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The Salt Grows Heavy (2023)

por Cassandra Khaw

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412861,005 (3.58)1
"You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes. On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three "saints" who control them. The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive"--… (mais)
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Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I borrowed this on audiobook from my library.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this even though it was a bit odd. This story is an extension of the The Little Mermaid fairy tale and takes place after the traditional fairy tale we know. This was written in a very prose-like almost poetic way.

The mermaid married her price and he was a vicious man. They had two daughters together and the daughters took after their mother rather than their father and devoured the prince's kingdom. As her daughters ravage the kingdom, the mermaid decides it is time to journey on. She is joined by a strange plague doctor on her journey. Together they stumble upon a strange village of children. They will have to embrace what it means to be a monster to make it through.

This was a crazy story that is told in fairly dense and lyrical prose. I enjoyed how unexpected it was and how it showed the main two characters having to embrace their monsters to survive an odd situation. Aside from dark fairy tale vibes, this has a lot of horror elements to it as well, with very gory descriptions.

I liked the writing style and the imagery was very well done. If you don't have a broad vocabulary, this will definitely broaden it...I had to look up a couple of words I didn't know throughout. This whole book, both the writing style and the story were unexpected and intriguing to me. I love reading something a bit different that stretches my imagination and this fit the bill perfectly.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was well done. No complaints. I do think because of the dense prose I would have enjoyed reading this more than listening to it. However, the audiobook production was well done.

My Summary (4/5): Overall this was a very beautiful and dense prose-like extension of The Little Mermaid. It crosses the line between dark fantasy and horror. I like how unexpected it was and really enjoyed the monstrous characters. Khaw has been a bit hit or miss for me, but I do love her creativity and I think this was one of her better stories. ( )
  krau0098 | Mar 16, 2024 |
3.25/5

A very quick read. Cassandra Khaw’s writing is GORGEOUS. Even while reading of a mermaid devouring a surgeon, I was in awe. However, I can’t say I fully understand or loved the story itself. I would love to more from her to see a different storyline! ( )
  fedjbomb | Feb 27, 2024 |
This is a book I wanted to like, but I only found it so-so. I liked the premise a "Mermaid" and a doctor wander out of a ruined country, devastated by the mermaid's children. They end up finding a camp of children, with three saints, who are not what they seem. Its definitely a gory story, but I found parts of needed to be more nuanced - also, I think I was expecting something else from the children. I won't go into more, but I was disappointed in this part of the story.

Overall, I found it well written with an interesting premise. However, the story wasn't for me. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jan 6, 2024 |
this was SO strange, but I think i liked it?
  lindywilson | Jan 3, 2024 |
This book was a horror story but with a welcome depth of emotion - anger, pity, love, passion. Author Cassandra Khaw was SO skilled at making me want to never put the book down, but with only one eye barely open in dread of what was to come. LOL The writing was pure poetry; I absolutely loved the WORDS that Khaw used. (I actually had to look up a few words because I wasn't familiar with them, and when I read their definitions, I thought, "Well, there couldn't have been a more perfect word for what they are describing here.")

"The Salt Grows Heavy" is a horror take on the traditional "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale. And, boy, do you have to have a stomach for gore. But you will never experience gore and violence so poetically described. LOL

I loved this book, and it was quick read. It was my first Cassandra Khaw book, and now I want to read all of their books, if for nothing else than just to re-experience the pure beauty of their language. ( )
1 vote niaomiya | Jul 18, 2023 |
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"You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes. On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three "saints" who control them. The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive"--

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