A review by onthesamepage
House of Salt and Sorrows, by Erin A. Craig

dark mysterious tense slow-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


The Thaumas family is cursed. Everyone says so. What else could explain the sudden deaths of four of the twelve daughters? But the last death feels suspicious to Annaleigh, and she's determined to find out if her sisters were murdered.

This is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it is pretty dark. The author's writing is very atmospheric, and I was easily sucked into the story. Thinking back on it, the pacing was probably a bit slower than it needed to be, but I barely noticed. I was invested and creeped out and curious to see how everything would play out.

That said, this book is not without flaws. The explanation at the end throws several incidents that happen earlier on into question, because in hindsight, they don't make much sense.
SpoilerWhy did we have a love triangle at all when Fisher was never real? What was Kosamaras's purpose in doing that?
There's also no way to really guess at the outcome; the foreshadowing is much to sparse for that, and I do think that's a drawback. 

There's some really weird characterization of the father, and his personality seems to undergo a radical change out of nowhere. It mostly felt like a way to move the plot along. The main romance is also very insta-love. The world isn't explained much either--there are apparently deities, and they walk among humans at least part of the time, but we don't get much more information about them or about how religion and magic work in this world. Last but not least, the ending wraps up a bit too nicely and definitely makes the book lose a bit of impact.

I really enjoyed the writing however, and I appreciate this type of horror, so I'll definitely pick up more by the author.

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