Salted by Aaron Galvin

Slavery under the sea in a fantastic modern selkie tale.

Synopsis of Salted by Aaron GalvinLife isn’t better under the sea. Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.

But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma.

How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.

My two cents

This is bit of a change in my reading fare as I read very few young adult books, plus I don't normally read urban fantasy books. But the cover and the originality of the concept intrigued me. As a child, the fairy tale The Little Mermaid has always fascinated me: who wouldn't fall in love with the idea of an ancient world under the seas?
But this is nothing like I imagined it would be. This is a thoroughly modernized selkie tale that felt like a movie unfolding! There is lots of action and it has a Transformers or X-Men-like feel to it (little wonder as the author hails from the movie industry.)

Galvin invents a whole new underwater world, with a complex hierarchy and playing on themes of racism, slavery and class: to be "salted" is to be part of this caste system. The merpeople don't just swim around in their underwater world but can transform from  their sea form (seals, otters, dolphins, sharks, etc.) and move amongst humans, with only an ordinary-looking hoodie (yes, everyone wears a hoodie these days) as a telltale sign that they are "salted."

The storyline is told at a neckbreaking speed and it's dizzying at how fast I read through this! The cast of characters are numerous with life stories are as interesting and as complex as the imaginary world Galvin has built. 

My only gripe is that since this is the first book in a series, just getting my head around the concepts of this new world demanded a steep learning curve and it it felt overwhelming at times.

Verdict: A creative and thoroughly modernized take on the myth of selkies, with compelling world building and interesting array of characters. Action-packed, this promises to be a unique and exciting series.

I recommend this to late teens to young adults who enjoy fantasy and are looking for a good creative spin on merpeople. Also recommended for those who love their movies like Transformers or X-Men.

The cover is beautiful wildlife photography, don't you agree?

I am now really curious to know what Lenny looks like in his human form, and I need to hear his Boston accent ;)

Also, I can totally see a movie being made and the merchandise that this series can spawn: I am thinking different hoody styles!

I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

About Aaron Galvin

SALTED is Aaron Galvin’s debut novel and the first in his Salt series.

He first cut his chops writing original stand-up comedy routines at age thirteen. His early works paid off years later when he co-wrote and executive produced the 2013 award-winning indie feature film, Wedding Bells and Shotgun Shells. He is also an accomplished actor.

Aaron has worked in Hollywood blockbusters, (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers), and starred in dozens of indie films. Aaron is a proud member of SCBWI. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall