THE HOUSE OF SALT & SORROWS by Erin A. Craig narrated by Emily Lawrence

As I experienced this novel in audio form, I just want to take some time to praise narrator Emily Lawrence who did a flawless job of inhabiting all of the characters!

Now for the novel itself, a retelling of the Brother Grimm’s folk-tale THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES. As a debut novel, it is very good. It is well written and well-edited. However, readers should be warned that it goes from typical teenage-girl-clothes-and-jewels kind of novel to horror. So if you DON’T want your face rubbed into some truly horrifying images, then this novel is NOT for you.

I love this cover of THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES as it shows the jeweled trees, which feature in the TALE OF GILGAMESH, testifying to the ancient origins of this story. Notice that the women are clothed in 1400s-era costumes, as is typical for so many folk tales.

There were some real strengths to this novel. I loved the way that author Erin Craig made the elder sisters die (a very nifty way of dealing with the challenge of TWELVE characters) and then turned it into a murder mystery. It was a great pity that this aspect of the novel fizzled, leaving us with the uninteresting solution that a psychopathic goddess had done it for her own political ends.

It was a great pity that the stepmother gave a long speech at the end telling us about her (predictably) awful deeds. It would have been much better to have had that storyline threaded into the narrative, rather than being given as an info dump at the end of the novel.

Four stars.

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