Review: Waters of Salt and Sin by Alisha Klapheke

Waters of Salt and Sin (Uncommon World, #1)Waters of Salt and Sin by Alisha Klapheke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really, really wanted to love this book. (C’mon, who doesn’t adore that cover?!?) Unfortunately, this book wasn’t all I hoped it was going to be. (Perhaps it’s partly my fault in the first place for having such high expectations.)

The plot wasn’t what I was expecting: I was hoping for more of a swash-buckling, piratey adventure. Instead, this was more of a (slightly spoilery) let’s-try-to-survive-while-planning-a-jailbreak kind of book. Like another reviewer mentioned, they find the island about halfway through the book, and then it becomes a minor background element. The story is pretty much them escaping from whatever’s trying to kill them at the moment, while attempting to rescue Kinneret’s sister. (end of tiny spoiler) I did enjoy the salt magic and salt wraiths (I thought they were the most believable of the fantasy elements), but I could have used a little more explanation on some other things, like the Fire religion, how salt magic works, and more about Kinneret’s aunt’s magic.

The characters themselves were meh. I liked Kinneret–but that was about it. I felt like the author just scratched the surface of the characters, and I didn’t get a chance to get to know any of them except for Kinneret. I only cared about the other characters because Kinneret cared. Also, some of the characters just fell flat. They didn’t react realistically to situations. The story was told in 1st person narration, when 3rd person might have suited the story better. There was also a lot of characters introduced, right from the beginning, and that may have added to my struggle to connect with them.

The world-building was pretty good: it felt unique, and I was interested in learning more about its history and customs. I liked how the setting wasn’t your generic medieval European fantasy setting, but instead a Mediterranean-type culture. However, the author again could have delved a lot deeper into the world-building. It was a little confusing because the characters jumped around so much, and there wasn’t a whole lot of description about the places they went to, or the cultures they visited.

Overall, I just couldn’t get into this one. While I did finish out the book, I just as easily could have left it. If it had had deeper characters, more world-building, and a little more suspense, I probably would have loved it.

Rating: 3 stars.

Recommended: No.

Age Rating: For Ages 14 and up.

Content guide:
Language: 3/10 (characters start to curse, but are cut off. a lot of inappropriate innuendo bandied about.)
Sexual content: 6/10 (passionate kissing, once while half-clothed, some touching. lots of thinly-veiled innuendo. characters’ relationship seems at times more lust than love.)
Violence: 8/10 (characters are killed and injured, sometimes graphically described. some characters place very little value on human life. a demon attacks the ship, killing several characters.)

*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*

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