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Review – House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A. Craig cropped for featured image
House of Salt and Sorrows
Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Development - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10
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Summary

Author: Erin A. Craig
Book Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416 Pages
Release Date: August 6th, 2019

Description:
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 by Erin A. Craig is a retelling of the classic Twelve Dancing Princesses. It’s dark and disturbing, while also beautifully intricate. 

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows is the debut novel of Erin A. Craig, but don’t let that reduce your expectations any. This novel is as intricate as it is disturbing—in all of the good ways. It’s a blend of fantasy and thriller in all the right proportions.

The novel follows Annaleigh, one of the Thaumas dozen. Or one of the remaining, we should say. You see, these sisters are cursed, or at least that is what the townsfolk would like you to believe. The truth is infinitely more complex than that, however.

House of Salt and Sorrows is many things, including a fairy tale retelling. Do you remember the Twelve Dancing Princesses? It’s a tale that goes by many names, and it has been retold in many forms. But none quite like this one.

Writing

new book releases - Erin A. Craig - House of Salt and Sorrows (August 2019)Erin A. Craig has a way with words. House of Salt and Sorrows was intricate and moving and in many ways flowed like a poem. It was beautiful and heartbreaking in the same breath—a tough balance even on the best of days.

House of Salt and Sorrows balances a variety of emotions against the mystery of the tale. This novel could have easily dipped towards too depressing, but the intrigue of what was actually happening to the Thaumas girls altered the tone just enough.

The world created here was detailed and so full of depth that it felt alive. The sisters—and there were many—were all unique and had their own personalities. As were all of the supporting characters. They made this tale feel all the more real—which in turn also made the impacts bear that much more weight.

Development

House of Salt and Sorrows clocks in at a little over four hundred pages, but trust me when I say that it went by in a heartbeat. In the end, I was left hoping that there would be a sequel or at least other novels out there by Erin A. Craig for me to read.

This novel was paced perfectly. There was always something happening, whether it be Annaleigh working on her own investigations, or a family event or disaster occurring at just the right (or wrong) time. There was always something to move the plot forward, driving us ever towards the daunting resolution.

What I especially loved about this novel was all of the breadcrumbs strewn around. By the time the conclusion (and thus dramatic revelation) came around, enough clues had been dropped that everything made total and complete sense.

Annaleigh was a fascinating character, as were many of the other characters in this novel. It was interesting to watch them change based on the information they had at hand. To watch them learn, or to try and piece together what they were missing.

Conclusion

House of Salt and Sorrows built up upon the foundation of the tale it’s based on, and turned it into something more. There were times where this novel absolutely broke my heart. But there were times that I fell in love with it as well.

The intricacy and the nature of this retelling was a perfect combination. This novel was always bound to be on the darker side—the original material and the name alone made that a given. But Erin A. Craig managed to exceed those expectations by weaving a little extra something into the tale.

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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