Daughter Of The Salt King - Book Review
Updated: Jun 30
Daughter of the Salt King by A.S. Thornton is a beautiful book, but I want to preface this review by noting that this book does deal with sexual assault, rape, and abuse. It was very relevant to the story, but please be aware this book has some very dark themes and is solidly an adult fantasy novel as opposed to YA.
When I want to be whisked away to a fantastical world, I read fantasy, and Daughter of the Salt King by A.S. Thornton delivered! Set in a vast dessert, the Salt King rules supreme due to his control over all the salt in the land. Though wealthy beyond measure, his greed knows no bounds as he forces his daughters to live as prisoners within his dominion, having them guarded constantly, only so he can force them to sleep with visiting nobles in hopes of securing a marriage to the nobles and thus strengthening the Salt King’s power. And if that’s not bad enough, any daughter who is not wed by her twenty-third birthday is exiled from the palace as a poor, disgraced beggar.
Emel, one of the king’s daughters, starts the story with the desire to find a husband, to please her father, and also use marriage as an escape from the confines of the palace. That changes when she accidentally meets Saalim, her father’s secret, wish-granting jinni. The two begin a clandestine relationship, and Emel starts to question what she truly wants in life, and how far she is willing to go in order to get it.
I enjoyed seeing Emel’s journey of coming into her own. Readers get to watch her expand her hopes for her life, learn to love on her terms, and define for herself what she desires. It is a process of moving from complete servitude to something greater. And the play of power is further (and wonderfully) complicated because of the rules of magic that A.S. Thornton created. Wishes are not as perfect as they first seem, since the source of their power comes from a goddess who likes to play tricks on people, making wishes as dangerous as they are useful. Instead of relying on magic to solve everything, Emel must decide how much she truly is willing to risk losing.
Here is the official Goodreads Synopsis:
As a daughter of the Salt King, Emel ought to be among the most powerful women in the desert. Instead, she and her sisters have less freedom than even her father's slaves … for the Salt King uses his own daughters to seduce visiting noblemen into becoming powerful allies by marriage.
Escape from her father's court seems impossible, and Emel dreams of a life where she can choose her fate. When members of a secret rebellion attack, Emel stumbles upon an alluring escape route: her father's best-kept secret—a wish-granting jinni, Saalim.
But in the land of the Salt King, wishes are never what they seem. Saalim's magic is volatile. Emel could lose everything with a wish for her freedom as the rebellion intensifies around her. She soon finds herself playing a dangerous game that pits dreams against responsibility and love against the promise of freedom. As she finds herself drawn to the jinni for more than his magic, captivated by both him and the world he shows her outside her desert village, she has to decide if freedom is worth the loss of her family, her home and Saalim, the only man she's ever loved.