Cover Image: Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

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Member Reviews

It is important to note that the majority of the themes explored in this book deal with sensitive subject matters. My review, therefore, touches on these topics as well. Many people might find the subject matters of the book as well as those detailed in my review overwhelming. I would suggest you steer clear of both if this is the case. Please note that from this point forward I will be writing about matters which contain reflections on violent crime, substance abuse, sexual violence, sexually explicit content involving a minor, psychological distress, body fluid, domestic violence, animal cruelty, & others
Before moving forward I would like to highlight that the content warning should be heeded. The plot is filled with detailed descriptions of graphic violence both physical & sexual in nature. Many of the behaviours exhibited in this story are done under mental distress & by characters who experience heightened levels of personality, emotional, & psychological disturbances. Scenes in this book do not necessarily delve into the detailed performances of said acts but rather, encourage readers to hold on to the imagery these occurrences would produce. There is also a mention of the possible possession of explicit images involving children, though this is not explained in detail. I would strongly encourage readers to stop here if they are not in a position to read about said details & the logistics behind them. This review will be delving further into the reality & repercussions of violent acts as well as sexually extreme/explicit behaviour (consensual & non-consensual).
Twenty-seven-year-old Maeve Fly is a girl who believes herself to be more than she is. In the age of cringeworthy internet content; the self-imposed alpha nomenclature & the practice of imagining the human species to rival the Canis Lupus, we find many people who are in fact, just like Maeve, except they don’t peal the skin of other people’s faces & boil their bones like the witch in the beloved & terrifying Classic by the Brothers Grimm, “Hansel and Gretel” (1812). Regardless of these small details, Maeve is simply a product of the preposterous personas that extremists adopt to dissociate themselves from the facets of life they cannot escape. Every aspect of Maeve’s life unravels itself as a visually un-stimulating & mentally devoid carcass might as it tumbles down the side of a stony & tree-protected hill.
What is initially interesting about this story is the direction it wishes to take, which it simultaneously ignores. Maeve is introduced to the reader during a shift at what one may assume to be a Disney theme park. Maeve goes into great detail about the joys & requirements of working with the corporation; this is her dream, to be the shiny winner in the sea of equally shimmering wigs, crowns, jewels, & sing-song ladies all dressed as the favourite imaginary girl in imaginary worlds. This scene reveals itself as the only one worth reading because, alone, it stands to garner all the excitement that the story itself fails to present. In that same breath, this scene holds the core issue that I have; it is diluted & disillusioned. 

What leads Maeve to believe that the princess she performs is the only princess worth knowing, worth loving, & worth her weight in revolutionizing feminism? I began to feel a disconnect between what I hoped the story was trying to achieve & what Leede actually meant to write. This happens when a character roams on unstable ground & is given very little depth to their person, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks where the author neglected to gorge their creatures. On the one hand, I wondered if Maeve knew that what she believed to be true was in fact, false. On the other hand, I wondered if Leede understood that what she was writing about, made no sense. 

Elsa, from Disney’s “Frozen” (2013) is not the person that Maeve believes her to be. She is not someone who is honing her dark forces, nor is she someone who is going against the grain because she’s super cool & wants to live life differently. Any well-adjusted adult can see that this character suffers significant levels of mental unease. In the world in which this story is set, magic resides in every aspect of life, even if it is not acknowledged or commonplace—people know that it is there. Elsa experiences a dissociation with her magic powers in the same way that people experience a disconnect with themselves when they feel at odds with their being, their person, & the world around them. It certainly did not help that her parents died at sea when she was a child; a child struggling with her identity & the awareness that who we are can hurt other people, even when it’s not our intention.

How does Maeve look upon this character & imagine her to be some wicked force the likes of Gnorga, from “A Troll in Central Park” (1994) would quiver from? I return to my confusion here because I cannot grasp whether or not this was the point. I say this because as the story evolves, we never see Maeve behave differently. It is as though her beliefs & the coincidental occurrences within this plot are meant to cushion the delusion of her person. Certainly, if a person believes Elsa to be a wicked witch of Scandinavia, they can turn the actual story into whatever it is they wish it to be. Anna can be viewed as a titan against agency & free will; her parents might have deserved their death for trying to intervene, in any capacity, in Elsa’s life. We can all imagine things that are untrue & make them into rubies of reality if we really want to. However, that doesn’t change the chemical composition which dictates their true form & purpose. 
While Maeve watches porn, doxes people online, & neglects to feed & nurture Lester the Cat; her grandmother—a serial murderer—lies in a coma awaiting death. This elderly woman whom Maeve met later in life after some unknown rift sent her packing from her parent’s house, is able to evidently see some ‘darkness’ in Maeve the likes of which the human species has yet to encounter. Yet, we have many many many many many times. What is funny about this story is that it could be great but, it’s not, & it never fails to try & remind the reader that this is the first story of its kind to ever try & do such a thing. Any reader who has been at the game long enough, or even any reader who reads a vast array of books. Truly, any person who pays any semblance of interest to the news & history recognizes the patterns that this story undertakes. 

Perhaps this was the point. Perhaps, we are meant to meander through this story & be reminded of every single other book, every single historical figure, & every single social event, that finds itself cloned into a ghoulish crone within this plot. I cannot say for certain, I am not the author. Talullah has been killing in her home for many moons—just as another fictional character that I hinted at in the introduction has done. When Maeve comes to live with her they realize that they are the same, not only in looks but in psychopathy too. Within the cellar of the great Hollywood mansion sits the bones of people that Talullah has murdered. Maeve adds to this collection because she’s just that kind of quirky, weird, wolfy girl. 

Except, why did Talullah tell Maeve that she alone in the world was the way that she was? Was her goal to ostracize her granddaughter? This entire murderous ploy rings true to the crimes committed by Ed Gein. Are we supposed to feel the proximity between the fictional world & our own? Are we meant to giggle & moan about how terrible the world is, here reflected back to us via the word of a person who lives in the world alongside us? What is the point of having everything in this book be a cosplay of the monstrous original? 
In all the years of her tutelage, Maeve has murdered ample individuals. We find her at the precipice of carelessly killing for sport except, it’s not sport because she’s not actually the person she claims to be—she is not a wolf, she is a girl who is wormed with ineptitude & vapid of intelligence. These things don’t matter in the realm of this story because whatever it is Maeve seeks to achieve, she finds success in doing. With ease, she ruins the vaginal cavity of a woman who was annoying & stuffs an unsuspecting mouse through a tube to die inside her acidic pelvis. She slices ears & eyes from bodies, she smears gloop on the visions of those who might see her for who she truly is, without consequence or struggle.

I might be able to forgive all these coincidences if the story had moved with gumption. Had Leede written Maeve as being a monster, I would have welcomed the world in which monsters live—my world. The world of every single human being who is aware of the fact that gruesome murderers loom & wander; the world where slavery, sex trafficking, child abuse, animal cruelty, crimes against humanity, & wars like none we could imagine, exist & thrive. How, alongside all of this knowledge, am I meant to view Maeve as anything other than inconsequential? 
It made me laugh every single time Maeve was written as trying to be edgy, trying to be spooky, to be ghastly & weird. It was so ludicrous as to be hilarious. As a seasoned reader of Horror, I acknowledge that the line between horror & humour is very thin but, there is a way to tread this string without snapping it. In this case, we are meant to view Maeve’s actions as outlandish when in fact they were just her imagining herself as every online figure who believes themselves a wolf hidden in the skeletal structure of a skin-walking human being. 

When Maeve tells Kate that certainly, it would be a slow death in the pits unless the wolves came, we are meant to see Kate repel & worry about the ‘darkness’ of Maeve’s thought process. Is this meant to be a joke? For someone who loves Disney so much, you would think Maeve would have made Kate familiar with Disney’s “The Lion King” (1994) in which there is an entire scene depicting the circle of life—the antelopes eating the grass where once a body decomposed, etc. Here again, we covet the point. The point is that none of what is happening is particularly shocking in the least. 
Every sexual encounter that Maeve has is described along the lines of deviancy but really, there exist far more polarizing encounters in both the consenting & non-consenting world. Everything that Maeve does is for rookies; having sex on the ice of a rink, biting, using toys, & casual objects around the house—people have been at this game for many, many, many years. This series of events reads as exposure to the already well-developed world of sexual extremism. A key factor of which is finding your ideal match, given lighting someone aflame requires a level of confidence & trust that the majority of people never encounter in everyday life. 

Here, again, we see the image that Maeve wants us to believe, rip at the seams. Everything she does is for someone else. When she abuses Liz & Andre, she is doing it both for herself & for Kate whom she views as a victim. When she desecrates Derek, she is doing it for Kate whom she knows is being sexually & physically abused. When she kills Gideon she does it because the truth would unravel the origins of her behaviour & would ruin the reputation that her grandmother sought to cultivate for all those years. Here she maroons the corners of steeples as though set to pray to the God who made her this way, knowing fully well that her delusions of self are imposed by her misunderstanding the basics of literature & the human species at large. 
When attempting to derive a comparative point between males & females, Meave stands that men always question violence, as though they didn’t know of its existence. Whereas women know, & therefore do not beg for answers because they believe that this is life. However, this is untrue. We can certainly view Maeve’s statements as generalizations & given the fact that I don’t think she would know her own anus from a hole in the ground, I don’t put much weight behind her words. Regardless, the essence of evil & the derivatives of violence always has reasons, even if we believe them to be inadequate. These facets of reality are worthy subjects for debate but I cannot rightly say that they were approached with any level of tact, depth, or general ability. 
By this time I must ask myself the ever-present question; what is the point of this story? Who is this book for? I thought it was going to be for me; a lover of Horror & a literary enthusiast. One who has in fact studied most of the authors, in their original languages, that Maeve flings around the room. An act that proved more shocking than graphic sexual encounters; bulbous violence; morose inner monologues; & tedious interpersonal relationships. The desecration of books. 

When all is said & done I cannot fathom who would find this enjoyable, which is not to say that the ideal reader does not exist—I am sure that they do. I found this book to be very disappointing because it relied wholeheartedly on shock value. What was forgotten is that, by crafting a plot in which the main character boasts about being extravagant in their desires & behaviours, the reader knows that the inordinate will certainly follow. After the pleasantries are done & the beginning of bile, blood, gunk, & guts flow through the pages, but once, we know that it will follow again. Recycling the same tone, the same morbidly disconnected & imbecilic view, twinged with a lack of awareness & depth; the reader is left with little else to do but wait for the inevitable, that which they gauged from the start. 

Leede has great potential, they know what is gross & what leaks curiosity in the mind like the dead & diseased in the ground. I hope that their target audience finds this book & that they appreciate it for all that it is; a serpent’s egg in river water, sure to drown due to the natural transgression of a rain cloud too weak to hold its own load. 
Thank you to NetGalley, Tor Publishing Group, & CJ Leede for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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This was what I wanted. I was looking for something spooky and off the beaten path that I could be absolutely addicted to reading and this gave me all of that. Amazing story!
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I’ve been wanting to read about a female killer for a while and wow did I get it with this one. The narrator, Maeve, is absolutely insane and a perfectly terrible concoction of all the wicked literature she loves. The reader gets to see the horrific inner-workings of her mind and a glimpse of her backstory. This novel is filled with pure depravity, absolute brutality, and extreme debauchery. This is an ode to those who adore the works of Bret Easton Ellis, George Bataille, and Chuck Palahniuk. I’m not sure if the grotesque imagery will ever leave my mind. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Tor for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was ... huh. Let's think about the plot for a second: Maeve Fly is the granddaughter of a Hollywood starlet, a misanthrope who is the character actor for Elsa at the California Disney. She relishes the strange, thinks of herself as a wolf separate from other people. She cherishes the few human ties she has, the people that she considers on her level. And the book sticks us directly into her brain as those ties and the rest of her carefully composed life begin to fall apart.

It's a book that walked a tricky line of following the protagonist's perspective while also commenting on misanthropic literature about how men always get to be monstrous without reason, but women never do. And to be honest, while I enjoyed it, it never quite delivered. It relished in the shock factor of certain scenes, giving over to the sheer brutality of the violence in it as a sticking point. And yes, the shock factor is effective. Yes, there should be more stories about monstrous women. But this one ended up veering on the edge of comical for some scenes, a level of heightened reality that certainly matched the melodrama of Hollywood, but failed to leave me with any real gravitas.

I had hoped that the ending would deliver, would tie everything together in an unraveling that fit, and while the bones were there, I was generally left going "well that sure was a book I read". Maybe my opinions will change with reflection, but for now I'm just very. ehhh.
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A maddening tale of a grandmother raising a child in Hollywood with all the expectations of a star.
Telling her that she cannot share or be herself around anyone bec her and the grandma are too much the same.

This is illogical bec how can no one be like them if they are like each other.
Do not like how the author had to describe the let it snow girls in such a confusing way.
And I am still not sure if the grandmother is really based on a retired Playmate or not.

Was a ruched up bloody ride of disgust
Would like to read again and look into some of the books they reference her reading to see how messed up those are.
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Maeve Fly sounded interesting, with comparisons to American Psycho, I gave it go. I wish I hadn’t. The main character, Maeve, is as shallow as her surroundings in California. Her life as a character at a theme park, her dying movie star grandmother, and obsession with Halloween music made finishing the book daunting. The story line is slow and predictable, with attempted shocking graphic violence that jumps the shark more than once.
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Thank you, Tor Publishing Group, Tor Nightfire, for allowing me to read Maeve Fly early!

This debut was gloriously gory and horrifyingly captivating.
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This was okay, but I felt that the plot was overall rushed and I also didn't really connect with the story or the characters.
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I loved getting to know Maeve and her world, it had what I enjoyed about horror villains, and it was what I was hoping for. I was invested in what was going on and it had a great concept going on. I enjoyed the way CJ Leede's wrote this and was glad I read this. 

"Johnny gives me a nod without lifting his head, and I tilt my glass to him in answer. He’s not looking too hot today. Coming off a bender. I feel for him. As much as I ever feel for anyone. I take my drink over to my table and settle into my spot. I crack open my book."
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Holy hell... that's what I thought several times while reading this delightfully debauched and terrifyingly surreal novel. 

Maeve is 27 years old and works as a princess at a certain theme park (never really mentioned by name but you'll know). Oh, she's also a sociopathic serial killer as well! Yeah, this book pulls out all the stops as it's written in first person from her perspective. This makes for an extremely unsettling but page turning narrative as she is both antagonist and protagonist of her own story. 

Very few authors would be able to have you feel sympathy for the "monster", yet this one manages to do just that. And you might feel a bit dirty inside as you feel that way, knowing the bloody exploits she performs as we stand by and observe. 

But that's a very good thing in my opinion. I love a horror book that can bring this kind of emotion in such an unpredictable manner. 

I absolutely devoured this book and I can't recommend it enough!
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4 stars
This is a fantastic debut. It’s a bit more gore than I usually prefer but that didn’t take away from the overall story for me. I really enjoyed this. Dark humor horror, is that a thing? I highly recommend reading this for yourself.
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