Daughter of the Salt King by A.S. Thornton, published 2 February 2021.

The description on the cover caught my attention:

A girl of the desert and a jinni born long ago by the sea, both enslaved by the Salt King- but with this capricious magic, only one can be set free.

This description rings a bit YA, but the book has been hailed as adult and I soon found out why. Within the first two chapters, actually.

The titular Salt King is what it says on the tin, the king of a desert kingdom/village who has accumulated the most salt. His riches enabled him to stock his harem with lots of wives, which gave him lots of children.

His male offspring is carted off to the army. The girls are hidden in tents that may not even been opened for some ventilation in order to keep them secluded form the eyes of possible suitors. They are being wed off to form fortuitous alliances.

For shock value – and possibly to alleviate this novel above YA – the girls aren’t just wed to a suitor. Possible future sons-in-law may take the girl they’ve cast their eye on and spend three nights with them. If she performs to his satisfaction, he might marry her. Or test drive one of her sisters/half-sisters.

The MC, whose name I’ve already forgot, has been hoping to leave her father’s compound for some time. She dreams of being set free by being wed and joining her husband’s harem ever since her first night pleasing a man at age fourteen. Time’s pressing, she has to snag a hubby, especially, since she’s twenty-two already and unwed daughters will be cast/thrown out of the compound at age twenty-three.

I managed to read the first three chapters. There might be a rather good fantasy story about a young woman rebelling against her father, saving her people and falling for a jinni, but I just couldn’t do with the non-consensual sex with minors; the father pimping out his daughters.

0/5 Harpy Eagles