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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-08-06 13:20
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

TITLE:  House of Salt and Sorrows


AUTHOR:  Erin A. Craig


NARRATOR:  Emily Lawrence





"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.




A beautifully written, dark (and sometimes creepy) retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale.  Lovely world building and characters, though some of the younger sisters started to merge.

PS:  I listened to the audio book and managed to stay awake, as well as anticipating my next listening session, which is something that almost never happens with audio books.

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review 2019-07-31 15:34
Retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses
House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 


So this was really good. I like a good retelling and Craig does a great job with "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by the Brothers Grimm. We follow the main character Annaleigh who is intent on figuring out if her older sister was murdered. From there we have Craig work in Gothic elements as well as some pretty dark horror elements as well. I loved the world building and would be interested in reading more about the sisters. The main reason why I gave this 4 stars though is that the book noticeably drags in a lot of places. And honestly, I started to get all of the sisters confused after a while except for Verity and Annaleigh. 


"House of Salt and Sorrows" follows Annaleigh Thaumas who is reeling from another funeral. Her sister was found dead and this makes this the fourth sister (out of 12) who has died over the past few years. Many in the community believe that the Thaumas sisters and family are cursed. With Annaleigh's father remarrying and expecting a son, she wonders if someone out there is out to hurt Annaleigh and her sisters due to the manor and all of their riches going to the eldest child, not the male heir. 


Annaleigh was a great heroine to root for. She loves her sisters, misses her mother, and is trying with her newest stepmother. However, she starts to wonder if someone or something is stalking her sisters and her. When she and her sisters start to sneak out to dance at balls (they have been dealing with mourning rules for about 5 years) she initially doesn't think what they are doing is wrong. However, she quickly grows afraid since she keeps getting visions about her sisters dying all around her. When she meets a young man named Cassius, Annaleigh starts to dream about maybe falling in love and marrying.


The other sisters besides Verity kind of got lost to me after a while. I know that there were triplets (I think) and there may have been twins. Seriously. I needed a family tree or something like that when the book first starts that I could have flipped back and forth to make sure I was tracking people correctly.

I loved Cassius and his whole backstory. I don't want to spoil, but that is why I thought that Craig did such a great job with world building that I think she can revisit these characters or locations in subsequent books. 


The writing does a great job with blending the fairy tale elements (an island that is devoted to the sea and has their own High Mariner) as well as taking Gothic and Horror elements and blending them all together. The flow though as I said was a bit of a mess. I get the idea behind slow burns books with mystery elements (Annaleigh trying to figure out if her family is being murdered or cursed) but the book stops in a lot of places that had me going eh. There's some things that could have been cut to make the story much tighter.

The world building as I said was fantastic. I loved this society called The People of the Salt that seems focused on the first born (not caring about whether it's a boy or girl) with their own beliefs and rituals dealing with returning their loved ones to the salt when they die.  We even have gods and goddesses in this one that influence people we find. There seems to be some other kingdoms/gods in this one that I definitely wanted to know more about. 


The ending was very well done though I wanted more repercussions once the mystery is finally solved. What can I say, I am all about the vengeance. This was a very good and solid book!

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text 2019-07-31 03:07
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

A great retelling of the dancing princesses. Think it may have been a bit long and I got lost with all of the sisters names, but thought it was a a great idea. 

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review 2019-06-02 20:14
House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig


I'm so torn on my feelings about this book. On one hand, I really loved that this was a reimagining of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I found the haunting more horror novel parts of this book to be brilliant! Unfortunately though there wasn't that many of them really. I thought that this area in particular is where this author shined. I found her darker scenes to be the most vivid. I truly hope she one day decides to write a horror novel, because I'd read the hell out of it.

On the other hand I found this to be a slow read for me. More often than not I was just waiting to get to the next macabre scene because those were the ones I enjoyed the most. I think maybe the issue for me was that this story was being pulled into so many directions, a mystery, a romance, a thriller, etc. that it ultimately didn't fully accomplish any of them. It was as if the foundations were there but none were fully fleshed out and realized. The romance ended up feeling rushed, the mystery seemed to rise and then fall away and then rise again, and the thrilling parts were too few and far between. Sometimes compelling characters can help make up for this type of thing a bit, but I had a hard time connecting with any of them. Annaleigh more often than not thought about doing things rather than actually fully going for it.

Ultimately House of Salt and Sorrows just ended up falling somewhere in the middle for me. I liked the roots individually, but as we went along they kinda grew tangled together, suffocating each from their full potential.

I received an ARC of this book from Delacorte Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

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