Have you read House of Salt and Sorrows yet? If you haven't, check out my review of House and Salt and Sorrows, and then go ahead and find a copy of the book and get started on reading it. Right then. Right there.
House of Salt and Sorrows was so good that when I finished the book I found myself in that weird place of desperation and sorrow. I desperately wanted to read a book but nothing felt quite right. I had enjoyed House of Salt and Sorrows so much that, essentially, all I wanted to do was read the book again.
So I attempted to do the next best thing: I read another book by the same author.
Small Favors (also by Erin Craig) is a book set in a small town hidden away behind a set of mountains and a dangerous forest. The town (Amity Falls) was created when people journeying west decided it was a good place to stop...and then decided it was a good place to stay forever. A settlement was built, a way of doing things was created, and laws were written, the most important of them all: don't journey beyond the bells (into the forest).
Small Favors tells the story of monsters returning to Amity Falls to create chaos by tricking the town into giving them "small favors" that might just turn out to be not so small after all. The story is told from the perspective of the daughter of a beekeeper and revolves around the beekeeper's family of six (mother, father, three daughters, and a son).
While I loved House of Salt and Sorrows, Small Favors was not really the book for me. It had good things going for it. The character development was strong, the plot was creative, and the town was well-thought-out. I also thought Craig did an excellent job of planning as every little step was important in this book. The things that occurred later in the book had to have been set up earlier in the book for them to have made sense. It was like a tower made of spaghetti and marshmallows. If Craig hadn't built the foundation well, the top would have crumbled down on her.
I think the problem with this book was simply that it didn't suit me. I am not a huge fan of the setting that was laid out in this book. The town was very Western. Though there were no cowboys to be seen, it was the kind of town you would have seen in a cowboy movie or book or simply one about pilgrims. I've never read Little House on the Prairie but Small Favors had the kind of setting that I picture being present in Little House on the Prairie. This is a setting and mood that appeals to some readers but it isn't my favorite.
I wasn't a fan of the direction Craig took some of the characters in either. I enjoyed the way she set up some of the characters in the beginning of the book but quickly, she took them in a direction I wasn't expecting...in a bad way. Again, this kind of thing is something that was my own taste. I would've preferred to see different endings for a few of the characters but that was my own preference.
Missing from the book was the same sense of spookiness and fright that I had really enjoyed in House of Salt and Sorrows and, from the blurb of Small Favors, had expected to see in this book. I found it strange to see that this mood wasn't present. I also missed the plot twists that came out of nowhere in House of Salt and Sorrows. Small Favors had much fewer reveals and most of the "twists" didn't catch me by surprise at all (I saw them coming).
All this to say, Small Favors was an average book. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't something I would recommend unless you are a fan of Westerns/pilgrim books.