Jul 19, 2021

ARC Review--Small Favors by Erin A. Craig


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.





I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.


Erin A. Craig returns to the dark fantasy world we all know and love with her latest standalone, Small Favors! If House of Salt and Sorrows was akin to The Worn Out Dancing Shoes aka The Twelve Dancing Princesses, I'd say this one is more like Rumpelstiltskin, but only the vaguest, loosest sense of the word. It was still a rather dark and mysterious read, but the fairy tale element was not as clear to see this time around.

Ellerie lives a simple life in her village and truly, all is well. Then one day, she finds out her best friend has been seeing her twin brother behind her back. Prior to a dangerous monster was found in the woods that surround her village and with winter fast approaching it doesn't look good for their survival when the trip to stock up on supplies is cancelled. Adding to the strangeness, a mysterious stranger comes to town and Ellerie can't help but be drawn to him.

Then the unthinkable happens, tragedy after tragedy, it seems, an accident leaves Ellerie's mother in danger and in order to save her, her parents go on a trip to the city to get the care she needs. Ellerie is left behind to care for her sisters and to take care of their family's bees. They're the "honey people" in her town. 

Strange things continue to happen periodically around town. Little things that you might not notice right away and then of course there's all the strangeness surrounding the forest and the creatures lurking within. Trouble is afoot and it's from an unseen force that will wreak havoc upon the town before it's done.

While I admit that this one was a bit slower than I would've liked, I never once thought of stopping reading because I was eager to see if my theories panned out and to see what was what with all the creepiness. And there's some serious creepiness to this story despite some of the other lackluster qualities.

I guess I was expecting too much of a fairy tale retelling, instead, I felt like this one just took fairy tale aspects and hid them in the story. Mostly generic elements from other old tales of warning and caution.

There was a little bit of romance in this one too between Ellerie and the enigmatic stranger with no name. Their interactions were few and far between but they were always intense ones to say the least. I enjoyed watching their interactions, but I admit, I wanted to know more about these dark and spooky woods with monsters lurking about. While we do get some answers to that part of the story in the end, I was craving a bit more than what we got. I mean, I see the appeal in just getting the bare bones of an answer, but alas, I craved more.

All in all, Small Favors was an intriguing read, but I feel like it had more potential to be an awesome story and instead what we got was one that just pretty good. The ending did kind of make up for some of that. It's not the ending you'd expect for a fairy tale ending, but when compared to the original fairy tales...it just might fit in!


Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars





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