Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Pub date: August 6, 2019
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Note: I received a free copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
Ugh, I feel like I might be in the minority but this book was just a big old nope for me.
Some things this book did right include horror and suspense-building and presenting a gothic novel that fills a hole in YA lit. I think that’s important to mention before I get into my problems with the book; I’m not against gothic horror in YA and I believe there is room for some serious growth in the genre. I am all for books that make you feel like you’re going crazy along with the characters and this book manages that aspect of horror.
However, the book ultimately let me down because of insane pacing issues, weak and passive characters, an 0 to 60 love interest, and the level of gore and monster madness at the end.
As I mentioned, gore and other aspects of horror can be impactful in the right light, but this book went from idling to racecar speed too quickly for me to wrap my head around it. This issue runs rampant throughout the book, including an “eh” to insta-love situation and the plotline in general. House of Salt and Sorrows is a book that leads its readers in one direction for a solid 3/4 of the book and then goes utterly bats**t in the last quarter, flinging readers in a direction that they hadn’t been prepped for. I think the best horror novels do a solid job of putting in little horror elements here and there throughout the novel to make the reader uneasy and guide them toward acceptance when things do get crazy. But this book doesn’t do that at all, and the result is a confused, baffled reader. (At least in my case.)