The Saltwater Heir is a beautifully crafted story about a stolen princess who is found again after 10 years presumed dead. Soren belongs to both warring kingdoms and not only must she try to connect the two halves of herself as her lost memories begin to surface but she must also race against time to find an antidote to an uncurable viper bite for her beloved battlemate.
I was hooked by the concept of this story and knew I couldn’t miss out on the chance to read this book. I was hooked immediately; I loved the introduction to Nyx and was very happy that it didn’t take long for Soren to be discovered by Atlas.
The setting was excellent, and Clarke really made me fall in love with Atlas. We only get the first few chapters to see Nyx, the home Soren was raised in, and whilst we spend the majority of the book in Atlas, Clarke really managed to portray Soren’s love of Nyx and I feel as though we get a good idea of her home whilst also getting to explore Atlas alongside Soren. The idea of Soren being born of both these two warring kingdoms really put into perspective that war is fought by the innocent people fighting for their home, neither side is evil despite the horrors war entails.
I really loved getting to know the royal siblings and thoroughly enjoyed watching their relationships with Soren grow and develop throughout the story. I liked that each sibling had their own story and I enjoyed getting to know them all. We get multiple POVs throughout which I loved as it gave us insight into each of the siblings as well as Soren and her battle mate, Elias. This allowed us to gain a lot more knowledge about each one, so they all felt a lot more in-depth and well rounded - we really got to understand the perspective of each sibling which made their interactions much richer and more meaningful. I also really appreciated that the different POV chapters weren’t rigid and weren’t forced to alternate as it made it a lot more natural and gave us insight when it felt needed but still meant Soren was our focus. This worked very well with the story!
There were a lot of emotional moments thought out the story as I felt connected to their shared history and backstory, and their family banter was amazing- it made it feel very genuine and I loved seeing this develop throughout the story. Finn was my absolute favourite - he had a lot of layers and depth and his pure love for Soleil was unparalleled. His many pretences hid a much deeper cunning individual and I liked that he preferred to keep pretending he was less than his siblings even though he was so much more than they believed.
The writing was excellent and flowed very smoothly. The story absolutely captivated me and completely drew me into the world and the characters. The ending was absolutely killer, and it broke my heart for all of them, but I have hope for book two!
Overall, it was a beautiful story, full of heartbreak, family, hope, and betrayal. Clarke wove an exquisite tale with a beautiful setting and a layered story with enthralling characters and an ending that has me begging for the next book! I would highly recommend it for readers who enjoy familial bonds, banter, secret heir tropes, and good story twists.
Thank you to the author and @sapphire_ink_press for gifting me an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Princess Soren of Nyx is no stranger to loss after a decade-long war with the neighboring kingdom of Atlas. But with her best friend slowly succumbing to a cruel Atlas poison, she hatches a reckless plan: kidnap the enemy prince from the battlefield and use his life to barter for the antidote. But when that prince calls her by a different name...the name of his sister, whose death began the war ten years ago...everything changes. Stolen away to Atlas, trapped behind enemy lines, Soren must navigate a kingdom she knows nothing about, surrounded by a family she doesn't remember, and work to hunt down the antidote only Atlas possesses, all while strange memories fight to take over-memories of a different life, a different home, a different girl. And memories aren't the only thing awakened by Soren's return. Dark, forbidden magics begin to stir, threatening both her new life and her old. With death stalking in every shadow, the lost princess must fight harder and sacrifice more than she ever dreamed to save what she holds most dear.
Title: The Saltwater Heir
Series: The Gardner Girls #2
Author: Cassidy Clarke
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars