Saltblood by T.C.Parker
Updated: Jan 7
I tried to not read reviews about TC Parker’s Saltblood before reading it, I had seen the drop-dead gorgeous cover from Kealan Patrick Burke and decided to actually get a paperback (rare enough for me, so notable, therefore). It arrived, but not before I had picked up some information about the book – that it was set in a dome – something similar to a faraday cage – an area that cannot receive or send radio signals, where the “prisoners” of an island are kept. I immediately thought, of course, of a similar setup in Stephen King’s Under the dome. Yes, the two are under a dome. There, however, all similarities end.
It’s a little early to say (for me) what Parker does consistently, however the trend from the two books that I have read from her point toward an erudite vocabulary, strong female main characters, a love of mythology and its place in the world, and captivating dialogue. Parker does educated conversational set pieces, intellect pushing the story forward. It is the speculation of her characters to situations they find themselves in that drives the story. Tension is maintained because of emotional commitment to the characters, and those characters are illustrated in a timely fashion – their backgrounds, motivations, drives, traumas – all delivered seamlessly and with loving care to the placement of those threads into the story, in a way that reads effortlessly.
You believe in her characters, because, well, they might as well be real. With all of their fears, hang-ups, and dirty laundry. It’s spellbinding, and that, of course, makes the unbelievable believable.
Because of the amount of time and care T.C. invests in character and world-building, the reader is along for the ride, and Saltblood provides. The main story focuses on the budding relationship of the two female main characters, Robin and Julia, pushed together in an extreme situation, under duress. One of the fantastic things about this novel is T.C’s absolute commitment to the voice of her characters. There were times where a character would say something which I totally didn’t expect, but was the only really true way of answering – going against the wishes of what we would want that character to say, but staying laser accurate to a true depiction of what a normal person would say in the same situation. A – “why the hell would I do that?” answer in a situation where we need her to agree and get the hell out of there - type of thing. My point is, T.C. stays true to her characters, and it pays off in spades. There are no secondary characters in this book. The world-building and character foundation is exemplary.
You don’t need to know from me what happens in this book. You need to know that it is a fantastically crafted, character-driven, literately worded wonder of a book.
And that it’s hell in those waters.
5 out of 5 ⭐’s
You can buy Saltblood by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
You can visit T.C's website, HERE.
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You can find T.C. on Instagram, HERE.