Title: Small Favors
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Magical Realism
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!
“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.” (Goodreads)
This was a very interesting book! The blurb gives a few subtle hints as to what lurks in the pages but honestly, there were many surprises and it was darker than I had ever expected.
Ellerie Downing lives in a smaller town named Amity Falls. Visitors are few and far between. There are founding families and three make up the council for this town while also holding votes for certain circumstances. All of this makes for an interesting dynamic when it came to the setting and plot.
When a supply run caravan never comes back besides a horse with enormous gashes, things take a dark turn that left me with many questions, speculations, and being afraid to sleep at night, haha.
If it wasn’t for being tired and not wanting stay up past 11pm, I would have finished this in one sitting. Although it was a bit of a slow start and has parts that make it a tad bit slower, once it ramps up it really ramps up! The pacing does even out the farther you get into the book as it is split into seasons to help the readers understand the circumstances and give a bit of a backstory before crazier events take place.
There is a lot I can say about Ellerie. She is loyal to her family and wants what is best for her sisters. She has a twin brother who is debatable at times and her opinions of him do change over time. I do think even though he makes questionable choices, she wants to see him thrive. I also like that she manages bees with her father and enjoyed the moments we read about them. I honestly wasn’t sure how the bees would play into the overall theme of the story but it does make sense by the end.
My one complaint about Ellerie would be how trusting she is of newcomers. I understand the pull to them as you don’t get many visitors but trust should not be freely given. This one issue did make for the romance to be very instant and that wasn’t for me. I did like the love interests character and they do have fun banter but it just wasn’t believable enough for me.
When it comes to the plot, I can’t say too much because it’s better to go in not knowing much about it. It can be quite dark at times but I did like the use of human nature and the things we hide deep in our hearts. It shows that the world can be a cruel place. There is also magical realism tied into it and it added that extra spice!
The ending was the only other issue I had with the book. It is quite open-ended and I am left with questions that have no answers. These types of endings are hard for me to like because I just want everything to feel complete by the end.
Overall, this was a book I really enjoyed and lived up to my expectations from this author. As always, her writing is incredible and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.