House of Salt and Sorrowsby Published 06 Aug 2019
|House of Salt and Sorrows.pdf|
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.
House of Salt and Sorrows Reviews
Craig's debut frames the Grimms' tale of twelve dancing princesses as a Gothic murder mystery. Laced gowns and mourning garb, fairy shoes and midnight balls, reanimated corpses and whispers in the dark, crashing seas and the taste of salt in the air. There's a lot to love here, but the plot suffers from slow pacing and a lack of suspense that doesn't build until the final chapters.
Nestled on a bed of navy velvet were my shoes. I'd selected a jade leather, and the cobbler had added glittering seafoam and silver bits, concentrated heavily at the toes, then fading as they swept across the slipper. They would match my gown perfectly.*
*Note: Quote taken from an Advanced Reader's Copy.
ARC received by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a total mind f**k.
Fantasy/horror/thriller/murder mystery...it was glorious. I'm usually not into murder mysteries or thrillers, but the fantasy aspect made it AMAZING.
The story follows Annaleigh, one of (originally) twelve sisters. The family is in perpetual mourning as sister after sister dies, leading the town to believe the family is cursed. The summary of the book talks about pretty dresses and dancing at balls, but it is not as frilly as just that. The reason behind all of the frillyness is actually quite dark and twisted.
I enjoyed every minute of reading House of Salt and Sorrows, and I found it particularly enjoyable on dark and stormy nights. It was incredibly suspenseful and I was pleasantly surprised that my eyes were glued to the page. Not because I just enjoy binge reading things, but because I had to know what happened next. And not just at the end. But from moment to moment. This book is filled with so many twists and turns and had such an EXCELLENT way of portraying distortions in reality that I found myself pausing and being like, "WTF? Is this happening? Did that really happen? It seems like it happened? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!"
Over and over and over again I thought I knew who the killer must be. As I got further into the book, I genuinely had NO clue who could be behind everything. This is in part due to Craig's amazing characterization, giving us well-rounded, flawed characters with so much depth that you feel like you know them.
This book is thrilling and captivating! If you are looking for something spooky but still need your fantasy fix, then you will love this!
"As they whispered their strained condolences, I noticed the guests were careful to not get too close. Was it in deference to our station, or were they worried something might rub off? I wanted to chalk it up to the lowbrow superstition, but as a distant aunt approached me, a thin smile on her thin lips, the same question lingered in her eyes, just below the surface, impossible to miss: Which one of us would be next?"
Oh yes, I love a good book that is unafraid to pull a few punches. Here's the thing; initially, I was drawn to this book for three reasons: it's a fairytale retelling, it has a gorgeous cover, and it's got the whole romantic horror aspect down pat. Is this a sub-genre? YA romance horror? If not, it certainly should be. Overall, this one delivered, and I'm intrigued to see more from Erin A. Craig in the future.
Like I stated above, this is a YA retelling of a somewhat obscure fairytale by the Brother's Grimm called The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In the original version, things are much more tame and boring, so naturally I prefer the author's reimagined tale to the original. Instead of princesses being caught sneaking out and then given in marriage to the man who was able to solve the mystery of the worn out shoes, we have sisters who are dying in disturbing, and somewhat unbelievable ways, which explains why our protagonist is so determined to figure out just what in the beard of Moses is going on. Part fantasy, part murder mystery, this is an ambitious book, especially for a debut author, and I think she pulled the entire thing off rather well.
The most controversial topic surrounding this book, at least that I've seen, is the amount of disturbing content included in this novel, so let's start there. Personally, I loved it, but if you are sensitive to disturbing violence, gore, blood, and discussions of suicide, this may not be the book for you. Many scenes are quite descriptive, and there are tons of difficult, yet necessary themes discussed here that may be more appropriate for the upper end of the YA spectrum. There is a definite gothic fantasy feel to the story, which gives it an appropriate darkness, but this is contrasted with an equal dose of romance-complete with a HEA!
I think my main concern is that this is the slowest of slow burns until about 2/3 through the novel. I appreciated all of the atmospheric setup, but it also felt as if there wasn't a bit of action until the explosion of a climax. However, the twist was excellent, and the entire reimagining was creative and unique, which makes me glad I spent the time plowing through the slower moments. A solid, beautifully written debut, and I hope to see more from the author in the near future. Also? I hope we get more retellings from Craig, because she clearly has a knack for dark fantasy.
*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
barbie walked so this book could run
guess who is single and ready to
read this retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and reinject myself in with this fictional world and its characters to avoid engaging with my very real responsibilities