A review by nytephoenyx
Small Favors, by Erin A. Craig

dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Delacorte in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I sat down to read a couple of chapters of Small Favors and ended up reading the entire book.

Erin A. Craig has a way of doing that, a way of weaving her spell around her readers so throughly with her compelling worlds and duplicitous characters that one more chapter becomes two, then ten, and then you’re reading the acknowledgements and wondering where the day went.  The same thing happened to me when reading House of Salt and Sorrows and I’m not sorry to see she’s done it again.

If you enjoyed her debut, Small Favors takes the storytelling up a notch.  Craig still paints the world with a fairytale feeling, but it’s far more Grimm Brothers than Disney.  She knows when to focus on the details and she knows when it’s time to jump forward.  I adore her storytelling because I fall into it effortlessly.  There were shades of The Grace Year in Small Favors, but it’s also Rumpelstiltskin and Little House on the Prairie gone awry, with just a pinch of The Crucible.  I love, love, loved it.

The characters as well are interesting and … shadowed.  I spent most the book trying to figure out who the true villain was.  Sometimes I was right, at least a little, but I certainly didn’t guess the whole thing. Siblings Ellerie, Samuel, Merry, and Sadie paint an interesting quartet – each one compelling but each one flawed.  Small Favors is more than the story of a family – it’s the story of a town.  Be prepared to meet a lot of people and learn a lot of names.  This may be off-putting for some, but for me it made the game more interesting.  Some characters are developed better than others, but the ones we need to know the best… we do.  Then there’s the mythology, the edge of Van Helsing… ah.  You must read this.  You simply must.

I know this may be controversial, but I so very much loved the ending.  It’s the sort of ending I think a lot of readers will be annoyed with – I’m sorry!  But I think it made perfect sense and was clever and honest.  Too may YA books wrap everything up with a lovely ribbon tied in a bow and that was not the case with Small Favors.  I’ve probably said too much already, but know that this is the sort of ending you have to appreciate and rage over all at once.

Would I recommend Small Favors?  Absolutely.  With her sophomore novel coming hot on the heels of her first, not only would I recommend Erin A. Criag’s books, but she’s become an insta-buy author for meSmall Favors is compelling and leaves you guessing about the darkness in everyone’s hearts.  I eagerly await her next book.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings