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Sisters of the Salt #1

House of Salt and Sorrows

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In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

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.

403 pages, Hardcover

First published August 6, 2019

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About the author

Erin A. Craig

7 books3,779 followers
New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows and Small Favors, Erin A. Craig has always loved telling stories.

After getting her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, in Theatre Design and Production, she stage managed tragic operas with hunchbacks, séances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.

An avid reader, embroidery enthusiast, rabid basketball fan, and collector of typewriters, Erin makes her home in West Michigan with her husband and daughter. 

She is represented by Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 13,340 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,206 reviews40.9k followers
January 23, 2023

You know Brother Grimm’s fairy-tale named “Twelve Dancing Princesses”: Those girls each more beautiful than the last, sleep in twelve beds in the same room. Every night their doors securely locked by their father. But in the morning THEIR DANCE SHOES are found to be WORN THROUGH as they had been DANCING ALL NIGHT! So this book’s quite great, horrific, roller coaster riding version of retelling.

As you consider how Grimm Brothers’ vulgar, harsh tones and merciless writing on those books and depressing, grimacing things happened to their characters, you may understand how this book could give you creeps, stomach churning, eerie sensation. THIS IS REALLY SCARY AND MIND BENDING BOOK! If you’re not ready to read something spooky, twisty, surprising, giving you nightmares, please put the book down and choose something lighter like your chic-lits or summer reading you could grab to read at the seaside while you’re sipping your cool drink and totally forget about this dark story forever!

This book might be 12 Dances Princesses’ retelling, a different approach, newer version but it also reminded me the “Inception” with its mind confusing, head hurting, dream into-dream into- dream sequences. You’re really getting lost what’s real or what’s a nightmare. There are some parts of “7 Ravens” which is originally about 7 brothers but we had our heroine Annaleigh ( which is so amazingly melodic and capturing name, if I ever have a child, I named after her without thinking a second) and her 7 sisters! And also we had some glimpses of Little Women in this book as we read the sister’s stories and character analysis. Rosalie reminded me Amy and Verity had a little Beth, a little Amy inside. And Camille, know-it all, pretentious elder sister reminded me a little Meg, at least Annaleigh and her struggles had great resemblances with Meg and Joe’s fighting about their differences.


It’s real defying and challenging thing to write again with brand new, fresh, crystal clear, visionary perspective and create a new story based on Brother Grimms’ works. The author chose not one of the famous works of him and she definitely achieved dexterous, adroit, refined job by adding horrific, gothic, mysterious elements and a poignant, lyrical romantic story.


Verity acts like Sixth Sense’s Haley Joel Osment and claims she’s talking with the ghosts of her dead sisters and draws so many scary paintings which contain too many gory and harmful details about the way how her sisters have died. There is no way she can know these facts without being crime scenes (which of course she hasn’t!)
I really jump out of my seat, throw the book away as if my hands were burned, screamed non-stop when I caught a monster looking back at the me(then I realized that’s my morning self in the mirror before I had my morning coffee so I shut my mouth!)

We need romance after jumping out of our seats and taking few breathes to ease our heavy heart rates! So this love story was a medicine for the pain this book gave me. I love Annaleigh and Cassius’ slow-burn, passionate, tender, devoted, growing love story.

The part about the villain’s identity was foreseeable but last twists about delusions were clearly mind-bending, brain cell burning, head thudding kind of experiences they had to endure for finishing this book. I enjoyed those twists, mind games that the author professionally played with us. She was my great winner.

I want to read more retellings and surprising stories if Erin A. Craig intends to write. This year, I discovered too many new writers and I enjoyed their works so much which gave me hope, we’ll have more amazing literary works in near future. I LOVE THIS BOOK TOO MUCH. If you’re big fans mysterious, horrifying, Grimm Brothers style fairy-tales, that’s definitely a “Yes, this book is truly for you!”

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,543 reviews9,860 followers
May 11, 2023
...and the award for Exceptional New Voice in YA Horror goes to...


((the crowd goes wild))

I loved House of Salt and Sorrows so, so much. Truthfully, it wasn't at all what I expected, but I am so damned pleased with what it turned out to be.

In one word: EVERYTHING

Annaleigh lives at Highmoor, a remote manor on the sea with her father, stepmother and many sisters. Where once there were twelve sisters, however, only nine remain.

The most recent to die, Eulalie, plunged to her death from a high cliff to the sea. It is rumored she was out to meet a lover on the night she fell and that she was planning to run away.

Tragedy has struck the family so many times, the villagers whisper they are cursed.

While some of her sisters believe in the validity of a family curse, Annaleigh doesn't. She also doesn't believe that Eulalie's death was an accident.

Perhaps her other sister's deaths weren't accidental either?

Teaming up with a handsome and mysterious stranger, Annaleigh begins to investigate what is truly happening at Highmoor.

As many of you may know, House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of the classic fairy tale The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces, or The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Going into this, I expected a typical YA Fairy Tale Retelling. Fortunately, there was nothing typical about this book.

Truth be told, a lot of this story creeped me the heck out.

There was one night, I was up late, reading this on my kindle with all the lights turned off, I got to a section where there is a particularly lucid scene involving one of Annaleigh's dead sisters and I legit almost put that bitch in the freezer!

I had to switch to something light and fluffy just to be able to go to sleep that night. Now that's a great book.

As someone who is a great fan of the dark and macabre, I must say, I was beyond impressed with Craig's writing.

Her ability to conjure truly terrifying moments and atmosphere is absolutely fantastic.

I am calling this a YA Horror, because even though the story isn't exactly a Horror story, I am calling out Erin A. Craig as a Horror writer!

I really hope she continues more in that vein with her future stories.

There was an ominous feeling surrounding this. , it was all incredibly visceral.

I have never read the original source material, so I cannot weigh in on the merits of this as a retelling but I imagine, most folks who have read the original will be impressed.

In my opinion, this book has it all and if you are a fan of gothic stories, you CANNOT miss this one. Pick it up, you won't regret it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I cannot wait to see what Craig comes up with next. You better believe I will be buying it as soon as it releases!
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
August 28, 2019
well this was trippy, weird, & unexpected! i've never read the story this book is based on so maybe had i read that i wouldn't be as surprised as i am, but here we are. the only downfall for me was the romance... shocker!
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
August 10, 2019
guess who is single and ready to

read this retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and reinject myself in with this fictional world and its characters to avoid engaging with my very real responsibilities
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
348 reviews31.2k followers
July 22, 2022
Nie wiem co myślę o tej książce. Podobał mi się pomysł i to jak mroczna była (i zakończenie było niezłe),ale równocześnie była za długa, a wątek romantyczny koszmarny. Więc albo 2.7 albo 3, jeszcze nie zdecydowałam 🤷🏼‍♀️
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.7k followers
August 19, 2019
‘show me debauched nightmares or sunniest daydreams. come not as you are but as you wish to be seen.’

uhhh… theres definitely gonna be nightmares. how come no one told me this would be so creepy?!? wow. im such a wimp. lol.

also, early side note. i had no idea this was a retelling before i picked it up. ive never even heard of ‘the twelve dancing princesses,’ so im coming at this review with the perspective that this story is wildly original and one of a kind, because i have no idea which aspects are part of the retelling and which are craigs own invention.

that being said, if ‘to kill a kingdom’ and ‘the wicked deep’ created a hybrid world, it would be the atmosphere and setting of ‘house of salt and sorrows.’ its not exactly enchanting, because the story is actually quite dark. but there is something so captivating about a mysterious island kingdom, a family curse, and unreliable events. the writing easily transports the reader into this world, filled with ghosts and secrets, and that alone made this story worth it to me.

however, i am a little disappointed with the ending. there are a couple of things that relate to their religion/gods that come into play and it had me very confused. im not sure if i missed their introduction earlier on in the novel, but i felt like that key component was quite rushed. could just be an oversight on my part, though.

regardless, this is a hauntingly impressive debut!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for  Teodora .
307 reviews1,646 followers
April 11, 2023
2.75/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

“We are born of the Salt, we live by the Salt, and to the Salt we return.”

Hear me out, the premise of the book is quite interesting.
But the whole thing as a whole? Kinda weak.

At first, it reminded me of that beautiful H.C. Andersen tale about the eleven princes who were turned into swans by their evil stepmother and quite frankly, I loved that story and I wanted this book to be like that.
But oh well. I wasn’t lucky enough, apparently.

This salty and sorrowful story did have that young, two-faced stepmother cliché and the ungodly amount of children a lowkey royal family has in fairy tales (twelve children!! TWELVE!!), but that was about it.
That was where my fairy tale ended, sadly.


There is something I find unappealing about the idea of someone being cursed and they acknowledging that and making it sound like a fabulous tragedy (“Oh, yes! I’m cursed! Cursed for life! And there is nothing to do about it! Nothing!! I’ll have to sit here and wait until this curse takes me too!”). It seems forced and superficial. Just saying.

Also, even though the story somehow manages to become more gruesome (it’s labelled as horror somehow??), I wished the plot was more substantial.

The book seems endless because of the slightly unimportant passages that could have been better cut down to only a few phrases instead of whole chapters. Because of this, I lost interest in the storyline, the narrative became dull.

Given the fact that there was a ‘mysterious killer’ hiding through the pages of this book, when the moment came and the big unmasking scene was in its full moment of glory, I can honestly say I was (still) unimpressed.
I saw that coming from miles away.


Honest to the god of sea and salt now, I wanted this book to be badass but, unfortunately, it wasn’t.
I wanted something to hold on to, and I found only crumbs. Which were better than nothing anyway.

I needed more from this, because the whole idea was so interesting and could’ve definitely been better speculated.
All I have to say now is that for a book about the sea, the whole plot was missing depth.

But hey. On the bright side – just look at how gorgeous that cover is!

“All the dreamers are castle-bound. At midnight’s stroke, we will unwind, Revealing fantasies soft or unkind. Show me debauched nightmares or sunniest daydreams. Come not as you are but as you wish to be seen.”
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,443 reviews78.1k followers
August 26, 2019
BOTM YA selection August 2019!


"As they whispered their strained condolences, I noticed the guests were careful to not get too close. Was it in deference to our station, or were they worried something might rub off? I wanted to chalk it up to the lowbrow superstition, but as a distant aunt approached me, a thin smile on her thin lips, the same question lingered in her eyes, just below the surface, impossible to miss: Which one of us would be next?"


Oh yes, I love a good book that is unafraid to pull a few punches. Here's the thing; initially, I was drawn to this book for three reasons: it's a fairytale retelling, it has a gorgeous cover, and it's got the whole romantic horror aspect down pat. Is this a sub-genre? YA romance horror? If not, it certainly should be. Overall, this one delivered, and I'm intrigued to see more from Erin A. Craig in the future.

Like I stated above, this is a YA retelling of a somewhat obscure fairytale by the Brother's Grimm called The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In the original version, things are much more tame and boring, so naturally I prefer the author's reimagined tale to the original. Instead of princesses being caught sneaking out and then given in marriage to the man who was able to solve the mystery of the worn out shoes, we have sisters who are dying in disturbing, and somewhat unbelievable ways, which explains why our protagonist is so determined to figure out just what in the beard of Moses is going on. Part fantasy, part murder mystery, this is an ambitious book, especially for a debut author, and I think she pulled the entire thing off rather well.

The most controversial topic surrounding this book, at least that I've seen, is the amount of disturbing content included in this novel, so let's start there. Personally, I loved it, but if you are sensitive to disturbing violence, gore, blood, and discussions of suicide, this may not be the book for you. Many scenes are quite descriptive, and there are tons of difficult, yet necessary themes discussed here that may be more appropriate for the upper end of the YA spectrum. There is a definite gothic fantasy feel to the story, which gives it an appropriate darkness, but this is contrasted with an equal dose of romance-complete with a HEA!

I think my main concern is that this is the slowest of slow burns until about 2/3 through the novel. I appreciated all of the atmospheric setup, but it also felt as if there wasn't a bit of action until the explosion of a climax. However, the twist was excellent, and the entire reimagining was creative and unique, which makes me glad I spent the time plowing through the slower moments. A solid, beautifully written debut, and I hope to see more from the author in the near future. Also? I hope we get more retellings from Craig, because she clearly has a knack for dark fantasy.

*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,473 reviews9,647 followers
October 21, 2019
August Owlcrate Unboxing! Click under the pic to see all of the goodies!


I would say a 3.5 stars. I liked it well enough. I loved the characters and the overall craziness of the book. I don’t think I would read it again though so it’s going in the trade in box. I would buy it on kindle if it was ever on sale though 😉

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

Buddy read with For Love Of A Book.

Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews896 followers
October 26, 2019
This started out pretty good but went downhill towards the end in my opinion.

First of all, I really enjoyed the atmosphere the author created here. It was perfect for a cold, stormy October night. I also liked the way how stuff (especially clothing) was described, it was easy to imagine how things looked like.

The characters themselves were okay overall, nothing special but not terrible either (gotta say though, I never quite remembered who was who so that's kinda bad). And sadly the love story was completely unnecessary and underdeveloped.

Especially the mystery is where it went wrong for me.
I was intrigued in the beginning, came up with a few theories myself. But unfortunately the way it was resolved was just weirdly boring and over the top at the same time. I don't want to say "I could've done it better" because I definitely couldn't have regarding writing and stuff but I did prefer one of my theories over what actually happened.

So, overall a mediocre read for me.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,298 reviews35k followers
May 21, 2019
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed..

3.5 stars

Annaleigh, (who BTW, doesn't love this name?) lives at Highmoor, a Manor by the sea with her father, his new wife and her eleven sisters. Tragedy seems to be hitting this family hard, perhaps it is cursed? The villagers think so. This used to be a big happy family. But after their Mother died, the family went into mourning, then four of her sisters died one by one. Annaleigh begins to believe that her sister's deaths are not accidents.

After the latest death, her Stepmother convinces her father that they should stop mourning and dress in beautiful clothing again, have balls and embrace life. Everyone but Annaleigh is on board, but she finally agrees to make her father happy. The new clothing and fairy shoes are not the only new things...the girls also become aware of a secret passage. A passage, or crevice if you will, that will take them to another place, a place of balls and dances, new encounters and new adventures.

But tragedy strikes again when another sister goes missing....

Put me in the camp of enjoying re-telling of fairy tales. In this case, this book is an atmospheric retelling of the Brother Grimm's "The Twelves Dancing Princesses" also known as "The Worn-out Dancing shoes and "The Shoes that were danced to Pieces." Sometimes re-telling’s can be campy but this one was not. I loved the atmosphere. The Manor overlooking the sea, the water, the sea creatures, the sisters, the balls, etc. This one felt atmospheric, Gothic and enchanting all at the same time. Is the family cursed? Why are the women of this family dying?

The book does get darker at the end, but I enjoyed how the book built up to the ending. This book also had me questioning what was real and what wasn't as Annaleigh begins to question what is happening to her family. This is a great rainy day/escape book. It's full of atmosphere, magic, a little romance, mystery, and ghosts. Parts felt a little predictable, i.e. the love triangle, but this is YA so that often goes with the genre. I found this to be a very visual book as in, I could easily visualize what was happening as the Author did a great job with her descriptions.

The Author is off to a very solid start with this debut novel.

I received a copy of this book from Random House Children's and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
532 reviews34.5k followers
January 5, 2021
”The very delight of such an evening is being your complete self with a total stranger, don’t you think? Spilling your innermost thoughts – ones too dark and deep to ever speak in the light of day, confessing sins of passion and pleasure, maybe even misbehaving, and none of it matters, because if you don’t know who you’re toying with, then what’s the harm in it?”

Ahhh this was so much fun! When I went into this I already knew that “House of Salt and Sorrows” is a retelling of “The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes” and I’ve been intrigued by this fairy tale ever since I read it for the very first time. What Craig did with it was marvellous and on an entirely different level than I expected, though. For a debut this was definitely more than just amazing!

I loved the super dark and eerie atmosphere, the island setting and the world building. I mean our MCs live at Highmoor – a manor by the sea – they believe in gods and their entire life is built around them. The salt is where they come from and where they go again and instead of burying their dead, they let them sink in some sort of salt grave grotto where their bodies are taken back to the sea with the next flood. Or decompose through the sea? I don’t know the specifics but it sounded kind of unpleasant? XD

”You mean when you remember her?”
She shook her head. “When I see her.”

Another thing that was really awesome was the super creepy atmosphere of the island, its people and the darkness as well as the salt that crept through every corner of their manor. I don’t know about you but a secluded manor next to the sea and a curse that kills off the daughters of the lord who owns it just has the right amount of creepiness for me. *lol* And let’s not forget about the magical and mysterious balls all the daughters sneak to in the middle of the night when everyone else is already asleep. ;-)

”The hairs on the back of my neck prickled, rising in defense against an unseen horror. It was ridiculous, but I couldn’t shake the look of fear in Verity’s eyes.”

Because of the aforementioned curse 4 of the initially 12 daughters are already dead and went back to the sea. They all died sort of mysterious deaths and you can’t help but wonder who’s going to be next. ;-) The story is told from Annaleigh’s POV - the second eldest daughter, now that all the others perished. I’ve to admit that to tell them all apart wasn’t easy at first. I had to write down their names and the group names some of them went with. I mean there were the triplets (Lenore, Ligeia & Rosalie) and the three Graces (Honor, Mercy & Verity) which where the smallest of the lot. And we had Camille the eldest and Annaleigh as the second eldest daughter. The four that died were Ava, Octavia, Elizabeth & Eulalie and as far as I could tell they were all older than Anna and Camille. XD

”Thank you,” I murmured, finding my voice. “That was very kind. Most people would have kept it.”
“I wouldn’t dream of keeping something that didn’t belong to me.” I sensed he was about to smile. “Besides, it’s only a copper florette. I’d rather lose the money and seize the chance to talk with the pretty girl who owns it.”

And speaking of the characters I’ve to mention the romance too: What I really liked was that Anna’s love interest was a part of the story but not an all too big or all-consuming part. I’ve to admit that due to that their relationship felt kind of insta-lovey, though. So yeah, I really would have wanted more interactions between them both before they fell head over heels. I suppose you can’t have everything though, so I think it worked well enough with the story line. ;-)

For me the only real drawback of this book was that my copy was defective and that from page 344 on thirty-three pages of the story were missing. The book went up to page 344 and then there were 33 pages of an entirely different book right smack in the middle of my copy and on page 377 the story continued like nothing ever happened. Which was such a bummer! The book had about 403 pages in total and I missed a really crucial part of the plot and was thrown right into the finale. >_< I still don’t know what happened during those 33 pages, I could reconstruct a few happenings by reading the ending but it feels like there’s a huge part of the story missing. So ... meh.

I really wish my library would have had a copy to borrow because my budget didn’t allow me to buy a second one. And even if I would have bought a new copy there would have been no guarantee that it wouldn’t have had the same defect. (Due to our lockdown I can’t even go into a bookstore and open a book. So I would have had to order it online which might have resulted in the same problem.)

This said, I really enjoyed “House of Salt and Sorrows”! It was a very eerie and haunting book and at times even creepy and unsettling. There were parts that were pretty gory as well, so if you like spooky fairy tale retellings with the right amount of spine-chilling moments this should be the right book for you. It’s a pity my copy was defective, but I guess I’ll have to live with it. XD I still had a lot of fun reading this book and in the end that’s everything that counts. ;-)


I finished this yesterday and it was really great!
If my copy wouldn’t have missed 33 pages of the finale it probably would have been even better.
Such a shame that I missed those crucial revelations. >_<
It is like it is though. *sighs*

Full RTC once I had time to think about it.

I’ve been intrigued by this book from the moment I realized that “House of Salt and Sorrows” is some sort of “The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes” retelling.
Funnily enough I never heard of this fairy tale in my own childhood and only discovered it by reading bedtime stories to my kid. XD

Anyway, the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm already felt slightly dark so I’m pretty curious what Erin A. Craig made of it. Judging by the reviews I saw this is super dark and creepy, which makes this a perfect book to read. *lol* At least for me. ;-)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to visit the “House of Salt and Sorrows”!
Put on your dancing shoes! ;-P
Profile Image for chloe.
242 reviews28.3k followers
September 12, 2019
2.5 stars*

I was LOVING this book at the start, but as the story went on I started to lose interest in the story and was honestly waiting for it to be over. My favourite thing about this book was definitely the atmosphere (very dark and eerie and I loved the setting).

I do think I would have enjoyed it more if I read it physically (the audiobook wasn't my favourite)/ if I wasn't in this weird reading slump (I was forcing myself to read it at times since I really just wanted to finish it).

Maybe I'll reread it physically sometime in the future to see if I enjoy it more that way, since I really wanted to love it and it had SO much potential!
September 8, 2021

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I have developed my following by being 100% honest, whether or not a book is popular. I think this is especially important in the YA genre, when many books are over-hyped in a way that comes across as incredibly artificial and manufactured at times. I'm sorry, but you can't all be the #1 best-selling YA book, especially not if you're all doubling down on the BLANK of BLANK AND BLANK forgettable title game. I mean, come on. I can barely remember my own name half the time, let alone a baker's dozen worth of best-selling YA titles that all sound virtually the same.

HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS appealed to me, in spite of my misgivings, because of several things. 1) it's a faerie-tale retelling and I love those. I love them a lot, in fact. I was raised on faerie-tales from all over the world, and I will never stop feeling that same magic and mysticism from reading them. 2) it is a gothic novel and if you have been following me at all, you know how much I love me a dark and creepy novel set in some crumbling manor home on a cliff and peopled with ghosts. It's bomb. Combined? That's a c-c-c-combo breaker to the MAX.

The book is about a girl named Annaleigh. She and her sisters are the daughters of this incredibly rich dude who lives in a crumbling manor home on a cliff. Her sisters are dropping like flies, beginning with the death of their mother, and some say it's because of a curse. We meet them when they're all gathered at the funeral of their latest dead sister, and mood is grim. Helpful and oblivious stepmother Morella thinks it's time that morning be over because she's preggers and wants to party. Never mind that she is the same age as her stepdaughters and they'd so Parent Trap her sorry behind if their mother was still alive. As it is, they're stuck with her, but at least they get new shoes out of it.

Mysteriously, the new shoes end up tattered within a week. And other weird things start happening. Images of their dead sisters. Parties that nobody remembers. Suspicious deaths. A love triangle-- oops, scrap that last one. That's not weird at all, just par for the course in YA land. A whole bunch of other stuff happened, too, but I skimmed the middle of this book pretty heavily because I wasn't really amused by the sad descriptions of the heroines lackluster attempts at Nancy Drewing.

In the last act, the book manages to valiantly rise to the task of bringing this book to conclusion. There are some truly creepy scenes in here, and honestly if the whole book had been like that, this could have been a four- or even five-star read for me. If you've read this, you know what I mean. That ballroom scene. YES. I also think the author could have played up the use of the creepy masked man, instead of having him pop up only twice and immediately be a figure of suspicion. That's the problem; if the middle is SUPER boring, I'm going to jump on exciting things when they happen, and everything is going to seem super obvious. I figured out the "surprise" twist right away.

The writing in here is decent and the author is capable of setting the mood well when she so chooses. But someone-- the editor-- should have cut about 100 pages from this book and had the author rewrite the beginning to be more suspenseful. Likewise, there was some inconsistent characterization in this book, as Heather pointed out in her review. Morella was all over the place, as were several of the sisters, and the father went from being an oblivious patsy to kind of abusive and scary? As I said, foreshadowing would have fixed ALL of this and made the ending feel less... convenient.

I was going to give this book a 2-star review, but the ending sufficiently wowed me enough that I feel like I can be generous and award a paltry half-star. I'm definitely not blown away by this like some of the other preliminary reviews were, though, and while this author is definitely a cut above the rest when it comes to some of the other BLANK of BLANK and BLANK authors, I'm not sure I loved this enough that I'd instantly race out to acquire anything else she writes. But maybe. The jury is still out on this one. My rating, however, is decided.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
October 9, 2020
TW: all your typical horror stuff - death, gore, ghosts, etc

This was a WILD ride. I don’t remember the last time I binge read a book so fast. I very rarely read anything close to horror (and this is as close as I get!) but this maintained a sense of eerie foreboding, dread, and mystery the entire time. I had to keep reading to find out what happened! There is an element of not knowing what is real and what’s not that the reader shares with the characters. This is an excellent spooky read.

There were some things I don’t think were quite as strong. Some things were left unexplained that I would have liked to know more about (but also maybe there’s a point to that). There were also some things about the fantasy elements that were a little outlandish for me. And the romance was just not something I cared about in the midst of all the suspense. But overall, a solid spooky story.
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,342 followers
December 12, 2019
So, when I went to sleep last night (more like this night since it was after midnight), I kept thinking about what I'm going to say about this book.
And I was drawing a blank. But let me just tell you, fantastic debut! This author is definitely staying on my radar. Plus massive praise for a stand-alone.

So, let's start at the beginning; my interest in this book started when I saw the gorgeous cover! It's just so pretty. Then I knew there were twelve sisters and a curse. And that's it, I know, I know, I pretty bad at knowing what's the book about before reading it. That's just the story of my life.
It was actually pretty surprising for me when at around the 34 % mark, I realised that this book was actually a retelling. And of one of my childhood favourite fairytale. The 12 dancing princesses, I adored that fairytale so much, if only because we had an illustrated book of the Grimm's fairytales and I loved just to look at all the pretty dresses the princesses had.
Of course, this book is getting extra points for being a retelling of this fairytale, plus some extra points because I never saw a retelling of this fairytale, you see all the cinderellas, beauties and beasts but this was rather original as far as retellings go.

We start right in the action... okay, I know it's pretty bold of me calling a funeral action, but it does throw you into the story right away. It gives a space for the main character to reflect on all the dead sisters and on those of them who as still alive. I have to say that I found it easier to distinguish the dead ones than the living one.
Ava, Octavia, Elizabeth, Eulalie all died in more or less suspicious ways. And now Camille is the oldest one, the heir to their father's estate. Annaleigh is our main character and has the worst timing ever! She asked her father to talk about something always in the worst moments possible. But then the issues start. You have Lenore, Rosalie and Ligeia who are triplets. And the rest were Honor, Mercy and Verity collectively called the Graces. I have to say that I had a problem to remember all of these characters and especially to distinguish between them.

The girls live with their father, who recently married a very young girl named Morella, she is not from the island, and she does not know their culture and customs. Generally, Morella was just so clueless that I had a very hard time deciding if she's truly that "stupid" or if she's secretly an evil step-mother.
I was also unsure when it came to daddy-dearest. Annaleigh said that her father was nice and never violent right at the beginning of the story. However, his behaviour was anything but nice.

Then we got Fisher who I disliked. He seemed like the friend who did not care about the girl until there was another guy interested. I feared a bit that it would end in a love-triangle, but thankfully it did not. And as for Cassius, he was a cutie, but I wish he had a bigger role in the story. Or maybe not. Because this way, the romance did not become the most important part of the story, rather the sprinkle on top.

And now to the important part. I loved this story so much! It was sometimes so scary (especially when I wanted to read the last chapter before going to bed) that I even had to look under my bed. It left me speechless, worried to take a breath and wanting to get more. And then the rhythm would shift to a soothing one. And then a shock once again!
And then the last 25 % got so scary and crazy that it's a true retelling in a Grimm fashion! The end of the story is just the best; it got so mysterious and really creepy. Yeah, here I wish this mysterious aspect was introduced much earlier in the story. You could see little bits dropped here and there, but I never grasped the whole thing.
Because I did not see the ending coming at all, I was pretty much freaking out and thinking "What's even going on?!" And then the whole story flipped and all I knew or thought I knew crumbled under my eyes.
I'm not even going to say what the huge plot twist was, not even under the spoiler tag, it was just that crazy, but I may say that it reminded me a bit of the Mara Dyer series in the sense that nothing could have been trusted.

But you know me, I have to have little grievances with the story, and this time it's that I could actually do without the epilogue. If I'm going to re-read this book, I'll skip the epilogue.
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews190 followers
February 21, 2020
This book doesn't get that heterosexuality is not a personality trait.

I'm not saying this to be funny: no one in this book had a personality. I can't tell you anything about the main character apart from the fact that she's attracted to Cassius and cares for her sisters; she was more a placeholder than a character. The boys were even worse, existing in the book just to be handsome, vaguely mysterious, and exchange possessive glares that the book will carefully specify are masculine while fighting for the main girl.
And while I knew, getting into a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, that not every sister was going to be developed, I didn't expect their attraction to boys to replace the personality of all of them (in the older ones; the younger one is never anything more than a "creepy little girl" stereotype.)
Four sisters are dead at the beginning of the book, and the living ones are worried not because of that, or not because maybe they're going to die next - but because their supposed "curse" scares men away and they think they're going to grow old and die unkissed, without ever having danced with a boy.
Yeah. Priorities!

So, let's be kind and say that this book is plot-driven.
The plot wasn't that great. House of Salt and Sorrows is a gothic mystery with a really interesting premise and solid background, but the execution ended up being really messy. All the tension relied on the usual "is the main character *gasp* insane or is that magic?" trope, which is cheap and I hate it, especially when the answer is so obvious and when the book constantly approached even only the possibility of mental illness in really insensitive ways.
By the way, in case that wasn't already clear: there is no diversity whatsoever in this book. The whole cast is all-straight, and, unless I missed something, also all-white and all-abled (which: the realism, where?). There's one old blind man whose entire personality was "crazy" who appeared for half a scene, and that's it. No diversity, bland unnecessary romance, love triangle... did we all somehow time-travel to 2013?

The mystery was kind of underwhelming, but it wasn't terrible. The foreshadowing was somewhat unsubtle and heavy-handed at times, but it didn't give away the whole story immediately as many YA mystery books do; the revelation wasn't the most unpredictable thing ever, but it was fine - I was mostly annoyed by how rushed the resolution was, and especially .

And I still didn't dislike this, not really.
I mean, I clearly had many problems with it, but the thing is, it kept my interest. I'm barely reading these days and I finished it really quickly - which yes, that also means that there wasn't much substance to it, but it was a fun ride most of the time, and I wanted to know what happened. I never really thought about DNFing it.

Another reason I didn't dislike this book is that I got into it for the island gothic aesthetic, and in that aspect, it didn't disappoint at all.
Have you ever watched a movie or a show in which the acting was bad and the plot was mediocre but the setting and the costume design made it worth watching at least once, purely as eye candy? House of Salt and Sorrows is the book version of that. The descriptions are beautiful, and the island atmosphere is perfect. I loved all the mentions of coastal marine life, the descriptions of tide pools, all the details this book gave me about buildings and dresses and shoes and accessories.

This is deeply forgettable and really flawed, and not something I would ever reread, but it was worth reading once just for that. 2.5 stars.
April 25, 2019
I am
• spooked,
• in love,
• and broken.

The House of Salt and Sorrows is an enchanting and haunting retelling of the Brother Grimm’s fairy tale “Die Zwölf Tanzenden Prinzessinnen“ ,“ The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (or sometimes referred to as "The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes" or "The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces"). Erin A. Craig’s spin on the tale delivers a magically engrossing tale including gods, a suspicious stepmother, magic doorways, haunting visions, terrifying suspense, and sweet romance. A pot of gold for lovers of YA books and fairy tale retellings.

THIS MADE MY ‘BEST OF 2019’ BOOKLIST in the YA genre!

“I dwelt alone, in a world of moan, and my soul was a stagnant tide
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride”

Highmore is the manor perched high above the sea on an island that houses a duke and his 12 daughters. The place has seen its share of grief in the last months as mysterious deaths are taking one daughter after another. A forsaken, haunted place is what the people on the mainland call the island, and a dark and hopeless mood has spread among the family.

After another funeral underway, Annaleigh and her sisters protest the short mourning period their new stepmother imposes. After only a day, she has invited a dress- and shoemaker to cheer the girls up. Amazed and happy, the girls are having a wonderful time getting spoiled, but Annaleigh stays suspicious. She is haunted by the unexplained deaths of her sisters and shocked at the awful graphic drawings of death one of her little sisters makes.

The girls are full of cheer and via a secret crevice near the burial chamber down by the sea they slip through and start attending the most spectacular dance balls they have ever imagined. Reluctantly, Annaleigh lets her guard down and finds herself whisked away dancing the nights away.
When an old friend and a new love interest are invited to the manor, Annaleigh’s haunted dreams become darker and stronger. And then, another sister goes missing!

As the duke is wondering how his daughters keep going through their new shoes over and over, Annaleigh finds herself in a mystery she has to solve but does not know whom to trust. All the right people are at the wrong place at the wrong time and evil slowly spreads the halls of the manor.
Will Annaleigh solve the murders before the visions of her own death become true?
A sweet dark tale, not to be missed!


This novel had me by the neck! Not the first 1/3 of the book, but all after. This is Erin A. Craigs debut novel, and I am at awe at her ability to create stunningly haunting scenes. I actually went back and reread many of them, because I was thinking, ‘how did she do that’? Without fanfare, Annaleigh’s haunted moments were chilling and full of suspense. Un-put-down-able!

As for the first part of the novel, the dress-up, and the balls, they were glamorous, sparkly and enchanting – fairytale like. A sweet combo in a YA book, for the young at heart. That part didn’t grab me like the rest of the novel, but I am not the age of the intended audience.

I really enjoyed the entire premise and fairy tale retellings are a thing. Complete with a stepmother, a mystery and some romance, a perfect book to escape in. It’s been a very long time since I have heard the Grimm’s tale of “Die Zwölf Tanzenden Prinzessinnen“, but I definitely want to reread and compare. Check out a short synopsis of the original on my blog.

If you like retellings, this is a must and I hope you will love it as I did.

I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you.

My blog and more reviews:
Profile Image for Vibur (hiatus).
42 reviews233 followers
January 12, 2022
The author writing this: "alright how about, uh, [spins wheel] a gothic twist on [pulls a straw] the twelve dancing princesses... [throws dart at board] with a seaside setting [throws another dart] filled with GOds and dEmOns!!!

Alright, points for concept, but this reads as if there was not a trace of critical thought put into it, apart from what shit ton of tags to be slapped on. What I mean is, the plotting's painfully contrived and all. over. the. goddarn. place. Whoops, my fault for assuming, from the first chapters, that I'd signed up for ghosts and intrigue and haunted seasides–and not this, this campy, over-the-top, crudely slapped-together mishmash. But I pushed through, hoping something would happen to prove me wrong and the plot would pull itself together in some slightly intelligent way. But it never happened, and at that point, I was praying for divine intervention to save my last shred of sanity (or for a really, really good therapist).

What was this meant to be? If it was a fantasy, there was nothing original about it other than it wasn't, uh, a total retelling of the source fairytale. If it was a horror, the most feeling it stirred was lethargy. If it was a mystery, well, the most obvious clues were given away too soon, while the others were filtered through a messy, garbled stream of information, all this coming together into a clumsy infodumped! 'reveal' in the last chapters. And if if was meant to be all of that at once, well, hats off, it failed. Fin.

(Now, I'm off to drown in my salt and sorrows.)


br with the wonderful sunshine!
Profile Image for clem.
521 reviews372 followers
September 1, 2019

Instagram | full review on youtube

Yikes. Let's all grab a drink because shit is about to get SERIOUS.


Another book that could have gone under a couple more editing rounds.

1. Character development: Do I remember the name of the main character? No. It's so minimalist that I couldn’t see it. It’s like expensive invisible and uncomfortable furniture for rich people. An excuse to make money and the void in art.

2. Worldbuilding: thin like a prostitute’s panties. Just like character development.

3. Writing style. It’s there I guess I would have sworn that writing used to be the priority of books. Guess I was wrong.

4. Romance: *laughs* well that sure was there. 100% It was unnecessary, cringe, and stupid and incomprehensible. Think about the least appealing thing in the world, wherever it’s your dad naked, I don’t care, but yeah, that’s exactly the romance in the book.

5. The villain: probably one of the worst villain I’ve ever read and seen in my life. And I’ve watched the Mandarin in Iron Man, so you’d think the bar for worst villains was high. You’d think that, in a murder mystery, the villain would AT LEAST take as much space as the UNECESSARY ROMANCE TO THE RESOLUTION OF THE STORY. But NOOOOOOOOO. Let us be so shook by the existence and motivations of the “villain” because that sure would work as a plot twist.

Anyway, that’s it for this review. Hopes it convinced you not to pick up this book. If you still want to read it then, honestly it’s like doing heroine after everyone told you it was the worst drug. After coke.

If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this book, here's the full rant

Profile Image for Arini.
781 reviews1,635 followers
March 17, 2020

3.75 Stars

This book threw me a curve, and I was left in a fumble. Unsure of which direction I should go to catch the ball. Damn, unreliable narrator! Also, idk if it’s my creepy meter that’s low compare to the rest of you mystery/thriller booknuts out there, but this book creeped me the hell out alright. The fact that this is a retelling doesn’t make it any less unique and magical. On the surface, it looks wildly similar to the original tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but on a deeper level this book has its own appeal that makes it all the more remarkable in its own right.

Intriguing plot

The mystery element of the story is my favorite part of the book. Annaleigh’s ghostly visions really help set the somber tone. You can feel the spookiness. It makes your brows crease in worry and your spines tingle with uneasiness.

Mesmerizing world building

I loved the setting and the world building in this book. The big mansion added with the ancient and horror feel to it, made me feel like I was watching The Haunting of Hill House all over again. In addition, the sea and the port market gave me the Pirates of the Caribbean vibes. I loved the concept behind all the different islands and the gods and the religions. The magic made me feel like being inside a fairy tale.

Unpredictable but bland characters

Annaleigh is such an unreliable narrator. You’d feel like you’re being toyed with bcs she pulls you into all different directions. I loved that about her, but at the same time it was also a little frustrating. It doesn’t matter if you have your own theory about who the culprit is bcs she’ll make you doubt it.

As for the rest of the characters, I was a bit concerned about how I was going to remember them all at first. Thankfully, each of them quickly grew on me as I read on although I do think that the triplets and the Graces could just easily be merged as one character. My favorite sister is definitely Verity (one of the youngests), and my least favorite one is Camille (the oldest).

Underdeveloped romance

The romance in this book is not my favorite, but I also don’t hate it. I thought it was sketchy at the beginning. Cassius for me is just a meh love interest. I feel like he has no purpose other than to confuse the readers with more suspect theories. The romance between him and Annaleigh is unconvincing as it lacks any sort ot tension, emotional connection, and build up.

Lyrical writing and steady pacing

For the majority of the book, the writing is lyrical and flowy and real. It just makes you feel like you’re engrossed in a movie. However, there are other times when I felt a little baffled by the absurdity of a couple scenes. The first 1/3 of the book is a bit slow with only a few drops of hints here and there. After that, it shifts to a steadier pace.

Overall thoughts :

This book is the kind of dark fantasy retelling that I didn’t know I needed. We’re all so used to disney princesses retelings, but now we have this one that’s just as impressive and special (if not more) as the rest. It’s got all the ingredients to make an atmospheric and tantalizing story. We have the mystery, the haunted house, the ghosts, the vivid and terrorizing visions, the family curse and dynamic, the star-crossed lovers type of romance, the magical door and dancing shoes, the bizarre deaths, and yeah, you get me.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
933 reviews803 followers
March 23, 2021
Extremely atmospheric, haunting, and filled with historically tinged Gothic horror, this was something else.

World: ★★★★ 1/2
Plot Execution: ★★★ 1/2
Character Development: ★★★
Gothic Ocean Vibes: ★★★★★

Well hello, Gothic ocean-inspired fairy tale retelling....

House of Salt and Sorrows was something I never knew I wanted until I read it. It's a full cast list of sisters and other residents of Highmoor Estate, located on one of several islands that are home to the People of the Salt. One by one, the sisters are succumbing to mysterious deaths. Something spooky and magical is AFOOT.

Annaleigh Thaumas is the second oldest of the surviving sisters. Annaleigh doesn't believe all of her sisters are dying accidentally. With a distinctively historical flair, Annaleigh embarks on a whodunit narrative to find out who killed the last one her sisters, Eulalie, and find out if the rumors about her family are true—is the Thaumas family cursed?

I loved Annaleigh. She was full of character, inquisitive but not aggressive, and felt grounded in her historical time period. Unlike other YA heroines who feel like modern characters plunked into historical settings, Annaleigh was very much grounded in her time.

In the midst of Annaleigh's quest to find her sisters' murderer, another plot is bubbling. The group of remaining sisters and Annaleigh find a "portal" of sorts on the grounds of their estate that leads them to anywhere they mentally desire. The sisters find ball after ball through the portal, dancing their nights away with strangers in glittering settings....but is there something sinister under the surface?

As the nights continue and the girls burn through their dancing shoes, Annaleigh begins to suspect that there is something wrong with the portal, Highmoor, and the people around her.

In a traditional YA move, we are also introduced to a love triangle. While I initially was bored and underwhelmed by its introduction to the plot, this love triangle quickly gained several layers and actually became incredibly spooky and (surprisingly?) terrifying.

I loved this dark story. House of Salt and Sorrows is equal parts murder mystery, ghost story, sweet dream/beautiful nightmare, and an extremely dark rendition of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. It's a lot for one concept, but it works.

Thank you so much to Random House Children's via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Chrissy.
96 reviews85 followers
April 5, 2023
Dark fantasy, retelling the Brothers Grimm fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The magic and mystery was great, but the romance not so much. (That's probably just me though and my cold, cynical heart, haha!) This can be read as a standalone, but there's a sequel coming soon, it'll be interesting to see where that goes.
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
617 reviews506 followers
March 15, 2021
House of Salt and Sorrows is a hot topic ever since it came out, and it was hyped for months before it’s release.
I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to read it via Netgalley and I can tell you, I completely understand where the hype comes from.

This story really impressed me and even though it is a retelling of a tale of Twelve Dancing Princesses I would say it is one of the most unique books that I have read in the past few months. However, I have to stress out that I am not familiar with the original fairy tale nor did I watch the Barbie movie.

The atmosphere was spooky and I loved it so much. I like how the story became darker and darker as it progressed, that closer to the end it even had some horror elements.
The atmosphere was my favorite part of the novel.

What I found funny was how at some points Highmoor people gave me that Greyjoy vibes (Game of Thrones reference), and it almost felt like they were cousins (their funeral rituals are so similar that I couldn’t help myself but laugh, but in a good way).

The main character Annaleigh was likeable and it was easy to connect with her. I enjoyed following the story from her perspective and I also really liked her relationship with her older sister Camilla.
I was also fascinated with their stepmother and wanted to know more about her.
As for other characters, I have to admit that I wish they had more substance to them, because they felt pretty much dull and I had hard time to recognize one sister from the other.

One of the big reveals (how they went to the dances) blew my mind and in my opinion, it was the best part of the story.

I was also very happy with the way this story ended, including all the dark and spooky elements.

I really enjoyed reading House of Salt and Sorrows and I would like to read other work by Erin A. Craig.

I highly recommend this one to lovers of young adult fantasy and spooky stories.

Read this and more reviews on my blog https://bookdustmagic.com
Profile Image for Kat valentine ( Katsbookcornerreads).
616 reviews819 followers
October 31, 2019
What a hauntingly beautiful story!!! This book reminds me of the gothic romances I read when I was a young teenager girl . Erin did a marvelous job writing a spooky tale with intriguing characters and a unique storyline. I did figure out early in the book the one behind all that befell this family,but it did not take away the pure enjoyment I got from reading this story. I was drawn to this cover from the beginning and knew I had to read it. I will definitely be keeping this writer on my radar, she is a fabulous storyteller. Until next time Luv's💖💋
Profile Image for ☀︎El In Oz☀︎.
535 reviews334 followers
May 18, 2022
Wow. If there’s anything you should know about my rating system, it’s that 1 star books are the rarest things ever. I try to see the best in all books. And furthermore, the only books I would even give 1 star are thrillers and mysteries (which is easy to say why you dislike it- a plot that makes no sense and confusing crime and culprit). A fantasy horror book with 1 star? You need to fuck it up quite bad to get that rating. Yet here we are.

How the hell does one fuck up a book that has such a good premise? That, my friends, is the question of the century. With a premise of spooky atmosphere, ghosts (!!!!!), romance, subtle horror, a curse, murders, and subtle fantasy.... one would wonder why the hell you wouldn’t like it! And here I am to tell you why. *i did a buddy read with two other people - nicki and Amelie- and they agree this book was a mess*

First things, the plot. My oh my. If you are looking for horror plot, please go read any Stephen King, Ninth House, or literally ANYTHING else. The horror is so random in this book. Do we have creepy scenes? Yes. But what’s the point if they come and go with no real explanation?
The plot itself just.... was hiding. The author would bring up a twist, or get the mystery started; and then spend five chapters prepping for a ball that we don’t even get to see, instead we skip to the day or night after. The author avoided this plot to the fullest. And 1/3 of this book is pointless parties. Boring. The parts that I wished were good (horror) brought more confusion as they seems out of place. And the overall mystery was awful. The pacing was also terrible, and given the fact a large part of this book is ‘illusion’ (more on that later) it’s very hard to determine what actually is happening, what is fake, and how much time is actually passing.

The characters are so 2-D and flat you could literally walk over them. Annaleigh, our MC, is boring and forgets to solve the mystery as soon as a party is mentioned. She avoids everything and insta-loves herself with Cassius. Sadly I originally liked Cassius as a character, but after the plot twist of who he actually is, I was just done.
If you didn’t know, this book is a loose re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses . So there’s 12 siblings. Of course 4 are dead by the time we start the novel, and by the end there are less. Sadly, they fall into the same categories. Camille is the now oldest, bossy, rude sister.
The triplets act like they’re one person. And the three youngest, known as The Graces, act similar as well. And for a book about how much Annaleigh loves her sisters, she spends more time mooning over Cassius than thinking, or even talking with them.
I don’t mind the mooning over part, I myself am probably a hopeless romantic, but at least put some focus on the relationships! The insta-love is unbelievable, (and the love triangle but not; due to the end- again I’ll get there) the father is awful, the step-mom is just weird, and the sibling love is non-existent.

The world building is so weird. We’re told there are different peoples, different gods and goddesses, and lots of different lands but it’s given on such a surface level it’s hard to believe this world actually exists, or could even function.

The ending. My god. *Spoilers ahead.*
What the heck?! Okay, so the worldbuilding, as mentioned, awful. So we’re told the person behind it all is a half-goddess, a harbinger Of chaos and nightmares. But we have no mention of her before! So how were we supposed to guess? And the fact Morella (step-mom) was the reason it happened because she wanted a good life and made a bad deal is so unbelievable.
Also, the half-goddess claimed she wasn’t responsible for the first three siblings deaths, so were they natural? Or not? Plot hole to me.
When we’re told Annaleigh is half in an illusion, it’s confusing because then You wonder what you’re reading is real or not. And then we are told Fisher is dead, has been dead for weeks. So he was an illusion the entire time? He wasn’t actually in love with Annaleigh? Therefore we got a pointless love triangle...?
And Cassius just dies at the end and comes back seven months later?? And he also is half-god yet dies super easily when out main villain is the same (half goddess) yet she’s immortal and impossible to kill.
And what happens to the Trickster or our half-goddess? This is very open ended and just overall a terrible ending.
*spoilers done*

There are so many odd parts in this book. A random quest to go light the lighthouse after a shipwreck? Like what on earth was the relevance of that??

I could go on but I don’t wish to think more about this book. I disliked this and do not recommend it but you may like it more (as this seems to be an unpopular opinion).
I do think the author has potential with her writing, but the book itself was a flop.
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
773 reviews4,644 followers
March 23, 2020
YA Fantasy at its best - dark, mysterious and hauntingly beautiful!

This retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses is an absolute winner! Erin A. Craig brought this gothic and mystical world to life - I mean it literally leaps off the page! I had such a clear vision of Highmoor, the sea, the balls and the sisters in my mind. It was all so atmospheric and enchanting.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the writing. It was dark for YA - full of foreboding, mystery, and a rather creepy (almost gruesome) ghostly vibe which I loved. Annaleigh was a character that the intended audience can easily identify with - strong, family oriented and full of heart.

Did I have it figured out? Ultimately, Yes. Did that detract from my enjoyment? Absolutely Not! There were some great twists and turns here that I didn't see coming. I know I am not the intended age/audience for these books and yet, I unabashedly love them. This book was easy to get lost in. I read it mostly in 1 sitting and it proved to be an enchanting page-turner. I couldn't wait to get to the end to see if my plot predictions were correct.

All in all, this was a strong debut novel. Erin Craig creates a dark, enchanting world that you can easily get lost in. I can't wait to see what else we get from this author in the future!
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