Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 272
Themes: quest, fantasy, romance
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Sep/2011
Lexile Level: 700L
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Salt is an utterly compelling fantasy adventure, the work of a master storyteller at the peak of his powers.

When his father Tarl is captured and enslaved to work in Deep Salt, Hari vows to rescue him. This is a forbidding task: no one returns from Deep Salt. But Hari was born and raised in Blood Burrow. He's tough and smart—and he has a secret gift: he can communicate with animals. br>
The beautiful Pearl, born into the privileged world of the ruling class known as Company, has learned forbidden things from her mysteriously gifted maid Tealeaf. Now her father has promised her in marriage to the powerful and ambitious Ottmar. But Pearl will never submit to a subordinate life, so she and Tealeaf must flee.

When their paths cross, Hari and Pearl realize that together they must discover the secrets of Deep Salt. Their long journey through the badlands becomes far more than a quest to save Tarl—their world is on the brink of unspeakable terror.

Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's finest writers, with more than forty books for adults and young adults and a number of prestigious awards to his credit. Salt is the first volume of The Salt Trilogy, followed by Gool and Limping Man.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Gee's dramatic prose and keen eye for detail create a chilling portrayal of a world destroyed by greed and lust for power...This dystopian adventure provides plenty of fodder for discussion, and interested readers will look forward to the promised sequel."
Tucson Unified School District
"A non-stop ride with thrills around every bend and as a reader, I did not want to get off…The substance found in Deep Salt reminded me of pure and lethal uranium, and the descriptions of the animals in this book were ghastly. I very much enjoyed this fantasy of worlds of privilege and want collide. Highly recommended."
School Library Journal
[Starred Review] "Salt succeeds in being not only plot driven and fast paced, but also character oriented...The dominant themes of prejudice and governmental oppression are subtly presented and do not overpower the action-filled plot. Salt will delight lovers of dystopic fantasies and leave them anxious for the second installment."
"The iconic-style cover grabbed my eye from across a crowded BEA aisle and demanded I pick up the book...The best part: The characters are wild, fierce, and competent....The worst part: That I don't already have the sequel in my hands...Plot: Strong. Unique. Action-packed. What's not to love about an epic struggle for power and peace in a dystopian setting?...Solid writing. Solid action. Solid characters. Total win."
Kirkus Reviews
"A fantasy without destined heroes redeeming the entire world from the forces of ultimate evil is refreshing... Admirable characters confronting human realities make for compelling reading."
Tri State YA Book Review Committee
"Well written, the narrative pulls the reader through the book in a true page turner. Readers will be anxious for the next installment of the trilogy."
Weekend Herald
"A superbly written and realised fantasy for those who demand a thought-provoking read."
Viewpoint Magazine
"The theme of building a new world from the old informs the narrative, and there is necessary sacrifice and bloodshed along the way...The novel moves at a good pace and the ending is both satisfying in itself, and a lead in to the second novel in the trilogy."
What If? Magazine
"Gee manages to create a vivid world filled with danger...The well-developed narrators also have interesting backgrounds and subplots, which keeps the suspense high. I strongly recommend Salt to anyone looking for an engaging story."
Herald Sun (Melbourne)
"Gee is imaginative and masterful with his descriptions in this first of a trilogy."
Canadian Teacher
"[Gee] creates a world that is both mysterious and entirely familiar…Will appeal for its storytelling skill but also warrants thoughtful reflection on the use of force and the abuse of power and on how good can triumph over evil, even when evil cannot be entirely eliminated."
Highlands Regional Book Evaluation
"This dystopian novel unflinchingly examines issues of class and race in a page-turner that does not sacrifice character development for plot points. Give this one to Suzanne Collins fans awaiting Mockingjay or fans of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series."
"Gee demonstrates his originality by spinning the adventure around ideas of colonialism and radioactive weaponry. These ethically compelling issues are refreshing in a fantasy novel."
The Horn Book Magazine
[Starred Review] "Gee has mastered the art of creating a fantasy world without cumbersome description: character and dialogue, as much as situation, give this story its compelling momentum and considerable interest...Gee's environmental themes are embedded in his plot but also in the very notions of identity and maturity his fantasy proposes; imagery and idea thus mesh admirably...Hari and Pearl are evolving, engaging heroes, and their many suspenseful adventures are conveyed in vivid, economical prose."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"A great read…with adventure, young lovers and wonderful fantasy."
Publishers Weekly
"A compelling tale of anger and moral development that also powerfully explores the evils of colonialism and racism."
Library Media Connection, Editor's Choice
"The author's voice and Hari's silent dialogue are enthralling."
CD Syndicated
"Salt is more fantastical than the Twilight books and darker than the Harry Potter ones... Salt creates a wholly unique and timeless universe of weapons like fizzing rings and fingertip bolts while keeping character motivations firmly grounded in that's-what-I'd-do territory. It's certainly an adventure of a read."
"In spare yet vivid prose, Gee creates a world of oppressive caste systems and endless violence in which our heroes work to save people from their own dark nature. This is a suspenseful, somber fantasy that combines exciting action with a subtle spiritual element."
Sunday Age
“It only takes the first half a dozen pages for [Gee] to create a fully realised world wherein he draws his readers with gusto...A genuinely exciting story with meaty characters and a storyline that never falters, even as Gee tests the very limits of his young protagonist.”
Magpies Magazine
"A skilfully told story, taught and fast-moving, but with a rich mixture of dark reality to it."
Resource Links
"[The] complex issue of human nature and human existence is addressed here in a way that is never strident and never naive. In the end, it is up to the reader to decide."
The ALAN Review
"A fantastical tale filled with magical abilities, a corrupt regime, and unspeakable terror hidden in a deadly cave...A warning to all: once you enter Gee's magical world, there is no turning back until the trilogy is complete."


TriState YA Review Group Book of Note  | 2012 | Commended

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