{Review} House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Posted September 12, 2019 by Leah in Reviews / 6 Comments

{Review} House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows

by Erin A. Craig
Pages: 416
Published on August 6, 2019
by Delacorte
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book of the Month YA
Goodreads

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

2 Stars

House of Salt and Sorrows was incredibly hyped pre-publication. While I’m hesitant to get too excited for a book nowadays, I was looking forward to this one.  This had all the makings of the twisted tales I like, but there are some things that happen that did not work or left me confused. The book feels like a patchwork of ideas that were awkwardly thrown together.

House was my first introduction to The Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. I looked up the original story after reading House, and House is more a loose retelling of the Dancing Princesses. There’s also nods to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft (more on this later). The book thrives on atmosphere. Taking place on an island nation, there are crashing waves and ocean mist. It’s a Victorian inspired world, complete with the Victorian mourning rituals. There are rumors of curses. These are the strongest elements.

Annaleigh is the sixth daughter of the island’s lord. She was a decent narrator, but as a character, some was just okay. I never felt her love for her sisters. As she investigates the rumors of her family being cursed, it leads her to her instalove interest Cassius. This is where the book really starts losing its footing. One look at this too-hot boy and Annaleigh basically forgets how to do anything. I want to believe it’s because she’s lived a sheltered life with her sisters. But I thought we were trying to find the truth about a curse. This instalove story was something that would have been popular ten years ago. View Spoiler »

As the book progresses, things start happening to Annaleigh. It starts as dreams, then turns to visions while she’s awake. It’s whispers and noises. The act of dancing leads to unexpected truths. The slow pace of the horrors unnerving and otherwordly, very Poe-like and Lovecraftian. I was reading this at night and got scared a few times. Then it gets full on weird. There were times when I, like Annaleigh, started questioning my sanity. I was constantly asking myself, “What is going on?” Some big reveals were shocking, but View Spoiler ».

Overall, House of Salt and Sorrows is not what I was expecting in both good and bad ways. I am interested in seeing what Erin A. Craig does next though.

Leah

Leah

Co-Blogger at Quite the Novel Idea
Leah has always been a bibliophile. An avid fantasy fan, she has spent many hours imagining magical worlds and wondering what it would be like to wield a sword. When she's not dreaming up her own standalone fantasy stories, she enjoys watching movies, traveling, and eating chocolate. She lives in California.
Leah

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6 responses to “{Review} House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

  1. Oooh, this is one of the first negative reviews I’ve seen of this book, and I love it! I’m always suspicious when everyone loves a book, because it seems like those are the books I tend to not enjoy as much and then I feel betrayed by society.

    Ugh, I’m just so not a fan of instalove, and that can kill a book quickly for me. I was interested in reading this, but I don’t know. If the instalove romance plays a large portion of it, I know it’s just going to frustrate me. I do love the idea of Lovecraft/Poe vibes, and I’ve been dying for some creepy reading lately, so maybe I’ll try to pick it up next month. :3 Great review!

  2. I’m so sorry this one didn’t work for you. I love the original story so I’m really looking forward to read this. People have also been loving the creepy atmosphere of this book! But I’ve also read many reviews complaining how bad the pacing and the ending was, so I’m not in a rush to read this.

    I hope your next read will be better!

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