Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publisher (Thanks!)
Tarl has been captured and enslaved to work in Deep Salt, and Hari has vowed 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 can communicate with animals.
Pearl is fleeing am arranged marriage. She and her mysteriously gifted maid Tealeaf have escaped from the privileged world Pearl was born into, and they're being pursued.
When their paths cross, Hari and Pearl realize that they must discover the secrets of Deep Salt. It's not just a quest to save Tarl - their world is on the brink of unspeakable terror.
Hari's father, Tarl, has been capture by Company and sent to Deep Salt. Hari promises to rescue him from the endless mines of DS. Thing is, no one ever survives the mines. Whatever horrifying thing being collected in there causes the workers to die a sad, lonely death. Pearl escapes the city with her maid, Tealeaf, in order to escape a marriage she does not want. Pearl and Hari cross paths, realizing that they must join together in order to save their society from the horrors of Company and Deep Salt. And they have a weapon on their side: Pearl, Hari, and Tealeaf can silently talk to others and control their actions.
Salt is completely terrifying in an indescribable way. The substance being harvested in Deep Salt has such horrifying effects, and no one survives. People go crazy and want to die after being in the mine. Their skin falls off and their bones crack. It had not only physical, but also mental effects. Hari must save his father from this terrible fate.
I found Hari hard to connect with. He was so savage and had such animal-like instincts that it was often times hard to view him as a regular person. He seemed to be disturbed on a deep level. Pearl was, for me, a more enjoyable character. Although spoiled, she grew into a better person and let go of her old ways. Tealeaf had to be my favorite character, however, because she was mysterious and had unending knowledge about odd things. I enjoyed the jump between point of view - the story was told from both Pearl and Hari's perspective.
The overall plot was interesting and new. I liked the idea of a rescue mission, and having two stories at once made it that much more exciting. The story was incredibly dark, though. It left me disturbed, scared, and unsure. For this reason, I'm a little wary. The writing style struck me as odd, making it hard to get into the book. I'm glad I read this book, as it was a completely different experience, but it probably wasn't enough to carry me onto the sequel.
Overall: Incredibly dark and terrifying. Quick plot. Cool powers. Good point of view switching.
My Advice: Pick up a copy at your library. I recommend this to teens and adults looking for something to scare the wits out of them. Not in a jump-out-and-scare-you kind of way, but in a dark, twisted kind of way.
Cover: Fairly good cover. Simple, but striking.