Cover Image: Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

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Member Reviews

This was a wild ride filled with debauchery and gore, and right up my alley. How could you not be all-in with a tale about a female serial killer who is a Disney princess by day, has an obsession with literature and all things Halloween and has old Hollywood vibes?! Maeve’s horrifying but fascinating personality captured me. Also… am I fucked up for enjoying this as much as I did?
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This book is exactly what I was looking for, a mix of creepy, fun, gorey, horror. Leede's descriptions were colorful and clear, making it easy for the reader to enjoy and picture every scenario.
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Thank you NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the eARC in exchange for my honest review!

What a treat this horror book was! Maeve Fly was unlike any character I've ever had the pleasure of reading. After her day ends working as a Princess at "The Happiest Place on Earth," the maliciousness ensues. Maeve has deep, dark desires that must be fulfilled. There's suspense, gore, and horrific scenes throughout this book as Maeve takes you with her on her violent sprees. 
Her bond with her grandmother was everything and was such a great aspect of this story. There's no one like Tallulah, except Maeve. I also enjoyed Maeve and Gideon's relationship. It made me question if they were more alike than will have to read to find out!

I can't wait to read more for CJ Leede. This book totally exceeded my expectations!
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What the fuck did I just read!  I mean this in the best way possible.  Maeve Fly is an extreme horror debut that is simply wonderful.  As its already been said, Patrick Bateman step aside,  Maeve Fly has arrived!
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

This book felt like it was trying to be shocking merely to do so. Many of the violent and gross scenes felt over the top and unnecessary. I don't mind violence and gore as long as it serves a purpose, but all of this felt purposeless. I also didn't like the way the main character, Maeve, was written. She's a Disney princess by day, pschyo by night? The two sides of her didn't transition well and it was almost like she was trying to be that hardcore girl while just being out of place in reality. I also found myself getting annoyed as yet another horror MC is OBSESSED with Halloween. So many authors use this as a distinguishing feature and it makes characters feel unoriginal and not well thought out. I do appreciate the fact that the author explored the fact that not every violent person needs to have some sort of traumatic childhood and upbringing. It did somewhat humanize Maeve, but in the end I just don't think this book was successful in what it sought to portray.
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What I Loved: 
✨Horror + Romance: I don't know if I've ever read a romantic horror book?! I love this blended genre! Gideon truly sees Maeve for who she is!  It's a match made in heaven (or hell since this is a horror book!) 
✨Dark humor: really dark, satirical, and completely over the top.  I find the absurdity quite amusing, laughing out loud multiple times. 
✨Female empowerment - Maeve questions why society has always permitted men to be who they are regardless of their darkness but not women!  Women’s darkness needs to be reasoned or answered. Maeve’s going to break that mold. She's unequivocal in her “desires,” never apologizing for who she is.
✨Narration: Sosie Bacon nails it! And not with a tiny tack hammer, but a big massive sledgehammer, reaping destruction across LA! Bacon embodies Maeve and all her wickedness. 

Beware, though, this book is very graphic: body horror, torture (think American Psycho), and violence. And also lots of gratuitous sex. Parts of the story are disgusting and gory and amped for shock value. But in between all that, CJ Leede writes a terrific character study in her debut novel. I'm really excited to re-read this one because I think my WTFs clouded some of the details.
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Maeve Fly works at the happiest place in the world. She loves her job embodying the villainous and powerful ice princess for little girls to idolize. She also loves Halloween, her pink mustang, and trying out the personas of the characters in her favorite books. She spends her days working alongside her best friend, Kate, reading and drinking pina coladas in a secret bar, and caring for her famous comatose grandmother, Talullah. Oh, and she's excellent at disposing of bodies.

Two seemingly opposite worlds collide when Maeve is introduced to Kate's brother, Gideon... and Maeve's life and Maeve herself spiral deeply out of control and into depravity. Her impulses, anger, and desires become harder to control and we see very quickly that Maeve has racked up more than one body in her Hollywood home on the hill. 

This book was PHENOMENAL! That's it. That's all you need. But I guess if you really must know more in depth...
I absolutely loved Maeve in the first few chapters. She is chaotic and filled with rage, yet she is consumed with so much love for her grandmother and her city, its almost unbearable. She's a wolf in disguise, and she plays the part well.
The internal monologue and narration by Maeve throughout the book, particularly in the beginning, does a fabulous job of delving into her history, lifestyle, persona, and deepest, darkest thoughts and desires. She is a fully developed and well thought out character, whilst the supporting characters are not given as much backstory and insight... yet just enough to be able to envision where they fit into Maeve's world. The backdrop is in Hollywood/LA and more specifically at "the happiest place in the world" and again, the world building is just beyond incredible.
There are various references to horror books and characters, and the comparisons between Maeve Fly and the others (most importantly "American Psycho" and "Story of the Eye") are very obvious and play a fairly big role in giving you the vibe of the book in general.
There are intense, violent, disturbing, and sexual scenes that are not for the faint of heart, as well as a lot of body mutilation and gore...and a wee bit of cannibalism. If you're a fan of more extreme horror, you will love this one. If you don't like reading the previously mentioned content... maybe take a pass on this one. I wouldn't recommend skimming over as I actually think the more disturbing parts give SO MUCH to the book that you'll be missing otherwise.

Overall Maeve Fly was twisted, brutal, and fabulous! A blend of love and death and desire and gore and depravity- with an ode to LA thrown in for good measure. You're either going to LOVE it or absolutely HATE it. It was the absolute best of horror and I'm in love. A new favorite!
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Maeve Fly was a TRIP. I loved this book! It’s gory, delectable, gruesome, and delicious. If you love horror you need to read this book Maeve is my hero
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This book was absolutely wild - in the best way. Horrific, gory, sinister, psychotic, disturbing.

I love the duality of Maeve - Disney princess by day, killer by night, a lot of sex in between.  

Fair warning, there is a lot of trigger warnings, so this is not for the faint of heart. It's been a minute since a book made me actually cringe while reading some of the scenes.
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5 stars

This is a solid extreme literary horror debut. It's dripping in eroticism, social commentary, allusions to the most depraved and beloved in literature (Hello, Mr. Bateman), and symbolism. Horror and extreme horror are not often seen as highbrow, despite there being a few examples throughout the years. This is highbrow and it's feminist. What a banger! Maeve Fly is unsettling and her voice seeps into the page, makes the reader squirm, and her obsessions and fixations show the unspooling of her mind. This was such a well-done novel. While the extreme horror isn't as graphic as some in the genre because this is being published by Tor Nightfire (which is a well-known publishing imprint), for what this book does deliver, it is shocking to know it's mainstream. People will be quaking, rioting, gagging, and banning this book. I can't wait! Stumble into the depravity of the experience of Maeve Fly, a downtrodden 27-year-old who plays the frozen princess in the most magical place on Earth (yes, she's obviously a cast member at Disney for Elsa, but we can't get sued and who wants to pay for all those copyright claims???) who is obsessed with Halloween, the depraved, and her best friend. This is a new 2023 you don't want to miss. Mainly because it's so shocking and daring to see in traditional publishing. What a feat! I loved this book and while my one nitpick is the ending, I also know it's the perfect ending for Maeve Fly. Forever flying around the carnage of her destruction and never able to land in one place and be happy. That's a perfect summary of her character and the ending fits it well. Superb and I can't wait to see what C.J. Leede does next in the years to come. She's going to take the horror genre by storm.
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Here's another book I've seen countless times on Bookstagram and Tik Tok, so of course I had to get it. The feeling of dreariness and emptiness linger throughout the book as you read as if you're preparing for the heart of the book. It was a bit slow but things start to pick up once Maeve and Hilda go to the cellar.  As you progress in the book, you get bits an pieces of Maeve's life from meeting Kate for the first time to the multitasking of her catching a racist and exposing them all while watching porn and masturbating. Kate, Maeve's friend, is hilarious with her one liners and especially the things she says to Liz to throw her off. I also love the flies at the beginning of each chapter. A nice little touch of creepiness. As the book progresses it's like a rollercoaster. Maeve and Gideon at the ice rink, the earthquake at the club, the curling iron, Maeve and Tallulah's aide, so many creepy and graphic parts that kept your eyes glued to the pages.
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THIS. FREAKING. BOOK. My mind is blown that this is a debut. A female American psycho who is also a princess in her day job? Freaking sign me up. Add on her eccentric, movie starlet grandma who has her own secrets and I’m hook, line and sinker. This book puts you inside Maeve’s head and I never wanted to leave. Maeve is fiercely loyal to two people in her life: her grandmother, Tallulah, and her princess friend, Kate. When Gideon is added to the mix, you can’t help but root for the romance. This book is full of graphic torture and violence and some very kinky sexual acts (🥚😮). The ending is not what I saw coming but I freaking loved it. Seriously check the trigger warnings and then read this book if you need some dark, extreme horror in your life 

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This is a holy crap of a debut. For fans who miss splatterpunk kind of stories like Poppy Z. Brite, Skipp and Spector, or even the Canadian police procedural books written under the name Slade. A bit dark, but very good, with characters that really will stick with you, probably because they are drenched in blood.
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Hey everyone, I just finished reading Maeve Fly by CJ Leede, and let me tell you, it's a wild ride! This dark and twisted novel had me hooked from start to finish. It's one of those books you almost feel guilty for loving because it's so messed up, but you can't put it down.

First off, the main character, Maeve, is something else. She's complex and relatable, despite being deranged in an almost rational way. Leede did a fantastic job bringing her to life. I found myself actually rooting for her, even though she was doing terrible things. 

The setting of Los Angeles and the fakeness and plastic feeling of it add another layer of darkness to the story. Leede captures the city's underbelly like a pro, painting a vivid and gritty picture. You can practically feel the seedy plasticky atmosphere oozing off the pages.

Now, I have to warn you, this book doesn't shy away from violence. It gets pretty graphic at times; I had to stop multiple times due to it. So if you're squeamish, this might not be your cup of tea. But if you can handle it, the intense and slow yet fast-paced plot will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end.

Speaking of the end, it's both satisfying and thought-provoking. It leaves you with that mix of emotions where you're like, "Wow, that was messed up, but also kinda brilliant." I felt like I should be jailed for reading and loving this book, but hey, sometimes you gotta embrace the darkness, right?

Overall, Maeve Fly is a dark and twisted masterpiece that will stay with you long after you've finished reading. If you're into horror and psychological thrillers, this is a must-read. Just be prepared for the graphic violence and the moral dilemma that comes with enjoying such a messed-up story. But hey, if you're looking for a wild and unforgettable ride, give Maeve Fly a go. It's a well-written, suspenseful novel that'll keep you hooked from beginning to end.
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This is fully a me problem rather than a problem with the book, but it was way too graphic for me and I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted. I do think the characterization of the MC was super interesting, as was the story as it panned out. The plot was a little messy for me as well, but I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a literary horror (and are okay with graphic scenes) and the synopsis sounds interesting to you.
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Thank you Netgalley for giving me access to Maeve Fly.

Maeve is in interesting character being a princess and all, but with a very f*cked up mindset that we get to follow throughout the story.
I got to 45% and I had to stop. Nothing really happened and it felt like the story was dragging on. It is a slow burn and that is not a bad thing, I just prefer more action vs character driven stories.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley for the eARC of this dark and disgusting (in the best way!) work of fiction that truly brings Patrick Bateman to his plastic-clad knees. Maeve is an ice princess turned cold-blooded killer, and it is such a fun transition to watch come to life. With a plot that carefully weaves dark comedy, horror, and intimacy-- readers are in for an all-encompassing treat. With this being C.J. Leede's debut novel; I was impressed and delighted by her style and how she does not shy away from details of the gory or sexy kind. It's truly a raw, unfiltered experience.

We meet Maeve in a transitionary period in her life. She works in the happiest place in the world, but can't feel that joy for herself. She has so many emotions brewing under her skin; but it takes her best friend's brother, Gideon Green, coming to town to set them free. The two begin to explore their innermost and ruinous desires with each other, and all hell breaks loose. It is literary whiplash seeing Maeve go from her glittering day job with children to nights out on the street as an absolute hunter. It serves as a reminder, however, that you can never tell what a person is like on the surface.

This book is not for the faint of heart. However, if you've read the synopsis and are a horror fan in the least bit, I don't think it will faze you. There are some trigger warnings: graphic sex and torture, sexual assault, abuse, general violence, and of course-- murder. All of this makes for a truly chilling experience that will keep you hooked on every page. You never know what will happen next, and that rollercoaster ride feeling of your stomach dropping at the very top never relents. I very much recommend this to any torture porn fan or strong-stomached horror buff. You won't be able to look at an egg the same way again.
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Great horror book!  Haven't read one as good as this for a long time!  The story of a girl that seems so normal in the beginning.  She works as a princess at a theme park with her best friend.  Then her best friend's brother comes to town.  There is lots of sex and they are spending lots of time together.  She is also taking care of her grandmother who is dying.  As Halloween comes nearer, she becomes stranger.  She looses her job and has to find something to fill her days.  There is a lot of killing then.
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2.5 stars - I found some themes in this book interesting, but overall I felt it was trying too hard to be something shocking, with the ambivalent homicide, gross out torture, and deviant sexual fantasies. I liked the dichotomy of Maeve's job as the famous ice princess at the famous park in LA with her after hours extracurriculars, but I never cared about or enjoyed Maeve as a character. I feel presenting more of her back story could have provided deeper character understanding and development.   

Thank you to Tor Nightfire via Netgalley for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
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With Maeve Fly, debut novelist CJ Leede wants to introduce readers to a new breed of serial killer.

Maeve Fly, the eponymous protagonist (not to be confused with “heroine”), is living her best life. She resides rent-free in a palatial mansion owned by her grandmother Tallulah, a former actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood. She has a job that she loves, working as a costumed princess at the Happiest Place on Earth. She has a best friend, Kate, who is literally the Anna to her Elsa. She amuses herself watching VHS pornography and inciting online hate mobs. Oh, and she indulges in a little murder sometimes, as a treat.

But, as she is intensely aware, cracks are beginning to appear in Maeve’s cushy lifestyle. The grandmother that Maeve idolizes has been comatose for some time, and is receiving in-home hospice care. Her aspiring actress friend, Kate, is one successful audition away from stardom and an inevitable separation from Maeve. And despite their popularity with amusement park visitors, both Maeve and Kate are being subjected to increasing scrutiny by their employer. If all that weren’t enough, an unpredictable new element has arrived on the scene: Kate’s handsome and cocksure brother. A professional hockey player, Gideon both attracts and repels Maeve in equal measure. At any moment her house of cards could collapse, leaving Maeve rootless and adrift. And when Maeve Fly feels threatened, people die.

Written in the first person predatory perspective and peppered with pop culture references, American Psycho is the most obvious point of comparison for Maeve Fly, but there’s a fair amount tonally of Fight Club in here, too. Both Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk are directly referenced within the narrative, name-dropped alongside a number of outre authors, perhaps a self-aware bit of judo intended to disarm critics. Maeve herself has read the books her story is likely to be compared to, and she even glances at a copy of American Psycho before embarking on her final killing spree. But there’s more of interest to be found within this slick serial killer story than a simple gender swap. While habitual murderers are commonly portrayed as aloof, Maeve is anything but detached. She needs the grounding and stability that her grandmother and best friend provide. While she constantly strives to hide her murderous compulsion, at the same time she has a powerful desire to be understood and accepted. Ironically, to be seen. The way that ambivalence is handled is what distinguishes Maeve Fly from other serial killer stories.

With its uncompromising tone and unsettling main character, Maeve Fly is destined to be a divisive book. The violence is graphic, and Leede does not shy away from depictions of sexual assault or animal abuse.  Maeve is a forceful and liberated woman, but she’s simultaneously a black hole of need and dependence. She’s a fascinating character, but also an unrepentant monster. There’s no inciting incident from her past that turned Maeve into a killer, she’s a monster with no origin story. The people she kills and mutilates generally aren’t deserving of their fates. They don’t “have it coming.” There’s some sparse and under-cooked commentary about misogyny and gendered violence, but it’s undermined by the fact that Maeve acts more savagely towards women than any of the male characters in the book, and her brutality has a relentlessly sexual component. Maeve is not the subversive feminist icon some prospective readers may be looking for.

Maeve Fly is a pitch black character study. Leede promises a monstrous woman and she delivers with gusto. While full-on splatterpunk horror fans might be let down (Maeve tends to describe in detail the torments she’s about to unleash on her victims, with the actual execution taking place between chapters), the level of gore still feels a few notches above the mainstream horror novel average. With its strong characterization and compelling exploration of dark themes, Maeve Fly is an uncommonly aggressive and confident debut novel, and CJ Leede is an author to watch.
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