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3.5 

The Salt Grows Heavy

By Cassandra Khaw
The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

“Khaw’s poetic prose and stylish approach to gore make it a blood-soaked, unforgettable gem.” The New York Times

From Cassandra Khaw, USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth, comes The Salt Grows Heavy, a razor-sharp and bewitching fairy tale of discovering the darkness in the world, and the darkness within oneself.


A Best Horror Book of 2023 (The New York Times, Library Journal) A Best Book of 2023 (NPR) • A Bram Stoker Award Nominee! An Indie Next Pick

You may think you know how the fairy tale 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.

“This brilliant novella is not to be missed.”Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“With this brilliantly constructed tale...Khaw cements their status as a must-read author.” —Library Journal, STARRED review

Also by Cassandra Khaw:
Nothing But Blackened Teeth
A Song for Quiet
Hammers on Bone
The Dead Take the A Train (co-written with Richard Kadrey)

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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686 Reviews

3.5
“This is a novella in the style of Lovecraft, in that it uses so many descriptive words that the sticky quagmire of prose traps the reader in place. I personally found it a bit frustrating. In many cases there was a more accurate word for what was being described, so I don’t know why the obtuse one won out, except maybe the other was too pedestrian? Anyway, on the rare occasion I didn’t have to stop reading to look up a word, this novella moved along at a fast clip. There’s an absolute glut of gore and blood, which I enjoyed. I also liked the shift in the relationship between the Mermaid and the Plague Doctor over the course of the story. Where the prose sometimes felt like being bludgeoned, the delicate admiration and protective care between the two mains was lovely. Their love is ultimately what pushed me to give this a full three stars. I’d say this is worth an hour or so of your life to read, but definitely keep dictionary.com on standby.”
Descriptive writingDark settingDarkAbuseSelf-harmViolence
Slightly Smiling Face“Beautifully written, albeit gory and disturbing.”
Beautifully writtenDescriptive writingDark settingMagical settingDark
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes“What a magical, gruesome, beautiful and intimate story. This book had layer upon layer of intricate plot and graphic yet romantic writing. Honestly I don’t know how to describe this? The closest thing I can relate it to is How to Lose the Time War so if that book spoke to you then I recommend picking this book up. But definitely check the trigger warnings because it is a dark tale.”
Beautifully writtenOriginal writing

About Cassandra Khaw

CASSANDRA KHAW is the USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth and the Bram Stoker Award-winner, Breakable Things. Other notable works of theirs are The Salt Grows Heavy and British Fantasy Award and Locus Award finalist, Hammers on Bone. Khaw’s work can be found in places like The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Tor.com. Khaw is also the co-author of The Dead Take the A Train, co-written with bestselling author Richard Kadrey.

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