Hello again book friends! I’ve had a bit of an absence again, because my schedule is kicking my butt. Last week I spent three days in Brussels as part of a work trip, and it was fun but exhausting. I did, however, finish a book. And not just any book; an ARC of House of Roots and Ruin.
Shoutout to NetGalley for approving my requests despite my abysmal feedback ratio. This is the first of five ARCs I finished since I went on a requesting spree, so keep an eye out for all those other reviews in the near future. House of roots and ruin
House of Roots and Ruin is a sort-of sequel to House of Salt and Sorrows, and follows the youngest Thaumas sister, Verity. I think it takes place 14 years after the events of HoSaS?? Either way, those events still play a significant role in this book. Check out my thoughts below!
House of Roots and Ruin
By Erin A. CraigMy Rating: ★★★.75☆
Published 25 July 2023 by Delacorte Press
YA fantasy | Ghosts | Romance
In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.
Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.
When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem—wife of a celebrated botanist—is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn’t know it.
Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and—with nowhere else to turn—makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms.
But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade. . . .
I have to begin with saying that I really struggled to rate this book. I definitely enjoyed it, but some things did not work for me so 4 stars felt like too much. However, it doesn’t exactly feel like a 3.75 star book either. But if I put it down as 3.9 it’ll just look weird. So, to summarize: am conflicted, still liked book.
Let’s start with the setting of this book. After Verity runs away, she lands precisely where she means to at Chauntilalie manor. I don’t know what it is lately with authors making flowers creepy, but I’m here for it. Despite the friendly facade and splendor, the house immediately felt off. It’s all just a little too perfect. I definitely loved this setting, and the atmosphere really fit the story. It does take a while for things to truly get creepy, so I’d say in pacing it’s similar to Small Favors.
I also seriously loved the plot There were so many twists and turns, and even though I guessed half of them correctly before they happened, there were a few I didn’t see coming. Just like with House of Salt and Sorrows, at the end you are truly questioning your own sanity. The ending definitely proves that you should, so I’ll leave that at that.
Now here’s the thing I struggled with. I was not at all sure about the characters. Verity is likeable enough, but she does not have fantastic problem solving skills. There was many a time when she could’ve spoken up about something but chose not to do so, which led to a couple of mini-miscommunication instances, which just really annoy me. In the end I did like the love interest, but I feel like I just distrusted him from the beginning because of the nature of this book. And while Verity did have a character ARC, I felt like his was a bit lacking.
Nevertheless, this book ended with quite a bang, and if we’re not going to get a sequel to this I’m going to riot.