House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig
The Thaumas daughters are cursed. Once twelve, they now number eight—with four sisters dying horrifically and mysteriously until they now wonder which one will be next. Annaleigh begins to suspect that her sisters were murdered…and on their island home the suspects are few.
My thoughts on this are incredibly varied, mostly because this entire book took me on a wild ride of emotions and thoughts and twists and turns.
And also because I WAS RIGHT.
If you, like me, were sitting at the blurb and going, “Is this a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling?” in Fred Savage’s voice, and seeing no explicit “THIS IS A RETELLING” note in flashing letters, I’m here to tell you that those tingly feelings while you were reading the blurb and thinking, “Twelve sisters? Mhm, ok. Dancing at night? All right, all right. Interesting,” were absolutely because this is a retelling.
But it’s a twisty retelling that I wasn’t entirely prepared for, and filled with a lot more horror than other TDP retellings.
I can’t really go into further detail without major spoilers, but this entire book makes you question literally everything that happens and that Annaleigh sees.
It’s part psychological horror, part fairy tale retelling, part murder mystery—with a mild love triangle. Because YA.
I really liked the world-building—mostly because I am a sucker for mysterious, atmospheric islands that isolate everything and everyone. However, the one thing that bothered me was that with all of the choppy water and high winds and the fact that they had to travel between islands for everything…how come no boats overturned and people died? I felt like that would have been a pretty easy gimme, ya know? Also I wanted a bit more lead-in with the gods and goddesses actually being alive and walking among the people and shit (this is not a spoiler) earlier in the book, because when it is thrown into the story part-way through I was like, “Wait—this is a key detail that needs to have been sprinkled in earlier” and that the rest of the world could have been a bit more developed.
However, there’s a lot of different layers to this world, and this book leaves a lot that can be explored further.
Annaleigh was an intriguing main character. Kinda bland, kinda wrapped up in the past, very loyal to her sisters and very believable as someone slowly descending into some sort of madness.
Plotwise, there’re a lot of things going on: dancing, creepy images, stepmother pregnancy, deaths, ghosts, creepy girls drawing creepy things, and of course shoes that are worn through more quickly than they should be—and a protagonist who struggles to be believed and sees things that no one else does.*
Is Annaleigh going mad?
Is everything just a figment of her imagination?
You’ll just have to read it to find out.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
House of Salt and Sorrows releases 6 August.
*See my Goodreads Review for a spoiler