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I want to be coherent about how much I loved this so I'll take a moment to collect myself.
So, The Twelve Dancing Princesses has always been a favorite tale of mine and hearing it was going to be done in a Gothic vibe with all the beauty of the original tale? I jumped at the chance and can't say how thankful I am that I was able to read this early.
Right from the first page, I realized that I was going to love this book and I was going to reread this, multiple times.
Craig keeps up the gothic and creepy vibe the whole time, which is impressive and she doesn't go too over the top or ridiculous with it, which is important for me as a reader.
I adored every clothing description in this book and I loved all the sisters, Verity was hard not to love and Cassius is now probably one of my favorite characters. Ever.
It's more than just a tale with pretty dresses though, there's so much loss and grief and it feels so raw with our MC and I think that was important to focus on, and it did really keep the best parts of the original tale.
This book liked to consistently stomp on my heart and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Over the last few months, I’ve read several brand new, dark YA fantasy novels that I’ve been eagerly awaiting after a lot of Twitter hype. This was probably the one I enjoyed the most. It’s the story of 12 sisters, living together on an island, and dying one by one. It’s gloriously atmospheric and gothic and kept me guessing and turning the pages. There were plenty of twists and turns, some of which I guessed, some of which were an enjoyable surprise. It’s genuinely dark, scary and disturbing in parts, and genuinely delightful in others. I liked its depictions of both the sweetness and the strain of sibling and parent/child relationships and loved the descriptions of feasts, ballgowns and ceremonies.
The central romance fell a little flat for me (it almost felt tacked on, as if there had to be one, because that’s considered a basic requirement of YA fantasy) but it wasn’t a huge part of the plot overall, so wasn’t much of a problem. And there were a few plot points that didn’t 100% make logical sense, but I was able to suspend my disbelief.
'House Of Salt And Sorrows' by Erin A. Craig is an eerie tale set by the sea. With four sisters dead, the villagers are convinced that Annaleigh and her sisters have been cursed by the Gods.
Ghostly visions plague Annaleigh, but she is soon distracted by glistening balls, the arrival of her new half-brothers and a mysterious stranger who has his own secrets.
Okay, so this might not be a popular opinion, but House Of Salt And Sorrows just didn’t do it for me. I found myself skimming quite a bit and didn’t connect with Annaleigh, the protagonist. This is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm story 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses'. I usually am not a fan of retellings as it usually falls short of the original story. However, there was enough variation in this version to make it hold my interest long enough to finish it.
It seemed that the only aspects of the religion that was explored had a direct influence on the storyline – I just didn't feel involved in this universe and feel like a bit more information on how the Gods and Goddesses influence the day-to-day lives would have made me more invested.
Not so convinced about the romance element to this novel either. I think it could have been better explored and didn’t find myself rooting for the romance as I usually do.
What I DID like about this book is that there were a few twists that I really didn’t see coming. The last 25% really pulled it together!
It's a 3/5 for me!
“Nights like this were meant to be shared, remembered, and talked about for years. Skies like this were meant to be kissed under.”
Honestly this book has been a terrible struggle for me to complete but I paid for it so was determined to finish.
I'm going to begin by stating that the premise intrigued me, a cursed family that were slowly being murdered under the guise of family curse- sign me up! However , the execution I found lacking as the book did not seem to know if it was a murder mystery, a fantasy novel about old gods, a thriller or a romance. And this all combined into a book where I had fussed the villain within the first pages, then read about balls, slippers and a romance that seemed so cold.
Ashleigh as a main character was... Not intriguing, it felt as if the author wanted a strong female lead that was going to take charge and discover who was murdering her sisters, but then had a man in the form of -swoon- a random half God know all the answers and ultimately save her sister.
I found the evil stepmother angle tired, predictable and nonsensical. The story took half the book to even really begin and once the plot had started it felt as though the main character had stopped trying to find who killed her sisters and was just allowing things to happen to her. And then the explanation for why the plot even happened at the end was finished in about three pages. Basically Morella - the step mother- had done it all because of unrequited love for Annaleigh's father and wanted to have a son. Turns out son is still born and she's been killing everyone off.
To be truly honest I feel this book is wasted potential and I wish I hadn't paid for it. It isn't memorable, not awful, but badly paved and lacking the plot twist it thought it was delivering.
I wanted to read a book by someone I had never heard of. Some of the reviews were bad, something about schooling. So I didn't know what to expect. After I bought the book, I looked up the fairy tale of the 12 dancing princesses. In the fairy story the 12 girls secretly go off dancing each night until they die. In this book 12 sisters start to die...but is it because they are being murdered, or is there a mad person killing them? One brave sister decides to solve the mystery and... I really enjoyed reading this!
The most frustrating this about this book was it had the potential to be really good. It was like the author couldn't decided if she wanted to write a ghost story, a murder mystery, a romance or a fairytale so opted to cram in all of the above. The first quarter reads like a ghost story and bam suddenly magic and gods/demigods are thrown into the mix. The protagonist was so one dimensional, her entire role in this story was for things to happen to her or near her. The love story was bland and trite, it was never fleshed out or believable. The "twist" was predictable, the stepmother did it. And the antagonist was literally introduced and defeated within a few pages. This is a book of waste. Wasted potential, wasted time and wasted money. Be warned.
Let me just say, I really really wanted to LOVE this book. But, turns out that for the 1st time in a very long time, I felt very tempted to DNF it! I was bored. The writing was good, but I was just bored and it really sucked because I had saved this book for a relaxing weekend away, and whilst the weekend did turn out to be relaxing, I did not enjoy my reading!
Having said that, I did finish it, I pushed through and unfortunately I still felt like the ending was rushed and I just wasn't digging the characters. The Step-Mum fiasco....I could see it from the beginning. Her sacrifice at the end did surprise me but still it didn't really impress me! Conclusion, it was slow and I did not connect with the characters :(