Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

2015, G.P. Putnam's Sons

Ash is laying on the table, ready for another tattoo.  Rhys, her twin brother, can't stay beside her because he can't stand the pain or the sight of blood.  But their mother is there, putting another protection mark on her daughter...

Ash has seen the dead girl for quite awhile now. Although this frightens her, what's even more disturbing is how both she and the dead girl look alike.  No one else can see the dead girl, and now the sightings are becoming more frequent, even with the protection symbols on her body.

Ash and Rhys's mother spends most of her time upstairs in her workroom creating unusual and exotic perfumes to sell.  She also has quirky habits and tells the twins stories about a small town called Quivira and how she and their father were chosen to walk the corn in honor of Katia, who is an eternal being guarding the townspeople from being killed by Coronado, another eternal being who killed Katia's only daughter.  Ash and Rhys scoff at these stories and believe they sound more like a cult following than a quaint town.

Ash is prone to blackouts when she sees the dead girl and after having one, she rushes home knowing something is wrong.  Once she gets to their apartment, she and Rhys open her mother's workroom to find it filled with black crows, a dark omen, and the absence of their mother.

Ash has a gut feeling her mother is in danger and decides to drive to Kansas to find Quivira and bring her mother back.  Rhys is more reluctant, thinking they're driving into a dangerous cult and although he tries to dissuade her, it doesn't happen.  When they get to the point on the map where the town should be, they find themselves surrounded by corn fields with no town in sight.  Now they must walk the corn...

Kim Liggett has crafted a fantasy horror novel that takes the reader into two very different worlds - one we all know and understand, and the other a place that's more reminiscent of the 1800s and completely set apart from all humanity.  Her novel is also one of opposites.  Families within Quivira, the twins, Ash and Dane, and even the eternal ones all create a divide where the reader isn't sure who is telling the truth and who is lying.  As the novel progresses, so do the characters and with this progression, all is revealed with a surprising twist.  

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