Friday, October 16, 2009


By Maurice Gee
ISBN No. 978-1-55469-209-5

You’d think that after the glut of “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” books and movies that any young adult fiction series of books with supernatural overtones would pale in comparison to “Twilight” and “Harry Potter.” But after the aforementioned glut of “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” books and movies any young adult fiction with supernatural overtones is a breath of fresh air simply because it ISN’T a “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” book or movie. Still, “Salt” has a bit of an uphill battle re-thinking pre-conceived notions born in a “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” world (romance, danger, the showdown between good and evil) but it also has a nice way of making the required devices of youth fiction sound fresh and inventive. For starters, “Salt” is more fantastical than the “Twilight” books and darker than the “Harry Potter” ones. It’s the story of Hari, a young man who really can talk to the animals, trying to free his dad, Tarl, after the latter has been captured and enslaved by a sinister corporation called “Company” and banished to the hellish working prison of Deep Salt. Along the way he meets an aristocratic young woman fleeing an arranged marriage with help from her gifted maid named Tealeaf. Then things get weird… Perhaps the best thing about “Salt” is it doesn’t remind me of “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” at all. While I was reading “Salt” I was transported back to the 1980s and all those Piers Anthony novels I used to read back then. Like those books “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. My only nitpick is the chaotic writing of the action sequences where necessary description is sacrificed for breakneck pacing.