Book Review: Salem's Vengeance
Author: Aaron Galvin
Published By: Aames & Abernathy
Publication Date: 25 July 2014
Page Count: 252
Buy it on Amazon
Source: e-book provided by author
Audience: Young Adult – Historical Fiction
I wrote a paper on the Salem Witch Trials in college, as it has always been a fascination of mine. When I was presented with the opportunity to review a book with influences from the trials, I couldn't say no. Aaron Galvin creates a unique look at life after the Salem witch trials that had me hooked from the beginning.
Salem's Vengeance is set in 1712, nineteen years after the Salem witch trials about 500 miles south of Salem in the town of Winford, in the Carolina Territory. People still talk about Salem and what took place, ever cautious of any witchcraft being done in their town. Sarah Kelly is a 16-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, but still defying her parents and society as kids are wont to do. She slips out at night to dance in the moonlight with her friends, innocent enough in their young eyes.
But one night Sarah realizes it is no longer innocent. New girls show up with a leader who claims to be the daughter of the Devil himself. She offers them a substance that is supposed to let them see and commune with spirits. Sarah's friends eagerly partake, but Sarah has reservations and runs away before she is made to take it as well.
That one night forever changes not only Sarah's life, but that of her family and the whole town. Sarah's friends soon begin to act strangely, becoming more and more insane. Strangers come to town, shouting that witchcraft is being performed in the surrounding woods. Chaos soon errupts and Sarah discovers horrible secrets about her own family and learns that you can't outrun your past.
I tried not to give too much away in my above synopsis, but still create enough mystery and intrigue to get you (the readers of this review) to read this book. I absolutely love this story. I honestly can't think of many faults aside from a spelling or grammatical error here and there.
I will say, it took me a few pages to get into it because the language is a bit different. Galvin uses language from that era, which I do applaud, but when you aren't used to reading it, it takes a bit for the words to start flowing naturally.
Galvin dives into the heart of the story from the very first chapter. He throws us into the plot line almost immediately, leaving little room for fillers, but doesn't sacrifice the characters in doing so. It had me gripped from the beginning and I couldn't put it down once I started.
It was easy to imagine the world that Galvin created. You can tell he did a great deal of research, not only on the witch trials themselves, but on the time period as well. You see the hardships that people in those times faced with many still fearing the “savages” that the colonies warred with and blaming much of the witchcraft on them.
The characters are all well developed and you can't help but fall in love with the ones that become the main focus. You cheer for them and at times gasp and pray that they make it out of the dangerous situations they encounter. You see the – very subtle – relationships forming between some of the characters (it is the 1700s after all and still a puritan society) and you hope these feelings develop further. Even the evil that the witches embody is intoxicating, the crazy characters memorable. From the start you are fully engaged with these people and can't stop yourself from wanting more.
I am definitely looking forward to reading the next two installments of this trilogy. Aaron Galvin has created a forever fan in me. The second book, Salem's Fury, is available now.
One Last Thought: This book is extremely violent and graphic in some parts. I don't think it would be enough to scare anyone or give them nightmares, but I would be aware of this fact with younger readers. I feel like this would be more suited for 15/16 years and up.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I truly loved the inclusion of all the historical facts about the Salem Witch Trials and also the characters from The Crucible. They were woven in very smoothly.
First Sentence: My freedom comes with the moonlight.
Favorite Character: Priest
Least Favorite Character: Don't really have a least favorite character in this book
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kelly never expected to meet the Devil’s daughter. She only sought innocent dancing in the moonlight, not a coven entranced by their dark priestess. When her friends partake of a powder meant to conjure spirits - and the results go horribly awry - Sarah is forced to make a choice. To keep their secret risks her own damnation, but to condemn them may invoke the accusing remnants of Salem to rise again.