Disclaimer: I read the advanced readers' copy of this book even though it was published on September 23, 2014. I read what was available. Undoubtedly there will be minor differences between the version I read and the published version.
So, this book had me making a lot of 'what' noises throughout. Not because of the magic, island culture, or boat things I have no real experience with, but more of Avery making.....choices. Yup.
So, have an amazon summary, "A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future.
Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.
Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
I'm going to lay it out for you a bit better than the amazon summary.
The Roe women of Prince Island have kept the sailors safe ever since the island was settled. For generators Roe witches have made protective spells, granted use of the winds, and helped the island in all manner of ways. Each Roe witch has a specialty. Avery's mother can make spells to help the heart (in a love sense) and Avery can foresee your future from a dream you tell her.
Avery grew up with her mother for a little bit before she started living with her grandmother. Avery began to learn how to be a witch like her grandmother and presumably her mother by watching her grandmother at work. She was also witness to the strange comings and goings of folks who 'needed' magic. Avery adores her grandmother and wants to be a witch just like her, regardless of what her mother intends. Avery also knows that the key to unlocking her magic is to make a 'great' sacrifice.
Avery's mother wants nothing to do with being a witch. She intends to break the cycle of witches, unless Avery can stop her. When Avery turns 12, Avery's mother removes her from the grandmother's home and drags her away to live with her new husband, the town's preacher who is against witchcraft.
For the past four years Avery has been living in 'hell'. She tries all manner of ways to tap into her magic but her mother has made a spell that prevents her from returning to her grandmother's cottage.
Avery is pushed to unlock her magic after she has a dream where she foretells her death.
Enter Tane, a strange boy who is a sailor. Tane dabbles in 'strange' magic. In a desperate attempt, Avery begins to work with Tane and his strange magic (regardless of her grandmother's warnings to NEVER mix magics; especially strange magic) in return for interpreting his dreams. Tane is desperate to find the men who murdered the people of his own island while he was away exploring the world.
Tane and Averys' individual goals play against each other pretty well. The struggle of magic, understanding families, and having goals clash a bit fantastically.
However, I draw quibbles with Avery's character. I really didn't enjoy her narration. She had great descriptions of the land, the people, the cultural attitude, but there was something lacking in the way she conveyed things. Avery seemed to fall short of giving the complete picture which was so frustrating. Even when the 'complete' picture was presented, I felt it was achieved through slight of word (ha) rather than driving the plot to its' conclusion. There didn't really seem to be an true emotional reaction or theme. I mean, Avery made it QUITE clear what she was feeling from time to time, but it didn't ring as authentic to me. Just forced words on a page.
There were also a few moments sprinkled throughout where the characterization of different people seemed to be violated to tweak the situation to where the author wanted to go. It wasn't anything outrageous, but it was noticeable and off-putting. There were also a few things that just didn't add up to me in a sense of the timeline and the expectations from different characters that they placed on each other. But maybe that was trying to indicate the sense of their family? Whatever it was, it didn't come across as well as it could have.