Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned. As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.
After reading and loving House Of Salt And Sorrows, I was really looking forward to anything else this author was going to write. Small Favors seemed like it was going to be extremely different than House, but I have to say, the bright yellow cover for a horror novel is certainty intriguing. And the process of small favors spiraling into something bigger and even deadly? Yes, I definitely wanted to know more. Trigger warnings: burns, vomit, blood
This book was really good. It had a few frustrations with it, which is honestly a bummer because the rest of the book really was amazing.
I’m going to start off with the things I did like. First off, the writing. Craig has TALENT. The way she weaves words together to create such beautiful scenery and such vivid stories is incredible. Her words seem to sink into my brain with such a soothing affect. Which is odd, considering how creepy this book got. Though, beautifully written horror books does seem like something that would hit the nail on the head.
The setting was another thing that I fell in love with. This book takes place in a secluded town, surrounded by forest. It’s seeped in legends, and even superstitions to extent. There’s a set of rules to live by, and they even rhyme! I love creepy forest books, and this is another one added onto the list. Plus, the way darkness creeps around the edges, looking for cracks to crawl through, is just stunning. It’s a wonderful setting that’s wonderfully written, which makes it wonderful all around.
Another thing I really loved was the creepy factor. The subtle way it’s slipped in at the beginning, to how it blooms into something bigger later, was terrifying and so well done. Craig knows how to write horror, and I loved being terrifying by what she wrote.
Sibling relationships was another big part of this book that I really enjoyed. Positive and not positive both, all of them were so well written and I loved Ellerie’s whole family.
There were a few things that I didn’t particularly love, and I think it was because of one thing: the romance. It just seemed to kind of cheapen the whole thing. It felt like it moved way too fast and was tinged with an ounce of oversweetness because of it. It wasn’t completely unnecessary, I just think more development could have been beneficial here or there. I think this also lead me to not like Ellerie’s character as much as I would have. I think I just didn’t get her on a more fundamental level. She seems to be driven by a mishmash of things, so I feel like I could’ve gotten to know her better than I did. I still loved her, but I felt like I could have loved her more.
The ending was also something that I didn’t particularly love. First off, I felt like it was very abrupt. I wanted at least another chapter wrapping up a couple of loose ends. I just wanted to know more. I did read an ARC, so perhaps the ending in the final copy will be slightly different!
I also felt like there was an opportunity for this book to go extremely dark. I respect that fact that it didn’t, and even like the way it went, but with my feelings towards the ending, I almost wish that it had gone extremely dark.
All in all, I came out of this book enjoying it immensely. There were a few frustrations here and there, but that didn’t diminish the fact that I wanted to devour this book. It’s bright, but it’s dark, and it’s really, really good.
Small Favors comes out July 27th, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!