Cover Image: Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

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Member Reviews

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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Wow! Maeve Fly is a wild ride of a book. I loved her being a serial killer located in a notoriously "happy" place. The writing was engrossing and exciting even though gory.
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Look, I cannot say that I like this book, because I think if you claim to "like" it, men in white coats will come snatch you? This book is so  wonderfully messed up, so... well, absolutely batshit, I do not know where to begin. So while I can't claim to like it, for legal reasons, I will say that I one hundred percent could not put it down.

Now, for some warnings, which are not at all comprehensive: this book contains just about every possible thing that can trigger a person. So if you are sensitive to violence or gore or sexual assault, or really any other bad thing, maybe this one isn't for you. Because this book will have those things. Not at first, mind. At first, the reader is lulled into a bit of a false sense of security, like "but Maeve is just going through some stuff!", which she absolutely is. She's not having the best time, and she's quite down on herself in general, and I think that really helps the reader to become sympathetic toward her. There's certainly a psychological aspect at play here, because you can understand Maeve's mindset, to some extent, and that in itself is terrifying. But impending loss and feeling adrift are certainly things many of us can relate to.

It went off the rails for me a little bit toward the end? Obviously can't say too much about that, but I think compared to the earlier portions of the book, it was hard for my brain to handle such a sudden shift into action. But truly, from start to finish, I was captivated by Maeve's story. I was also horrified by it, make no mistake, but I think for me, the scariest part of the story was that on some level, I sympathized with Maeve. Which... yikes.

Bottom Line: I could not put down this incredibly messed up but compulsively readable story.
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The nitty-gritty: Shocking and audacious, Maeve Fly combines repulsive violence with unexpected emotion, and I could not put it down.

Where do I even start with Maeve Fly? I thought I was prepared, but folks, I was not. This is going to be a very divisive book for a lot of readers, and yes, there are parts I despised, but after all is said and done, I ended up loving it. There just aren’t enough stories about female serial killers, in my opinion, and I appreciate the fact that C.J. Leede has unleashed Maeve on the literary world, in all her deranged, feminist glory.

Maeve Fly lives with her comatose grandmother Tallulah in a large house on the Sunset Strip. By day, she works at the Happiest Place On Earth™ as the iconic Ice Princess from that really popular musical movie (you know the one). By night, she haunts seedy bars with her best friend Kate, a wannabe actress who’s just biding her time, working as the Ice Princess’s little sister until her big break comes along. Maeve loves only two people in this world, Kate and her grandmother, and by her calculations she’s got two perfect years left with them (figuring that Tallulah has two years to live, based on internet research, and that the estimated time for aspiring actors to make it big is about five years, three of which Kate has already paid for).

But Maeve’s carefully constructed world is about to topple over. One night she meets Kate’s brother Gideon, a good looking hockey player who insists that he and Maeve were meant to be together. And there’s something about Gideon that draws her in, but Gideon makes Maeve feel vulnerable, and that’s a feeling she doesn’t like at all. As Halloween night approaches, Maeve’s favorite night of the year, Maeve’s life takes a turn for the worse. And despite Tallulah’s stern warnings to “keep the wolf hidden,” Maeve can feel her wolf trying to burst free. 

Let’s get the trigger warnings and violent content discussion out of the way first. This is (at times) an upsetting, disgusting story full of depraved characters and actions. If you don’t think the worlds “kinky” “sex” and “torture” should go together, then this probably isn’t the book for you. I knew this content was coming, and it takes a while to get there, but by the time Maeve loses it and sets off on a bloody, revenge-fueled rampage, I was ready for it. Or so I thought. Lots of reviewers are comparing Maeve Fly to American Psycho, and from what I know about that book (although I haven’t read it), it seems to be a pretty fair comparison. One of Maeve’s favorite books is called Story of the Eye, and if you Google it you’ll get a taste of what you’re in for with this book.

But violence aside, Maeve Fly has much more than just cheap, slasher tricks, which is why I have so much appreciation for what Leede has done. Maeve herself is tough to love. She’s brash, unpredictable and mean. She’s sexually deviant. And oh yeah, she likes to torture and kill people. But. She’s also completely devoted to her grandmother, although their relationship is on the weird side (Tallulah was never a loving grandmother, but she understood and nurtured her granddaughter when no one else did.) We learn through flashbacks how Maeve came to live with Tallulah, and how she introduced her to the glamour of old Hollywood. Now Maeve prowls the Sunset Strip like it’s her second home. She frequents a dive bar where the only two people who ever go their besides Maeve are the bartender and a man who looks suspiciously like Johnny Depp. And Maeve loves her job with a passion. She loves to pretend, and dressing up as a princess and getting paid for it makes her ecstatic. 

When she meets Gideon, her world tilts. She’s not used to letting people get close to her, and Gideon really wants to get close to Maeve. Leede drops a bunch of hints about Gideon and the reason he’s so interested in Maeve, and the final chapter brings everything to a dramatic and violent climax. 

C.J. Leede’s writing is simply gorgeous, literary prose hiding a machete. Maeve Fly is a love letter to the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, and having lived on its outskirts for many years, I can say Leede got just about everything right. The author takes the overblown fantasy idea of L.A. and turns it up a notch, poking fun of the city and its inhabitants but making it appealing at the same time. I especially loved Maeve’s ruminations on “the Park” (the "D" word is never uttered in this story)—the hidden, underground tunnels used by the staff, the secret hotels and restaurants, and fun tidbits about the park like the feral cats that run around catching mice at night. Maeve knows it all, and she shares most of it with her audience. She also loves Billie Holiday and Halloween music, and the author includes lots of musical history facts that might have been a little too much—she does indulge herself at times—but which I found charming and entertaining. Of course all this charm is a cover for Maeve’s true persona, which comes crashing through when you least expect it.

Maeve’s craziness escalates as the story progresses, until the final tragic and bloody end. I have to admit I was relieved when I finished the book—and I needed a palette cleanser after it—but I won’t forget Maeve anytime soon.

Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.
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EDITED: originally 3.5 stars, but I am still thinking about this book months after reading. increased to 4 stars.

I knew I had to read this a soon as I saw the cover, absolute cover art perfection.
Maeve moves to LA to live with her grandmother who was a Hollywood starlet once upon a time.
Maeve believes her grandmother is the only person that will ever truly see her for all that she is. 

Maeve's thought process was disturbing, but the writing portrayed her character really well. It all felt very natural and authentic which added to the true creepiness of it all. I was able to predict the "big twist" at the end but I'm not mad about it, the story kept my attention and I still enjoyed the book from the moment I figured it out up until the end. 

I was also not prepared for so much romance in this book, for me personally it was a little too much, I think if it was dialed back a little I would have preferred it more.  If you love dark romance and horror this might be the perfect book for you.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Tor Publishing Group, Tor Nightfire, and CJ Leede for sharing the digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my authentic review.
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So the first 30% ... Okay I like this
The 2nd 30% ... Oh okay yeah let's gooo
The last 30% ... Holy hell I LOVE this!!!!

This book changed my mind about soft boiled eggs, curling irons, and Queen Elsa. I will never listen to "let it go" without thinking of this book. 

Female rage at its finest and a wild ride. Maeve is brutal and unpredictable. I got so many vibes from classic horror that made me love this even more. And the ending... What??? Noooo!!! I need more. 

One of my top reads of the year!!!
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(2.5 stars) the first 40% of the book was so much fun - being in Maeve's head and getting a glimpse at how she views the world and how she herself moves through these spaces. I loved learning about her relationship with her grandmother and her affection for Los Angeles. Loved the juxtaposition of being a princess vs the dark thoughts she was having. My biggest problem with the story and to keep it spoiler free - is the introduction of a separate theme about 50% into the story completing changing the course of Maeve Fly. A lot of things are left unexplained as the shift of the story focuses on this relationship rather than the other themes we had begun to explore in the first half of the book. I really enjoyed the body gore and I loved being in Maeve's head as she discussed halloween music and trivia of LA. I wish the focused had stayed there.
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Wow! This was utterly captivating from the start. Maeve dresses as a princess during the day, but she has an inner rage that comes out after hours. 

This book is dark and twisty. It has a great variety of characters and they all are integral in their own way. The plot jumps around a little bit, but overall it kept me interested (I read it in less than a day!)

The ending came as a surprise to me and, honestly, I can’t say I loved it. I think the book could’ve had the same sinister feeling to it without pursuing the ending that it did.
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You may be appalled, affronted, and/or blackly amused by MAEVE FLY, but you WILL remember her. The exploits of this villainess of vice and deviance with no f*cks to give is fantastic. It's a decadent, deliciously depraved homage to horror, Halloween, and hedonism that's horrific AND hilarious.
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This book is easily one of the most messed up books I have read in a very long time. Sex, gore, violence all in graphic detail. This book is not for the faint of heart, that being said, I absolutely loved it! Give me more Maeve Fly!!! 

I received an advance digital copy in exchange for 
an honest review. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher.
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This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I really enjoyed it!

Maeve Fly was extremely character driven and we spend a lot of time getting to know her and what is going on inside her mind. 

This book won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a badass Disney princess serial killer, some gore, and sexual violence this one should be on your radar.
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"This is my story, and you cannot control it. No more than you can the ever-lower dangle of your sex or the warming of this fat, lazy prison rock floating in the semen-splotched sky.

My name is Maeve Fly.

I work at the happiest place in the world."

Maeve Fly is a princess or at least she plays one for her job at the happiest place in the world. When she's not posing and primping for the camera and kids she roams the seedy streets of L.A. taking in the sights, the sounds, always looking for a good time to burn off some of the internal rage that roils through her bloodstream.

Let's just say that our dear Maeve puts the RAGE in outRAGEous! *Shudders*

"Rage does not do it justice.

Fury. Frenzy. Savagery. Madness. Spleen. Bile. Wrath.

There is no word for what fills me."

When her co-worker and BFF Kate's brother Gideon comes to town something inside her awakens demanding sweet bloody release. Channeling her inner Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) she sets to right the wrongs in the world.

Okay, folks and friends, I can't be clearer about this: This is NOT for the faint of heart. The pages here are dripping in gore and I will NEVER be able to look at an egg the same way ever again. There are just some images you can't unsee and this scene is one of them. 😳 C.J. Leede has scrambled my brain to a pulp in the best way possible. Her writing is sharp as a razors edge and it sliced it's way into the core of my very being. I wouldn't just sip this woman's Kool-aid, I'd guzzle it down by the bucketful satiated and satisfied.

Visceral, unnerving, and wholly disgusting I had a rip roaring good time with this. In fact, I could see this becoming a cult classic in the horror genre. That doesn't mean I'm recommending it to you faithful reader so don't come back here horrified that I would put such filth on your radar. This is a book for the weirdest of all weirdos to enjoy. You know who you are. The rest of you have been warned! 5 stars!

P.S. Credit to Carly Janine Mazur for the phenomenal cover art. *Chefs kiss* 👌

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for my complimentary copy.
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