Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: Salt by Maurice Gee

Salt is a fantasy/adventure that really took me by surprise. This story grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let go. The story flowed easily and fluidly, while at the same time creating enough suspense and tension to keep the pages turning.

Gee has created a world of oppressed people (the Burrows) who are enslaved by the Company. There is a middle class, as well, of clerks and workers, who don’t realize the conditions in the Burrows. Hari’s father is captured by the Company and sent to the Deep Salt mine – which is certain death. Hari vows to save his father, so he leaves the Burrows knowing nothing more than Deep Salt is in the north.

Meanwhile, Pearl is escaping from her privileged existence because she is being forced to marry Ottmar, an old, evil shareholder who works for the Company. She is being helped by her maid, Tealeaf, who is much more than a maid. 

Tealeaf is a Dweller. These people have special powers.  They can communicate with others without speaking and can push them to do what they want and make them forget what they want. Pearl and Hari both have some of these powers also, and the three of them end up travelling together, while honing these special skills.
There’s much more to the adventure, and I really don’t want to give away too many plot details. But there are twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  There is a conclusion to the book but it also leaves you with questions about the future of this civilization.  Thank goodness the second book, Gool, is already published!

This book is appropriate for middle school students as well as older teens. I think this one would especially appeal to boys, since Hari is a strong, brave, knife-wielding main character.  There’s much for girls to enjoy also, since Pearl is very adventurous herself.

Published by Orca, 2007
Copy obtained from the library
252 pages


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