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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Salt and the Sovereign: A Mermaid Fantasy by A.L. Knorr is the second book in The Siren's Curse series. Step into Targa's past through her mother's story as she shares the moments that led up to Salt and Stone. When Bel returns with her mother to their underwater home of Okeanos, she soon learns that her mother is a tyrant and a horrific incident pushes Bel to develop a plan to stop her rule. Before she can take the throne, Bel must take a journey onto land where she struggles to understand her heart while matters in Okeanos become more dangerous. Bel faces a choice between her heart and her duty to the throne while risking falling prey to the Siren's Curse that could cost her everything.
The story has an intriguing structure, framed as a story that Targa's mom is telling with injections of the present day. The first-person narration shifts from the first book to the perspective of her mother as she delves into her past which is used as a way to gain a deeper understanding of Targa's origins. The reflective nature of the story makes for great writing and a unique way of stepping into past events by seeing them through Bel's eyes. The second book shares a similar focus, which is the exploration of the mother-daughter relationship. A.L. Knorr excels at worldbuilding around the characters with each series connected by their friendships and each focusing on a specific element woven into the setting.
Knorr dives deeper into this underwater society rooted in a feud between Okeanos and Atlantis with the first looking down in a condescending way at the other. The feud is an important element that slowly builds over the course of events and puts certain parts of the first book into perspective. Knorr delivers a character-driven story in Salt and the Sovereign that has a rich background, a romantic subplot reminiscent of the Little Mermaid, and a framed story that focuses on mother-daughter relationships and furthers the origins of Targa through her mother's past.