Cover Image: House of Salt and Sorrows

House of Salt and Sorrows

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Member Reviews

Once you take a step inside of HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS, you can feel the mist of the sea jumping off of cliffs, the salty breeze, the night sky full of stars, the long, rustling dresses, and the stone of the walls of the castle. This tale is a decadent meal to be devoured slowly, though you may feel the urge to rush through it to uncover the mysteries surrounding it. What I'm really getting at here is that Erin A. Craig crafted a book that you can feel deep in your bones. If you would like to read a book that feels like you could close your eyes and be there experiencing it all, then this is the one for you.

HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS is loosely based on the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The story follows Annaleigh, who lives in an estate on an isolated island with her many sisters, father, and step-mother. There used to be twelve sisters in all, but four sisters have died tragically and mysteriously over the years. Annaleigh begins to see ghostly figures and suspects that maybe her sister's deaths weren't accidents at all. Annaleigh decides to embark on a journey into the dark to discover who her sisters are sneaking out to dance with every night, and meets a stranger that has secrets himself. Annaleigh rushes to figure out the curse of her family and save her remaining sisters before the curse claims her, too.

I was riveted by this book! Annaleigh was a great protagonist for this story--she is determined, smart, and fiercely loyal to her sisters. I was also compelled by the romance, which I was surprised by, as this is a dark and ominous story. I think it was just the cherry on top of everything. Another standout of the writing is the palpable sense of dread and tension as Annaleigh races to solve the murders and save what is left of her family. 

Erin A. Craig is a superb writer and crafter of tone, atmosphere, and an exciting plot. It's so haunting. Like I said before, you can truly feel the words coming off of the page. You feel the creepy and the dark and the light and the magical; all of it. I will absolutely be reading her next book.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of House of Salt & Sorrows in exchange for an honest review! I'm kicking myself for waiting an entire year before diving into what I'm officially considering one of my favorite books of all time.

I am OBSESSED with House of Salt and Sorrows; like, without a doubt, this has everything in a book that I could ever want. This read isn't technically considered horror -- and instead, YA Fantasy-- but my gosh, I'd be lying if I didn't say this book gave me ALL of the creeps and chills that I ever wanted in a horror book.

House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of Grimm's The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which tbh, I have never heard of. In the beginning, I got a lot of Daphne Du Marier's Rebecca vibes with a mix of Edgar Allan Poe; something I'm always down with.

Everytime you think you have an inkling as to what the fudge is actually happening, Craig throws in even more mystery. I was shook from the first page all the way to the conclusion. Craig did THAT. It's a day since I finished my read through and I am still shook.

Craig's writing is absolutely superb. With her descriptions, I felt that I was actually in Highmoor -- I felt as if I was either watching this as a film or actually playing the role of Annaleigh. I refuse to give away spoilers (this is something you truly should experience for yourself), however, I would say there are scenes where our protag starts to question her own sanity & reader, I felt like I was the one going mad. I had to keep asking myself, "did this really happen?" I've never had a book get this much into my head.

Definitely, definitely recommend reading this one.
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What I liked"

I was honestly having so much anxiety about how this was going to play out. The tension was real, and I absolutely loved the foreboding, creepy atmosphere. I was always uncertain about whether or not something was really happening, if it was a nightmare, if it was the characters hallucinating, etc. A lot of books with a creepy vibe can take a while to slowly build it up, but this one opened with a nice taste of what was to come, and it only got more intense from there. I was living for the atmosphere of this book.

This isn’t exactly horror, but I feel like it kind of is because of the nice Gothic touches. We’ve got a big, creepy manor house. Dead sisters. Possible haunting(s)/paranormal activity. Rumors of a curse. A mystery. Romance. Emotional distress. And so much more! So, if you like Gothic novels, and you want more YA options, this one was pretty good for all that.

I liked some of the younger sisters at certain points. Like, at one point, one of them says that she can’t miss a party because one of her oldest sisters could be the next to die and they’d never have another party. Plus one of them had that “I see dead people” thing going on, sort of, and that was fantastic.

This is really hard to talk about exactly what I loved, because I don’t want to give anything away. I think it’s best to go into this one not knowing a ton about it. I will say that even though I did strongly suspect how this would end from about page 10, it kept me second-guessing myself and questioning pretty much everything until almost the very end.

What I didn’t like so much:

There are a lot of characters to keep track of (which was expected, because of how many sisters there were), and I felt like they mostly blended together. I had a hard time remembering which was which because they were so similar, and we didn’t spend a lot of time with most of them, except Annaleigh. Even though she was the main character, she also didn’t really stand out much from her sisters.

I was not a fan of the romance. There was a threatened love “V,” which was resolved pretty early, but I just couldn’t believe in the romance that did happen. Maybe it’s because I didn’t care much about Annaleigh, but it felt so rushed. They went from meeting to lusting to Romeo and Juliet levels of obsessed with each other very quickly. (They didn’t have a suicide pact, for the record. But, they did say things like “You are my world,” which had me rolling my eyes so hard.)

The actual end of the book (it might have been an epilogue, I can’t remember) kinda killed the ending for me. Was it nice? Eh, depending on what you want from a book, maybe? But it felt so bizarre after everything else that happened in the book.

Basically, I loved a lot about the actual storytelling (like, I want to squeal about certain elements from this story), and I was so here for a “Twelve Dancing Princesses” retelling. But, I did not love this book as a whole. I liked it a lot, and I do recommend it, but I think my expectations were just too high. (That’s entirely on me, and I think if I’d picked this up randomly, not after anticipating it for 18 months, I would have liked it more.)

In the end, I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars, and I’ve rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.
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An excellent novel, with all the right touches of gothic and fantasy. The mystery of all the sisters dying is compelling, but it seemed unclear if the "curse" on the family was responsible for all of them. But that is my only complaint, and it is such a minor one. I've read it twice already, and plan on reading it again.
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This was a great dark, gothic YA fantasy read that takes classic fairy tales and gives new twists and turns.
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2.5
I thank the ph for an e-arc for an honest review.

I loved the atmosphere and the way the writer retells twelve dancing princess story. Unfortunately I'm disappointed because the instant love is unrealistic and  the author doesn't explain the worldbuilding.
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ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

I was really blown away by this book.  I love spins on classics and fairytale retellings and House of Salt and Sorrows definitely delivered.  I was sucked in from the very beginning and could not put the book down once I started.  Erin A. Craig was able to give me the creeps and make me not want to look away all at the same time.  This book also gave off amazing, well written Poe vibes and I am living for that.  I would recommend this book to anyone and will probably be buying a copy of it for my best friend's daughter as a birthday gift.
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I was disappointed that I just couldn't get into this book. I tried a couple times, but I never could get totally immersed in the story. I think that some people who love really atmospheric books would connect to it more.
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I have a weakness for fairy tale retellings, and this book scratched that itch for me. Definitely a solid read with enough twists and turns to keep the reader invested.
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This book was awesome!

It was so much different from everything else I've read. 

At first, I was like, wait a minute, is this just a mystery? Then there is a fantasy twist. It was super unique.

The only thing I am not sure I liked was the ending. I am sure that many people do not agree with me and thought the ending was perfect, but for some reason, endings like that have been pissing me off lately. I will say that there was nothing wrong with the ending. I just thought it should have gone a different way.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by Erin A. Craig!

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley, for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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This has got to be one of the most atmospheric YA reads I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It's haunting, engaging, and beyond spooky at times. It tells a cautionary tale of sisterhood and dreams; all encompassed in a rich setting filled with old gods and secrets. The writing is just as lush, driving the story forward in the most enchanting way. If you're looking for something that's out of the box in terms of YA, this one's for you!
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This was an enjoyable one in that spooky way that I really like. Unfortunately, I didn't really loved this one. I liked it but didn't love it.
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I think we all know I love a fairy tale retelling, especially when the fairy tale in question is a weird one, so maybe all you need to know about The House of Salt and Sorrows is that it's a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. This version is definitely YA: The 12 daughters of the house of Highmoor are cursed to early death, but Annaleigh suspects something even more sinister may be behind her sisters' untimely ends. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Annaleigh sets out to investigate, following her sisters into dreams-within-dreams where the dance the night away while shadows of their deaths lurk in the margins. This has all the spooky suspense of classic Gothic novels (Catherine Morland, no doubt, would love it), plus all the blood and gore of modern television (by which I mean, like, A LOT of blood and gore), lots of twists, and a terrifically determined heroine. The end, I think, comes together a little abruptly and messily, but the book really shines in creating its spooky, atmospheric world where darkness is always bleeding through the edges of reality. Definitely pre-read, though, if you're passing this on to a sensitive kid!
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This book was lush and atmospheric, not to mention a little horrifying at times. Admittedly, the beginning was a little slow, but it picked up and from there, I couldn't put this book down. I feel like, sometimes, fairytale retellings can fall a little flat, but Craig's imagining of the Twelve Dancing Princesses was so, so successful! I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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“House of Salt and Sorrows” was a creepy retelling of “ Twelve Dancing Princess”. If you know me then you know I love a good retelling. And good this was! The pacing was ok although I do feel as though the book was just a few pages too long/ slow at some parts (especially towards the beginning.).I did see some things coming but there were plenty of twists. This book definitely has gore. It is purely disturbing at times. Overall, I enjoyed it and would love more retellings from Erin A. Craig in the future.
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Such an atmospheric and engrossing read! A House of Salt and Sorrows definitely captured me from the beginning. The descriptions in the book were so detailed and lush, I could see it all so clearly. I really appreciated the fact that, in spite of so many sisters, several of which who were already dead, I really felt like I knew who each one was. That is extremely difficult to pull off. I really felt for Annaleigh, in particular, she was extremely relatable and had a great voice. I will say that I don't think i was prepared for how creepy things would get. I'm normally very good at making predictions but I never could have guessed how things would go or how complex and creepy it all was. I mean, really, what a weaving tale! I'm still trying to wrap my head around that ending. I think I'm mostly happy but like some of the deaths just really got to me so it'll take me a while to get over those. I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this book and I don't think I ever will again, what a whirlwind and fascinating retelling!
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Annaleigh is one of 12 sisters and four of her sisters and her mother all passed away and now everyone believes that their family is cursed. After her last sister died she suspects that she was murdered and tries to figure out what really happened to her. Usually when a family member passes away you mourn their death for a year but their new stepmother thinks that it is enough and the girls need to live their lives and find someone to marry. Annaleigh and her sisters are invited to attend the grandest balls and love to dance the night away, but Annaleigh feels like something is off.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I loved how their was a mystery element and I loved trying to guess what happened to Annaleigh's sisters. I really loved Annaleigh she was a strong female character and she did everything she could to figure out what happened to her sisters. I loved the world and it was very atmospheric I could feel myself there experiencing the salt in air. This was just an excellent atmospheric magical mystery of 12 sisters. Highly recommend this book!!
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I loved everything about this book. The characters, the setting, the writing. I was not familiar with the fairytale 12 Dancing Princesses when I started this and it led me to reading it when I finished the book. I absolutely loved her take on it, that's for sure. I look forward to reading it again sometime!
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Finished reading this in one day. Greek mythology meets fairy tale meets romance meets murder-mystery that will keep readers turning the pages to find out who's responsible for the death of some of Annaleigh's beloved sisters. I'm hooked on Erin Craig's lyrical, eerie, fascinating, swoon-worthy, lyrical writing and can't wait for her next book.
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It was a very interesting read for me as i had an arc of it ages ago and i just picked it up. The audiobook was fine. The atmosphere is what sold this for me. Despite that, i found some scenes completely boring. Don't even get me started on the annoying romance. Not as gorey as expected
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