by Josie Demuth
The Salt Kisses Series, Book One
YA Urban Fantasy
The spellbinding sequel to A Thousand Salt Kisses.
Four years ago, Crystal White fell in love with Llyr, a prince of the magical mer colony living off the coast of Starfish Island. For one summer, he enchanted her with stories of jeweled palaces and underwater gardens, but then he left, returning beneath the waves with her heart in tow.
Now, graduated and with no job in sight, Crystal is forced to go back to the island she thought she had left in the past. By the sea again, she realizes she is far from over her first love, and when an opportunity arises to contact the merfolk, Crystal can’t resist.
Once more with the mer, Crystal is forced to come to terms with the fact that Llyr has moved on, and also with her own magical secret that has endangered her life, his throne, and every mer kingdom. Working against all odds, she has to try to save the people she has come to love and—if she can—rekindle the romance of her first summer on Starfish Island.
I did read the first book in this series and would suggest that the second book not be tackled as a stand-alone, since Crystal's background is needed to fully allow the story to develop.
After four years, Crystal returns to Starfish Island and meets Llyr to discover that he's moved on from their romance and is now, engaged. She also learns of her own magic and must discover how to deal with all of it as this last twist endangers the entire mer world.
This book has a slightly different feel to it than the first. The teenage Crystal from before has now matured into a fresh, college graduate. . .so this now hits the border of YA/NA. She returns with a little baggage this time too. She has a boyfriend of her own and no longer has the carefree life she did back in high school. Job troubles also plague her world. In other words, the sweet girl from book one is different as is the entire romance/fairy tale feel.
The world of the mer is more explored in this book, and the author does a lovely job of bringing the entire colorful, fantasy to life. The 'real' life aspects are still present but are shoved a little more to the side as magic gains much more importance in the plot. More characters are introduced and others slide into a more important role. Some are left a little unexplored, while others have interesting changes in views.
The pacing is a little quicker in this book and detours a bit from the intense romance in book one. The tension is fine, and there are enough twists and turns to keep it interesting--although some of these are on the predictable side. The fantasy side ups higher as Crystal discovers her own powers and is pulled into the underwater world. And the romance isn't as straight forward as before, but rather leans toward an unexpected love triangle.
New found magic and added layers of secrets allow a more complex plot in this book than was seen in the first one. While much of it is logical, some remains unexplained. Still, it makes for a light, fun read. Especially younger YAers will enjoy the fantastical story, and even though the character herself has just graduated college, they'll be able to sympathize with her plight.
And here she is. . .
Josie Demuth is an author based in London. First published on Wattpad, her Salt Kisses series has garnered nearly four million reads and are now serialised on Radish Fiction. The second of this series, A Thousand Salt Kisses Later is her fourth novel.
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