October 23rd, 2017

Book with cat: hugging book

Book #34 of 2017: The Salt Line

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

Set in the near-ish future, in The Salt Line ticks have evolved to be deadly. I mean, "kill you in seconds" deadly. Oh you won't die that fast, but you will wish you would. If a tick bites you, the best case is that it will infect you with its eggs, and a couple days later the new ticks will burst out of you. Yep, that's the best case. If it's somewhere like your arm or leg, then you're especially lucky, since you might live. If it's near your organs or major blood stream (thus can get to your organs), you're as good as dead. And, if you survive the hatchings, you still have a high chance of getting a fatal disease spread by those same ticks. [Edit: Rereading this paragraph, it makes the book sound like a horror story. It is not. The ticks are a scary element, but they're really (mostly) just part of the setting of the story -- a constant threat, yes, but (rarely) in a graphic, horror movie-ish sort of way.]

So, because of the tick threat, people have retreated to cities, places that can be kept free of ticks. But some rich people get bored and want to see the old world, the places people used to be able to live before the tick problems, so a company formed to lead trips out into the wild. High price, high risk, but people still go. The story follows one of those groups.

It says something about the writing of this book that I hadn't even realized it was a dystopian story until about a third of the way in. It's a strong twist on it, and the dystopian-ness is really just background to the interaction of the characters.

As interesting as the world is, as big of a threat the ticks are, it's the characters that make the whole story work. They were all so interesting, and I loved getting to know them.

The only negative thing I have to say about the book is the very end of it didn't work for me -- I didn't believe what a couple of the characters did. (I believe it was to leave an opening for a second book.) Still, even with that, this book was completely worth reading.

Reading next: Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (the same author who wrote the Seraphina books).