Reviews

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

  • Published: August 6, 2019 by Delacorte Press
  • Genres: Fantasy, Teen, Young Adult
  • Edition: Hardcover
  • Pages: 416
  • Rating: 3 stars

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there 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 her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls 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 is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.

Book of the Month YA made this book one of their five picks for the month of August. I chose this book initially due to the stunning cover, but when I began reading this one as part of a buddy read with @happygolovelysleeves and @literarypengwyns I quickly found myself devouring it. The author combines family with a combination of magic and mystery; it ultimately makes the novel a fast-paced read that can’t be put down for long.

The Thaumas family has endured a lot of death and mourning within their household lately, so much so that everyone is convinced they are cursed; the introduction has the readers attending the funeral of Eulalie, who is the fourth sister out of twelve to die. Ava died after battling the plague; Octavia fell from a ladder; Elizabeth drowned in her own bathtub; Eulalie, last but not least, fell to her death from a cliff. However, it is the last death that has Annaleigh questioning whether her death was an accident, or if it could possibly have been a murder.

There is so much that this plot unveils to the readers that it is difficult to give a spoilers-free review, but I will do my best. Annaleigh, who is second in line to the throne next to sister Camille, begins investigating the circumstances surrounding Eulalie’s death; the others may be convinced that it was an accident, but she cannot seem to shake off the feeling that it was anything but. The journey is an exciting one: a secret is exposed, an old crush returns home, another family death, attending magical balls, a family member having peculiar visions…this book contains a little bit of everything!

Craig’s writing is wonderful and her characters are well-thought out, but my only issues with the book occur towards the end of the storyline. Towards the end, the author throws out some unfamiliar characters and that led to some confusion for me; she also uses one character in particular as part of the ending, which also confused me a bit. I feel like if Craig had provided more insight onto the history of the gods and developed some of the prominent characters she included in the ending, then I may have felt less confused and as if she had rushed the ending. However, this book is still worth reading and I’d recommend it for those that love fantasy, for those that are familiar with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, or those that want to read something different for them.

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