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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Salt and Silver' by Anna KATHERINE

From the BLURB:

Allie can't seem to get it together. Ever since her mom ran away to Rio with Rio - her tennis instructor - stealing Allie's trust fund and her comfortable way of life, Allie has been floundering. She works in Sally's Diner, and lives above it. And one night in the basement, she and her friends chant a ridiculous spell - for money, for luck, for love and open a Doorway to Hell.

Ryan thinks he's got it all figured out. When the Door opened he appeared out of nowhere, a Stetson-wearing demon hunter dressed in leather. He's assigned to the Door, and hangs out at the diner, and when the Door disappears he is certain that Allie had something to do with it.

But something strange is happening in Brooklyn. Something bigger than Allie, and Ryan, and the Door in the diner basement. And when a meeting of demon hunters gives birth to a dangerous idea, Allie and Ryan are left to wonder if the fragile feelings growing between them can survive a trip to Hell.or if they themselves will survive at all.

I am currently making my way through my monstrous TBR pile. I was trying to choose which book to start with and thought I’d be very diplomatic and try out the first 5 pages of a few books to decide which hooked me.
So I picked up 'Salt and Silver', intending to give the first 5 pages a chance to pique my interest ... 3 hours and 357 pages later I was in LOVE!

The story starts right in the thick of action. When we meet her, Allie is running a NYC diner called ‘Sally’s’ which just so happens to have a Door to Hell in the basement. Yeah... a slight ‘hiccup’. As the story begins;

This is not a complicated story. There’s a Door to Hell in the basement of my diner, right next to where we stack the boxes from food deliveres.

You see, six years ago Allie was a trust-fund baby whose biggest problem was deciding between a black Anna Sui dress or a black Givenchy dress. Then her mum ran off to Rio with her tennis instructor (also called Rio – oh! The irony!). Allie had to leave her Long Island dream-home and move to Brooklyn where she took up her first ever job waitressing at Sally’s. On the night of her first shift Allie’s über-rich très-spoiled friends, Amanda and Stan, bought some vodka and X to celebrate Allie’s first foray into the work force. Amanda had the fantastic idea to recite some hocus-pocus she’d heard from the movie ‘The Craft’ to try and multiply some money and POOF! Door to Hell opened up. And with the door came Ryan. Ryan in his leather duster and Stetson cowboy hat – strapped with knives, salt and shotgun, Ryan announced himself as a ‘Hunter’ whose job it was to guard any Door’s to Hell that crop up.

‘Salt and Silver’ starts ‘six years later’ when Allie is now managing Sally’s Diner, has a massive girl-crush on Ryan and is a sometimes killer of all the ‘mystical crap’ that the Door occasionally spits out. But things go hay-wire when Allie’s Door disappears, and other Door’s start spontaneously showing up all around NYC. Now it’s up to Allie, Ryan and a few other Hunter’s to travel into the bowels of Hell and figure out how to stop the world from turning to mush... would you like fries with that?

I enjoyed this book so much that I was kicking myself for having put-off reading it for a whole YEAR! A year that I was denying myself this funny, fast and utterly FANTASTIC book!

How to describe ‘Salt and Silver’? Well.... It’s a little bit of all my favourite things.
It’s a little bit ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ for quick come-backs and snappy dialogue, and a Hellmouth-esque Door to Hell residing in a NYC Diner. There’s also a ‘Supernatural’ flavour to the book for all the Hellish references to creepy crawlies and excessive use of salt and shotguns. Its got a dash of ‘Gossip Girl’ because our protagonist is a former Long-Island darling who used to match her Gucci shoes to her Prada handbag before she became poor. And the dark humour is often reminiscent of Molly Harper’s ‘Jane Jameson’ series.
To summarize in one word – ‘cool’. This book is so freakin cool that it hurts! It’s the kind of instantly-addictive reading that makes you want to get up on a soapbox and sell copies on a street corner.

Everything about this book sucks you in – from the helter-skelter plot that demands your attention from the get-go, to Anna Katherine’s unique take on old mythologies. In this world werewolves are not sexy beast-men; they are ticks that crawl beneath your skin like body-snatchers, turning you into a rampaging, slathering monster. Likewise, vampires are not sultry and seductive – they are like ‘evil butterflies’ who use a ‘proboscis’ (elongated appendage – like a feeding tube!) to suck your blood/soul, and they have moth wings! Eek!
‘Salt and Silver’ is set in modern day, but humanity is none-the-wiser to the Doors of Hell or the Hunter’s who save our lives on a daily basis by killing everything that comes through the Door’s. This is a marvellously creepy world and a wonderful take on old supernaturals. The NYC setting adds a certain ambiance to the Hell dimensions and keeps the book grounded in the ‘urban’ side of ‘urban fantasy’.

There’s also a BIG romance between Allie and Ryan. You may be sceptical of these lovebirds when you realize that they’ve had six years of dancing around one another. But that’s six years of pent-up sexual frustration that impending doom releases. When we meet them Allie and Ryan are only just admitting their feelings for one another. None of the ‘frustration’ is lost because these two have known each other for six years; you feel every bit of Allie’s lust and Ryan’s yearning. Allie and Ryan are incredibly H-O-T. Seriously, Anna Katherine writes some good sex scenes. But more than that, Ryan and Allie are incredibly sweet. It’s a funny irony that Allie had to get a Door to Hell in order to have Ryan – but both the Door and Ryan really changed her outlook on life and have been shaping her character for these past six years;

I’m like the poster child for spoiled rich kid – or I used to be. Stan and Amanda are still the same people they were when we were in high school, but I’m completely different.
Or I like to think that I am.
But it’s like... it’s like I really became alive when the Door opened and I met Ryan. It’s like that’s when my life really started. All my memories from the last few years are sharp and true – the happiness is brighter, the pain hurts more, and I am pretty sure I remember every single time Ryan smiled.
I can’t remember what my mother looks like, but I can remember every single time Ryan has smiled at me.

When readers are introduced to Allie we get none of her previous snobbishness and all of her guts and bravado. She’s a great character because she’s been repenting for six years after one (MASSIVE) mistake. She’s gutsy, clever and quick-witted. She’s a combination of Buffy Summers, Lorelai Gilmore and Jane Jameson, IMO; utterly fabulous and impossible to dislike. Especially when she comes out with zinging dialogue and random thought-processes;

I would wink, but when I wink I look like I have an eye twitch, so instead I just smirk. Which makes me look like a bitchy homophobe, I am sure.

‘Anna Katherine’ is actually a pseudonym for two women: Anna Genoese and Katherine C. According to their official bio both ladies have a background in the publishing industry (as editors?) before they decided to put pen to paper and write their first novel, ‘Salt and Silver’. I've got to say, based on ‘Salt and Silver’ alone I will put Anna Katherine down as an automatic-buy for me. They don’t have any other books slated for release, but I have my fingers crossed that this fabulously-magic-duo pump out more books. Please? PLEASE?!

There is so much jam-packed, heart-palpating action in ‘Salt and Silver’ that starts from page #1 and never lets up. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book... to say it was ‘worth the wait’ is an understatement of gigantic proportions. Do yourself a favour and read ‘Salt and Silver’ – you will not be disappointed!

5/5

9 comments:

  1. Danielle,

    I have this one on the tbr shelf - glad to see you enjoyed it. :) 5 out of 5!

    M

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  2. oh wow... what great review! I have to check out this book right now LOL... Im gonna see if I can get it on ebook =))

    thanks!!!

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  3. I'm so excited this got a 5 from you. I have it in my tbr.

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  4. i love this review and completely agree! :D And dude, they are currently working on a sequel to Salt & Silver! *crosses fingers*

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  5. Excellent review! I've seen this at the library and the bookstore. Picked it up then, sob, put it back. You can bet I won't put it back next time!

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  6. Sounds great. I'll keep an eye out for it.

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  7. What rock am I living under? I've never heard of this book! Sounds good though; you haven't steered me wrong yet.

    (Oh, trying 5 pages? Should I call you Georgina? :D )

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  8. Hi! So this is one half of Anna Katherine, author of hunter-and-Hell-filled SALT AND SILVER, which you favorably reviewed in 2010. You know how you said you'd really like to see more from us? Well... we're releasing the sequel, BLOOD AND SALT, in March!

    The first three chapters are up as a preview, if you're interested: http://saltsilverandblood.tumblr.com/bloodandsalt/sample

    Enjoy!

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