Reviews tagging Alcoholism

House of Salt and Sorrows, by Erin A. Craig

7 reviews

slvt4b00ks's review

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dark emotional mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

This book was such a treat. I have never really read anything tho close to horror. Definitely do not read at night if you’re prone to nightmares or scare easily. I love how many allusions there are to Edgar Alan Poe. There’s even a character named Edgar. This author has certainly mastered the macabre, I think mr. Poe himself would have loved this story. The ending had so many twists and turns, I was concerned that like our main character, I could not separate nightmare from reality. Please please please read this. I have no regrets other than that I wish I read this sooner. The book had been sitting on my shelf for a full YEAR, untouched. I almost feel as though the cover does not do it Justice.

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beanie_bob's review

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dark mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

Hello, Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses fandom. I’m not even sure if I watched that Barbie movie as a kid, but I did play the Game Boy Advanced adaptation a lot (it’s a very hard game). As I started The House of Salt and Sorrows I also skimmed the original fairytale Wikipedia page to familiarize myself with the source material. This reimagining has such a unique gothic horror flair that truly transforms the story into its own entity.

THoSaS has some debut novel related shortcomings (some of the mystery’s elements are very easy to see coming, sometimes it would be difficult to understand where characters physically were in scenes, etc) but I found myself enjoying the novel more and more as it went on. 

what I liked:
  • The fantasy world, culture, religions (I would love an unrelated sequel just to learn more about Arcannia)
  • The dresses - I want to draw all the dresses so bad!!
  • There was a period of time where every ‘dark YA fairytale retelling’ was the same, used tired tropes (esp about mental illness) and would shoehorn details from the original story. THoSaS is so refreshing to the genre/subgenre. It never felt like a boring rehash.
  • Very, very slight howl/sophie vibes from Cassius and Annaleigh

what I didn’t like:
  • Could have been even more gothic
  • SpoilerCamille kind of turns into a bitch out of nowhere?
  • SpoilerToo many villains, lack of hierarchy between them. The trickster and the weeping woman and the stepmother all have the same narrative weight.
  • Some lack of clarity of where characters physically are and where they’re going/how they got there (this is very minor though and not too prevalent in the novel)
  • I wanted more descriptions of what the men were wearing, both at the balls and during ordinary life. The girls were described with such vivid detail but most of the men were kind of nebulous.

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nutmegandpumpkin's review

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adventurous dark mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

4.0

It took me a while to get into (it only started really picking up for me around pg 123). But once I did get into it, I really did enjoy it, though it was far from perfect. 
At first it was hard to keep track of all the names because there were 12 sisters plus more characters (though four of the sisters are dead from the beginning). Although I liked having a large cast of characters, it was a bit confusing for a while. 
There were also some cliché romance moments and a bit of instalove which isn’t my favorite but didn’t necessarily ruin the whole thing.
It felt like it was trying to be a little too much all at once: a psychological thriller, horror, fairy tale retelling, fantasy, romance, family drama, mystery. I think this might be why it felt a little all over the place and rushed in some areas.
I really just loved the ~vibes~ of the whole book and I did NOT expect it to get so dark and unsettling but I enjoyed that (despite it being a shock). I had also totally thought I guessed the twists but BOY was I WRONG lol. 
The description was lovely and the tension, suspense, and mystery definitely kept me intrigued.

would recommend despite its faults  :)


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econcomics's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

Really good, but really sad and emotional book.

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a_novel_craving's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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rachrreads's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

House of Salt and Sorrows is a gothic retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses with paranormal elements. Annaleigh is the 6th daughter of Duke  Thaumas, but now she’s second in line to inherit the title from their father. Tragedy has struck their family often— first their mother, dying after childbirth. Then followed by her four eldest sisters, all in varying circumstances. I was immediately hooked by this story, but I was left feeling like something was missing from the story.

The ending felt so out of pocket to the beginning of the story and I found myself trying to figure out what in the world was going on? The big plot twist, while hard to guess, was also at the same time predictable. I think this could’ve been resolved better or been more fleshed out. 

Cassius is a dream though. We stan him and Annaleigh 

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plumpaperbacks's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I think House of Salt and Sorrows might be my most unexpected favorite read of 2020.

When I was younger, I loved the Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses movie. My nostalgic feelings for that movie combined with the realization that I’d never read a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses led to me picking up this book, which I figured would be a bit spooky. I didn’t realize how much it would creep me out until I was too invested in the story to stop reading, and decided I’d only read during the day with the lights on, maybe music in the background. Not everyone will find this scary, but I did.

Craig put so much into so few pages, and did a phenomenal job of it. The story is set on a small set of islands, but the world beyond is immense, the mythology intricate. There are numerous characters—the twelve sisters and their father, their stepmother, friends and lovers and household staff and island citizens—but Craig developed all of them well enough to make it easy for me to differentiate between them.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between the sisters. Annaleigh was a bit plain, I won’t lie, but she was still compelling in a way I’m not sure I can explain. I liked all of the sisters still living at the time of the story, and given the way they were written, I’m sure I would’ve loved the dead ones if I’d been able to get
to know them. I loved little Verity. 10 out of 10, would hug, possibly my favorite Thaumas sibling. (I almost always love the baby beans. Not sure why.)

While on the subject of character dynamics, I enjoyed the sisters’ interactions with Hanna and her son Fisher. Though the former was somewhat swept aside as the story progressed, seeing her step in as a maternal figure after their mother died was quite sweet. She was technically their nurse—maybe their maid, I can’t recall which—but she cared for all of the girls as if they were hers, and I loved to see it. Her son Fisher was a friend to the whole family, dancing with the sisters at their parties when no one else would. He was just so sweet. Pretty sure sweetness is genetic in this case. Like mother, like son, or whatever the saying is.

You know who else was really sweet? The love interest Cassius. I won’t say anything about whether or not he’s trustworthy, because that would ruin the fun, but I loved his relationship with Annaleigh. Absolutely loved it. I ship it so much, I can’t even express. They! Are! Adorable!

Lastly, I want to address how freaking WILD this book’s story is. I marathoned 75% of the book this afternoon in a matter of hours. The horror elements were a surprise, but even more surprising was the way the second half of the novel resembled a psychological thriller. I had no idea what to expect or who to trust or even who actually existed. I can’t specify due to spoilers, but once again, it was WILD. Please read this.

I enjoyed House of Salt and Sorrows way more than I ever thought I would. I look forward to buying my own copy, recommending this to everyone, and eventually reading Craig’s next release.

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