Friday, August 21, 2020

Book Review: House of Salt and Sorrows

A book I recently read was House of Salt and Sorrows, a Young Adult book that had elements of the supernatural, mystery, and horror added to it. It is a story about twelve sisters and the mystery of why the young girls were dying one after another. I only got the book because of the cover, but I enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

There are romantic elements in the book but mostly the story revolved around the mystery of why the girls were dying. At the start of the book, I felt that the story seemed awfully familiar and then I realized that it was a retelling of the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses from the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was a story that I enjoyed when I was younger, so I guess it made sense that I would enjoy this retelling too.

Even if it was a retelling of the story, there was still a lot that made this book unique. For one, the world that they were in was quite different and there was also more mystery and suspense going on in this book than in the original fairy tale. You cannot help but be as intrigued as the lead character Annaleigh about what was going on around them.

I like that there are moments where you think you have figured things out about the story and then it shifts, and you find yourself not knowing where things are going to go. There are several parts of the book where I think I have guessed it right and then I realized that my assumptions were meant to lead me away to make the big reveal at the end a surprise. 

The book was sufficiently creepy and mysterious. It would probably make a good limited series on streaming video somewhere if someone became interested in it. That is if someone would invest in the special effects needed to make some of the things that happened in the book come to life.

There was such a different world created for this story. I was picturing something goth or steampunk while reading the whole thing. It would be interesting how this could be interpreted if someone turned it into a series or a movie. Although to be honest, there would need to be a lot more going on if this were to become a film or series. I enjoyed reading the book, but some parts felt lacking in terms of background and establishing characters given that this is a different world they are in.

While there was romance in the book, I felt that it was not necessary and could have been skipped since that was not what the story was all about. If anything, I felt that it took away from the mystery element. The male lead could have still been kept around but he did not necessarily have to be a love interest. Not everything has to have a love story. Not every woman has to have a boyfriend to be a leader.

One thing that I would have loved more was to have more time to get to know the sisters better before they all started dying. I thought that there would have been a greater impact if the reader got to know them and would feel their loss when they died. The same goes for the villain reveal at the end. It would have been nice if there was more about that character throughout the book to make that reveal have more impact. 

All that aside, I did enjoy reading this book. Could it have been better? Yes. But that does not mean that it is not as good as it is. 

I just might start reading more mystery/horror/suspense books like this one. I hardly ever read this genre but now that I have, I think I will do it again. 

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