#BookReview: A CURSE OF SALT by Sarah Street @sarahastreet @teambkmrk

Publication: 25th May 2023 – Hodder Children’s Books

A heartless beast
A sister’s sacrifice
And a love so strong it will drown the raging sea …

In a kingdom that fears the sea, Ria Lucroy longs to be brave.

Bodies are washing ashore and everyone knows who’s to blame. Legends of the Heartless King shroud the continent in fear; they call him a pirate, a monster, a god. When his mercenaries raid her father’s merchant ship, Ria’s family is faced with a horrifying demand. They will spare his life, in exchange for one of his daughters.

Determined to save her sisters, Ria launches herself into the world of pirates. Face-to-face with the Heartless King, she finds he is far more than the stories told. He is a man, with a human name and blood-stained hands, bound to the seas by a centuries-old curse. As their chemistry blooms into something more, Ria finds herself caught in an ancient web of secrets.

Battling creatures of the deep alongside those that reign its surface, Ria discovers how to love a heartless man and that some curses aren’t so easy to break.

Prepare for stormy seas and swoony romance in this addictive retelling of Beauty and the Beast … Perfect for fans of Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreakers series and Sarah J Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses.



A Curse of Salt is the debut novel by Sarah Street, an immersive YA fantasy and a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but with pirates and gods.

The protagonist of the novel is Aurelia “Ria” Lucroy, a young woman who dreams of being brave and see the world, but, instead, her place is at home, helping to take care of her ailing sister and their father. However, as the bodies of the local merchants start arriving ashore and her own father’s life is in danger, Ria decides to sacrifice herself and protect her family and her village, by offering herself as a sacrifice to the Heartless King and his crew of pirates. He is known for his ruthlessness and he is feared by everyone who travels by the sea, but Ria soon finds out that behind the Heartless King there is, in reality, a man, Sebastian, who, together with his crew, is bound to the sea by a centuries-old curse (like Davy Jones, but without tentacles!).

I had a bit of a slow start, but then I really started to enjoy A Curse of Salt. The romance is well-developed: an impossible love and the enemies-to-lovers trope worked really well between Ria and Sebastian. I liked how their relationship developed, slowly and naturally, with easy banter and witty exchanges.

The world-building is intriguing and it blends well with the narrative, while the setting is evocative and the writing is beautiful. A fantastic and complex cast of characters kept me immersed in the novel, each with its own story and secret to tell. The ending was well-thought and satisfying and it leaves open for, hopefully, a sequel that I would certainly read! 

A huge thank you to Hachette Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this fantastic novel.

Sarah Street is a YA fantasy author, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney, Australia. She has a BA in English and Criminology and spends her days amid a hoard of books, playing Hozier songs to her houseplants and deciding what great body of water to write about next.

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