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

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


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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