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Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine

This one has been on my list for a long time now. But for some reason I was under the impression it was YA urban fantasy, which is actually not the case. The main character Allie is fast approaching 30 and, though the impetus for most of the action in the novel took place when she was a fair bit younger, her main concerns and musings are those of an adult--albeit an, at times, admittedly charmingly immature one. The author, Anna Katherine, is interestingly the pen name of Anna Genoese and Katherine Macdonald. Together these two publishing industry insiders created a snarky, lighthearted, fast-paced urban fantasy debut.

Allie used to live on Long Island and never wondered where her next dime was gonna come from. Her two best friends, Amanda and "Stan," were the height of shallow and together the three of them lazed around their posh estates indulging in pretty much whatever debauched activity took their fancy. But then Allie's mom runs off, her dad fades away, and Allie is left living above a Brooklyn diner, working her butt off for tips. One night, on a drunken whim, Allie and her two cronies try to cast a spell and end up opening a literal door to hell in the basement of the diner. Quicker than you can say Practical Magic, a dude in a leather duster and Stetson hat bursts into the room claiming he's an honest to goodness demon fighter. He proceeds to take up residence in the basement, sleeping on a cot, and guarding the door night and day from supernatural nasties. Just when she thinks she's gotten used to the new extreme version of her life, Allie's door mysteriously disappears, others start appearing all over creation, and Allie and Ryan team up to stop the underworld from taking over completely.

I had heard if you don't like Allie's voice you wouldn't like the book. This is probably true, as she has a very self-disclosing, up-front approach to narrating her life. Personally, I found her hilarious and winning, if not quite as dedicated to maintaining her own dignity as I maybe would have liked her to be. Her simultaneous pining for and territorial attitude around Ryan filled me with mirth and I was instantly rooting for them to overcome the barriers engendered by their different backgrounds (to put it mildly) and the fact that one of them is a wicked cool demon hunter and the other the manager of a diner who stumbles around opening doors to hell in her spare time. I laughed over and over again reading Salt and Silver and it was a rather welcome relief to read an urban fantasy with a healthy devil-may-care attitude and not so much angst and drama. Unfortunately the story and characters that sparkled while Allie and Ryan were aboveground and searching for clues, began to flag when they actually entered the hell dimensions and started their quest. Suddenly Allie's pining became grating and a little embarrassing. And Ryan never really broke out into a three dimensional character, staying hidden behind the brim of his Stetson and his tall, dark, and brooding role. I really liked them together, I just wish they had been more fleshed out, with a little more effort from Ryan and a little less desperation from Allie. Interestingly, once they were back aboveground things picked up once more for the wrapping up section. Though it didn't quite fulfill on all its promises, I enjoyed Salt and Silver overall for its sarcasm and light heart.

Comments

  1. Great review, Angie! I still want to read this one, even if it didn't quite live up to the expectation :)

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  2. Yay, you read this! Sometimes Allie's voice reminded me of YA but it's not YA. I still liked her voice though, but I didn't think everyone would.

    I liked the hells, just because I liked the mental images of those worlds, but I was embarrassed a bit when Allie was pleading with Ryan. Girl, stop that foolishness! Otherwise: fun, liked it. :)

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  3. After reading your review, I'm not sure if I want to read this one. I'm afraid it might annoy me. (The book, not your review)

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  4. Ladybug, oh definitely give it a shot. I thoroughly enjoyed her voice.

    Janicu, yep, loved Allie. But I'm with you on the pleading. Oh my gosh it was not good.

    Brenda, lol. I hear ya. You can read the first chapter here. That'll probably let you know if you want to read the whole thing.

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  5. A snarky, immature chick pushing thirty? Is this book about me?

    I'm glad you liked it. I have had this on my radar for a while, just never got around to it. I might just have to bump this one up my tbr list a few notches. Salt and Silver, you are now number at #65. ;o)

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  6. I've never even heard of this one so thanks for the heads up Angie. I'm always interested to see how co-writers manage to pull a book off. I think it would be difficult to put two different author voices into one character without a hitch. Maybe that's because I can't fathom how one writer, let alone two, can create a distinct character voice!

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  7. Sounds like fun. :D

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  8. I can't say I've read this book, but it sounds like a really good read. As a published author, I welcome you to my latest book, The Magic of Fuller, book one, "Keeper of the Stone". http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/TheMagicofFullerBookOne-KeeperoftheStone.html

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  9. Tiah, lol! I really did like Allie, for being unabashedly herself. Here's to a good read 64 books from now. :)

    Michelle, I absolutely agree. And there are only a few instances I've read that I thought were superb. Ilona and Gordon come immediately to mind, of course. But it does seem an incredibly hard task to set yourself.

    Britt, it is fun. Doesn't take itself too seriously kind of fun.

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  10. This one sounds fun, I'm glad it popped up here and I was reminded of its existence. The cover looks very 1998/my early teens YA book, which totally charms me. Even though it's not YA. Sounds like it almost is though.

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  11. Rhiannon, it was fun. I totally agree on the cover. It has a total late 90s feel to it. Probably why I thought it was YA.

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