Despite Its Name Its Bland: Salt by Danielle Ellison

I received an ARC from an Entangled publishing this did not effect my opinion of the book, but thank you Entangled.

I hate to say it, but it was so boring that I decided to DNF it because I just don’t have time for drivel.

It wasn’t that the book was particular offensive or anything like that.  If it was offensive I’d have something to say about it.  This one was just so vanilla in every aspect, that I’m surprised it actually got published.

That sounds so bad, but that was honestly what I was thinking as I tried to force myself to finish the first half so that I could provide a review.

I really wish I had something nice to say about this one, but I really don’t.  The plot should’ve been something that I love-witches fighting demons.  But based on what I read, I couldn’t like it.

In a lot of ways it sort of reminded me of Prophecy Girl which was a book with a lot of promise but turned out to be a cliche ripoff of half a dozen YA books.  While Salt wasn’t a blatant ripoff it had this same bland feeling to it which means that a month ago, I probably won’t remember anything about it.

The plot is simple enough: Penelope is trying to become a demon hunter, despite the fact she has no super powers-they were taken away when her parents were killed (side note: I’ve read several Harry Potter fanfics with a similar plot) of course along the way she meets a cute boy and becomes an idiot.

I’d like to say that Penelope was an interesting character that she somehow overcame her circumstances with grace and became the best muggle demon hunter ever.  But of course not.  She constantly has to be saved and honestly I got so sick of her mouthing off and being bad ass that I just got a similar look on my face to when I read Defy.

I really don’t think that the publishing world knows what a strong independent heroine is.  Okay, sometimes they get it.  But it’s usually when they’re not trying to force it down our throats that they’re strong and independent.  Like in this book and in Defy.

I almost feel like they feel like the heroine has to have this Bella Swan side to her to make her appear realistic, while completely negating the fact that the author’s told us she’s a tough bitch.

I really thought it could’ve been cool seeing Pen adapt to not having powers and fighting.  However, the fact that this was completely negated and instead we just get another whiney YA heroine to get her whiney love interest to help her.

And this love interest is as dull and as forgettable as about any other love interest you’d read about in YA.

I  don’t understand why books like this don’t even attempt to try something new.  Paranormal romance can be exciting, it can be fresh.  And this had plenty of opportunities to be fresh, but instead it seemed to want to be safe and rely on tropes

And to be honest, I really don’t know who’s to blame (author or editor).  I think as a writer tropes are just so easy to use, sometimes you forget they’re a trope when your writing the book down.  At the same time though, when you revise you should be able to pick up on them.  At the same time, I wonder if editors encourage the use of tropes.  After all, a lot of these tropes are used because there’s been a point in time where the use of them has been very successful which is why I can’t fault Salt that much for its predictability.

Ellison is trying to make the story work.  But it doesn’t.  And I really don’t know how the story could be improved.  Maybe if the character wasn’t so dry, had a personality other than Tough!Bella, or  progressed the plot a little faster with a little more world building, it might’ve worked.  As it was though, it just made me wince.  This sort of book, in my opinion, is probably one of the most painful to read because it has nothing remotely memorable (good or bad about it).

Overall Rating: DNF=automatic one star (Grade F since I couldn’t bother to finish it).


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