Published: January 7th, 2014
Salt (Salt #1)
By: Danielle Ellison
Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents -- and stole her magic. Since then, she's been pretending to be something she's not, using her sister's magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.
When she's finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister's help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find "her" demon. To take back what was stolen.
Then she meets Carter. He's cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret -- but he also has one of his own.
Suddenly Penelope's impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter's not telling her everything, and it's starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda...and they're far too interested in her.
It took me A LONG TIME to become invested in this book. Probably because Penelope is kind of stubborn, stupid and overall annoying for a great portion of this book! The whole premise of this one, is that Penelope is a witch (part of a secret community of witches) and her sacred duty is to protect the Nons (humans) from demons. But when Pen was a young child, her parents were killed by a demon who also took away her essence, leaving her without magic. It should have killed her, but instead it left Pen almost an ordinary human and only able to do magic with family members around to draw power from. Penelope is absolutely determined to be one of the elite demon hunters prized by her society, since it will give her access to the ritual she needs to restore her essence. But one problem - without powers she can't pass the tests! When mysterious fellow witch Carter comes into her life unexpectedly and she is able to draw magic from him, Pen needs to find out why. Also why are all these demons after her? Can they discover the truth before it's too late?
The very first scene of this book, after us learning how important it is to have salt to fight off demons, is Penelope being cornered by one - without any salt, because she forgot it at home!!! For someone with absolutely ZERO powers, you'd think she'd have a heck of a lot more common sense. Also, she has a truly asinine need to join the Enforcers and fight against demons. Every time her Grandma, Grandpa, or younger sister try to reason with her and get her to come to terms with her lack of magic, Pen basically does everything but actually stomp her feet and throw a fit! She basically sticks her head in the sand and comes up with stupid plans to "work around it," by using her sister's magic secretly so she can pass her tests. She doesn't seem to think about what will happen afterwards, when she has no one to draw from out in the field, and has to face a demon on her own! Her family is made up of pretty flat characters, and her sister is especially a cardboard cutout only there when Pen really needs her. There's a nice moment near the end, when she's forced to tell her boyfriend Thomas the family secret and he breaks up with her. Then we see a little more depth to Pen's sister - too little, too late though for the most part.
The whole family secret thing and speshul snowflake reveal of why Penelope is so different from anyone else with no essence, wasn't really all that surprising. The reluctance of any adult in this book, EVER to listen to reason and do something about the demon crisis also wasn't surprising. That's what happens when you write a young adult fiction book with NO strong, sensible, capable adult characters and make the teens the end-all-be-all of you fictional world. They are the only ones able to clean up the mess, even if all they do is make out with each other and fumble the world saving until they barely squeak by. Carter was nothing special as heroes go, though he was a likeable protagonist and I liked his backstory much more than Penelope's. But him saving her stupid ass every five seconds from her own inability to THINK BEFORE ACTING got very old. I'm glad I didn't DNF, because I truly hate doing that and I did start enjoying myself later in the book. Near then end it started getting its act together and the cliffhanger left me genuinely curious. But all said and done, I don't think I'll be reading any further in this series for one reason alone: Penelope.
VERDICT: 2/5 Stars
*I received this book from Entangled Teen on NetGalley. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published on January 7th, 2014.*