The Salt Grows Heavy (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

After murdering her husband and burning his kingdom to cinders, a mermaid joins a strange …

The Salt Grows Heavy

4 stars

I quite enjoyed this dark fairy tale / body horror novella about the relationship between a mermaid and a plague doctor, as they investigate mysterious violent children in the woods in the thrall of three surgeon saints. I enjoyed the prose quite a bit, but I am also a sucker for stories about monsters and bodies, broken and (re)constructed.

(Also seriously though, I will content warn for on page violence, death, and gore. Various characters are eviscerated several times on page.)

The ebook that I read also included the short story "And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice", which can be read here:

It's possible that I'm slow on the uptake, and so I didn't twig to the fact that the mermaid in The Salt Grows Heavy having her tongue cut out (losing her voice, in other words) was a riff on the little mermaid story. This short story prequel is much more obviously a retelling of that story. In my opinion, it can be read after or before The Salt Grows Heavy. It's got a similar tone (body horror, fairy tale vibes) but a different thematic focus.