best of the newer crop of mer-novels released. Go read it!