October’s Book Club: House of Salt and Sorrows

Hello Twelve Dancing Princesses meets horror twist. I’ll admit, the book opening with a funeral and a discussion about how long the girls had to wear black was not what I was expecting. When a dramatic transition to vibrant colored clothing was allowed, you couldn’t help but feel worried that this was some kind of foreshadowing towards displeased gods.

The idea of a curse slowly killing off the daughters was one that I would have liked to see played out a little bit more. We’re brought in after the bulk of the deaths had occurred, and I almost wanted some time spent on in Annaleigh’s head when her father brought home her stepmother. Ultimately, most of the deads were unrelated, only some of them being caused by a deal with a trickster.

Speaking of a deal with a trickster, I did not see that one coming. To learn that the sisters were not, in fact, going to a ball at all and were just dancing in their sleep all night was cool and unexpected. To have someone playing with your mind to the point where you’re questioning whether or not something is real always makes for an interesting read. I love trying to figure out if your narrator is reliable.

There were a lot of interesting pieces in this book that, when added together, made for a fun story. My biggest complaint was the need for a romantic interest for Annaleigh, I would have really liked to see Verity save her sister’s sanity in the end instead of Cassius.

Ok ok, I like of liked Cassius. I liked the idea that he was a stranger who came around at the same time that everything was going wrong. I liked that he wasn’t interested in a title or in anyone other than Annaleigh, even though he made the rude remark about marrying the next in line. I liked that he was distracting and that he was a point of tension. I also feel like I have the unpopular opinion that he should have stayed dead in the end. That bringing him back to life lessen his sacrifice.

I keep feeling like there were things I wanted to read more about, only to change my mind and think that they’re better off left to me to decide (the death of Annaleigh’s Aunt for example). For a darker story, this was a light and enjoyable read that didn’t make you think too much.

You can tell this has been a little bit of a crazy year by the various books I’ve been marking off as read. I’ve reread a few Harry Potter books, enjoyed a comic book (or five), hung out with youth fiction and wanted more from young adult books while reaching back into my adult fiction to read pile. For November’s book club, I’ve chosen The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. I really enjoyed the first Witcher game, and have been eyeing the newish TV show (but can’t bring myself to watch it because I think Geralt looks too pretty, he is a witcher after all and should look more… gritty).

Geralt the Witcher—revered and hated—is a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

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