Cover Image: Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Maeve is absolutely unhinged and bonkers and I loved it. There is grotesque imagery in here with some pretty gnarly body horror, so that is something to definitely be aware of. I also think this is more of a character driven story rather than a plot driven one. I'm not complaining about that at all, though, because being in this woman's mind was an absolute trip. The beginning, while very interesting for me, was also a bit slow. If you're expecting to jump into the gritty murderous aspects right away, that isn't quite going to happen in this. The first murder doesn't take place until around 35% in. That being said, this was quick, gruesome, and interesting read. Probably one of my favorite horrors as of late.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve been gnashing at the bits for more unhinged female serial killer books, so as soon as I saw the blurb for Maeve Fly by C.J. Leede, I wanted to love it so badly.

The opening hook was fantastic and Maeve, our narrator, adamantly asserts that this is her story.

"Here is the truth, the one that so few of us know:

You do not need a moral and noble story to do what you want. You do not first need to be a victim to become a monster. Your loved ones need not be taken from you so that you might drink and brutalize and chase the sublime. Life is fleeting and meaningless and crying to be seized from behind and fucked into obscurity.

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 dark."

And yet, the rest of the story does not hold up to its initial promise and proceeds to borrow heavily from other fictional serial killers to the point that Maeve blatantly reenacts the iconic rat scene from American Psycho.

For me, it would at least make more sense for Maeve to have drawn more inspiration from her beloved grandmother instead of giving us off-brand, Party City Patrick Bateman.

Really, it was Maeve’s co-dependent relationship with her grandmother that was the most believable and compelling aspect of the book for me. Maeve has to care for her terminally ill grandmother as she struggles to come with terms with her looming death since she is the only one who understands her murderous impulses. 

That part was great!

It was the rest of the story that felt half-baked and could have been fleshed out more. For instance, Maeve has a lackluster fling with her best friend’s brother who she has zero chemistry or connection with, so the resulting climax of their relationship arc didn’t have the emotional pay off that it could have had.

Ultimately, Maeve never succeeds in making this story her own and what we’re left with instead is wasted potential.

Thank you, NetGalley and Tor Nightfire, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the arc! I appreciated the opportunity to read this promising work. The comparisons of this novel to Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho fall short of the inspired work that Leede put into this narrative. Maeve is the character we all love to hate: Her motivations, while terrible, are easy to make sense of. Rage, injustices, loneliness, and discontentment hover around Maeve as she tries to live the life she understands. I think this is a book that shows the extremes of those darker human emotions that follow consistent change and negative happenings in one's life. While American Psycho followed a man who abhorred his yuppie lifestyle and was severely bored, Maeve Fly brings a deeper message to the female experience. I finished this book a few weeks ago, and it has stuck with me. It may be my book of the year.
Was this review helpful?
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. Okay where do I begin?  This was one weird book.  I typically don’t read horror books, but I do enjoy horror movies.  Maeve is a depraved, sick woman.  She is a Disney princess during the day but at night watch out.  She loves sex, drugs, and porn (oh and Halloween).  This was not really my type of book, so I don’t really know how to rate it.  It was good for what it was.  If you liked American Psycho, you might like this book.  I could also really do without the political bashing in the book.
Was this review helpful?
I’m genuinely all over the place with this book. The descriptions are vivid and horrifying, but Maeve’s internal logic is mostly sound, up until the last quarter of the book.  Then it went well and truly off the rails for me.

Then again, Maeve Fly is clearly an homage to the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and American Psycho (both directly referenced in the text), so if you’re down for that kind of thing, Maeve Fly will be right up your alley. I loved the chaos of this book, but parts of the end was a little much for me, and didn’t seem to fit with the rest. Which is part of the author’s point, I know, but that doesn’t change the fact that it didn’t fully work for me.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley, Tor Nightfire, and CJ Leede for the advanced copy of Maeve Fly in exchange for my honest review.

Happy pub day to this delightfully dark book!

I *really* enjoyed this one. A Disney princess by day and a depraved woman by night, Maeve is quite the force of a protagonist. I thought this was so well-written too. Subtle humor was sprinkled throughout the darkness and depravity.

My only complaint is the ending, but I won't get into any details about it! I totally see why the author ended it the way they did, I was just hoping it would go a different direction. 

Horror lovers, you won't want to miss this one!
Was this review helpful?
CJ Leede's Maeve Fly is a beautiful character study that examines a very dark, very disturbed individual in all the best of ways. The dark comedy is excellent,  with gruesome an bloody fun abound. If there's any issue, it's that there's not more of it.
Was this review helpful?
Based on the cover alone, I knew that this book was going to be amazing. I wasn’t sure if it would be amazingly good or amazingly bad so I am quite pleased to report that it definitely falls into the good category for me. Now, this is not going to be a book for everyone but I really enjoyed it. I had hoped that it would be a little different when I picked it up and it was just that. It is gory, violent, and disturbing all rolled into one neat little package. I just couldn’t stop listening once I started.

Maeve spends her days working as a princess at Disneyland but her time away from work is often a bit more depraved. I don’t think that there is much that Maeve is unwilling to do and I really enjoyed just sitting back and waiting to see what she might do next. When she meets her best friend’s brother, Gideon, they seem to have an instant connection. I just loved the fact that basically, anything could happen within the pages of this novel.

This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to listen to Sosia Bacon’s work as a narrator and I must say that I was quite impressed. She really brought this story to life and added a layer of excitement through her reading. She had a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time. I do believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to horror fans. I loved that this was a different kind of story that ended up being full of surprises. Maeve was not a nice character but I found that I liked her anyway. I will be on the lookout for future works by this talented author.

I received a review copy of this book from Macmillan Audio and Tor Nightfire.
Was this review helpful?
For fans of BOY PARTS and - more obviously - American Psycho, Maeve Fly is a hate (love?) letter to the specific ecosystems of both Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and Hollywood, CA. Following Maeve, whose day job is playing "ice princess", Leede presents a character study of a woman who fully embraces the darkest corners of her psyche. This is NOT subtle horror. I have seen many describe it as extreme, and I don't think audiences should take that warning lightly. 

In all, this was not a "pleasant" read -- but it was definitely a story I had difficulty looking away from. With the ongoing trend of "unhinged women" in literature, this definitely foots the bill but takes it one step further.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed Maeve Fly on so many levels, and it was ridiculously hard to stop reading, especially when you hit the moment of no return in this rage filled novel of undoing!! 

When I look at the main character, I see a woman without clear direction, who's lonesome and relies on very few people for her own happiness and sustainability, that is, until a realization what she does have is worth something to her even if her entire identity shifts in order to come to that destructive conclusion. Readers will share in Maeve's brutality, psycopathy, and gore with erotica sprinkled on top for good measure...


Thank you kindly to #netgalley for providing me with an advanced review copy in exchange for my honest review!
Was this review helpful?
I cannot stress enough that this book is not for everyone.  I also cannot stress enough how much I completely LOVED IT!

This book gets gruesome, hard-edged, and offers insight into something no one should EVER do with a hard-boiled egg.  (Like, seriously.  I don’t like that my mind even had to entertain that.)

But it’s so much fun!

Maeve is awesome.  I mean, if I knew her in real life I’d likely end up dead or something.  But I loved her.   The mix between Disney Princess (technically California Adventure, but it’s all the Disney Life) and the brutality of her L.A. life is amazing.  

While the book is a kill fest (and thank you for that), it’s also more nuanced and surprisingly sad at times.

I adored this and want to read another!

•	ARC via Publisher
Was this review helpful?
Wow this is one that will stick with me for awhile! Maeve Fly was the perfect, twisted little book that really went there. 

Maeve is a unique character with a rather extraordinary life - she's an actual Disney princess and her grandmother is Hollywood royalty. She loves her job, especially working with her best friend Kate. As Kate's star begins to rise and her grandmother's health begins to deteriorate, Maeve sees the ones she loves slipping away. The more Maeve loses the more unhinged she becomes and the more her perception of reality recedes. 

We spend most of the first third of this book getting to know Maeve and seeing her daily life. Maeve could easily be the girl next store. Sure we see snippets of her dark side and more peculiar interests, but even after her first instance of on-page violence things just go back to normal. It isn't until the final quarter of the book that things get truly disgusting. Seriously. This author goes there with the body horror so if you are squeamish be prepared. In the end, even as disturbed as I was, I couldn't help but feel sad for Maeve at the same time. 

As a spooky girl, I really loved all of the Halloween references and it made me excited for spooky season. I also loved all of the song references - Maeve essentially creates the perfect soundtrack to listen to while you read this book. I've only been to LA once, but I was instantly transported by the author's writing style. It just felt so gritty city. 

I can't wait to read more from this author. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor/Tor Nightfire for a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
Maeve Fly is the type of character that quickly divides readers into lovers and haters.

Beware what is lurking behind a theme park princess’ facade!

Maeve plays a Southern California theme park princess during the day. But at night she lets her freak flag fly in the clubs of Los Angeles. When she meets Gideon, she metamorphoses into a graphically violent serial killer. If what she does between these pages doesn’t trigger you, I would be suspicious that you may be an android.

So, am I a hater or a lover of Maeve Fly? On the positive side, it is hard to find truly scary horror after decades of squeezing the life out of vampire and zombie plots. Yet, this book somehow succeeds in its goal of pushing the envelope of an American Psycho-type plot. Seeing the creation of a monster in the first third of the book was my favorite part. The rest seemed a bit rushed—like there was a better, longer version that was cut for a particular page length. In addition, some of the violence seemed to be there just for shock value rather than adding to Maeve’s characterization or the book’s plot in general.

While I liked the author’s ambition, I believe this book will only appeal to readers looking for something new to titillate their senses who can also stomach extreme violence. And you know who you are. This isn’t Dexter y’all. 3 stars.

Thanks to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to netgalley for providing me an Arc in exchange for my honest opinion. 

In Maeve Fly we follow our main lead Maeve, who works at a Disneyland esc theme park by day, and acts out her most twisted and dark fantasies by night. She’s dealing with the struggle of caring for her sick grandmother and we see her slowly start to break because of it. Once she meets her best friend Kate’s hockey playing brother Gideon it’s all down hill from there, so strap in. 

This book was so disgusting but in a way where I could barely put it down. I definitely struggled in the beginning to really get into it since the tone of the narration isn’t one I am normally used to, but once I kept reading it grew on me 100%. Maeve is not the most like-able character and I think that’s what I struggled with in the beginning as well, but honestly I don’t know what I was expecting. I feel like that’s the point of her. You’re not supposed to root for her as she is an anti-hero in every twisted way, however she is still a human with complex emotions and I feel like it was written very well for us to see that. She grew on me as well. Plus she loves halloween as much as I do which was a bonus. 

I also wasn’t expecting the topics that C.J Leede was discussing throughout the book but that was one of the best parts. My favorite topic was how men don’t need a reason for being monstrous but women always need a reason or an excuse, and it’s usually from being victimized at someone else’s hands. I like how that was shown through Maeve, how she didn’t have a reason for being monstrous and just simply was. 

Beware that the pretty cover will fool you. This is not light horror and it’s definitely not for everyone but I had such a fun time reading. It was written so well. This would definitely be amazing to read during halloween time as the mood and themes fit the vibe. We also got snippets of history about some halloween themed songs and I thought that was so fun since I had most of them on my halloween playlist. 

(I don’t think i’ll ever look at eggs the same way again btw.)
Was this review helpful?
In his cover blurb for Maeve Fly, Grady Hendrix riffs on Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 serial killer book American Psycho, referring to Leede’s work as Anaheim Psycho. Readers, I’m not sure I can say it much better or nearly as succinctly.

I was only a few pages into Maeve Fly when I started wondering “Who the hell is CJ Leede and where did she come from? Why hadn’t I heard of her before?”, followed up with “How is this fucking book her debut?!” and “When’s the next one?” The LA-based author has two more books coming from Tor Nightfire and it’s not hard to see why the publisher was so eager to sign her to a three-book deal.

Leede’s voice is a breath of fresh air and her writing is downright intoxicating. Her pyscho protagonist, the titular Maeve Fly, is utterly compelling and absolutely sublime in the way she makes you squirm. I couldn’t get enough of her.

Maeve Fly is a slow-burn descent into madness, which gives Leede a lot of room to maneuver in building one hell of a character study. With a protagonist like Maeve society itself becomes the antagonist, and as the story progresses she becomes further unmoored from the demands and restrictions placed upon her by American culture as more and more of the things she is attached to are taken away from her. Maeve has been forced to present herself as a lamb, but she has the heart, mind, and soul of a wolf. She is a predator lying in wait. And as she loses one thing after another, she finds less reason to hide until she finally embraces every inch of who and what she is.

In Maeve Fly’s earliest chapters, Maeve presents as a somewhat sympathetic Halloween-addicted antiheroine, watching porn as she doxxes right-wingers who wrap their racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and every other shade of bigotry in the US flag and their Bible. She constantly travels with a book or two so that, when forced into a social engagement, she can sit in the booth by herself and read while her best friend parties the night away. It’s the kind of introduction where you can’t help but root for her, no matter how progressively nasty and blood-soaked she becomes. That we can so easily find ourselves rooting for a progressively more unhinged psychopathic serial killer, and find a messy, screwed-up form of catharsis in her actions, perhaps raises some uncomfortable questions for those outside of horror, but such is the nature of the genre.

Leede’s narrative is addicting and violent, made all the more propulsive with its flashes of twisted romanticism and George Bataille-inspired eroticism. It’s gratuitous and edgy, but never in the overtly try-hard beat you over the head with it way of other recent transgressive horror works from Tor Nightfire, like Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Manhunt or Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless. Leede’s is a keener and subtler edginess, but one that still relishes in the ghastly spilling of blood and some truly shocking kill scenes, one of which wouldn’t feel out of place in a Saw flick. She deftly balances that horror tightrope of being both mortifying and gratifying, the kind that leaves you uneasy but unwilling to look away, squirming in your seat while squealing in delight at the bold depravities on display for our amusement.

Maeve Fly is a rarity in its presentation of a hellbent girl-power, at times reminiscent of a very LA, gender-flipped Joker or the 2013 film, Nurse. Leede, very straight-forwardly, asks why boys get to have all the fun. We’ve become enamored with the vicarious thrills afforded us by Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman, but where are all the ladies? They’re certainly few and far between, and Maeve Fly goes a long way to help begin filling in this gap. Leede has no doubt crafted an iconic woman character whose name, like Carrie, will s
Was this review helpful?
I'm really impressed by C.J. Leede's debut novel Maeve Fly! I was kindly approved for an e-book and audiobook advanced copy of this by NetGalley, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Our main character Maeve loves Halloween and her job working as a Disney Princess in the theme park in California (although Disney is never mentioned by name - it's very clear that's where she works). She also fiercely loves her grandmother and best friend Kate. However, Maeve is far from an ordinary young woman. Throughout the novel, we get a glimpse into her twisted mind and learn that Maeve may be a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

If you don't like single POV stories, then you may not enjoy this one as we are in Maeve's head for the entirety of the novel. But I loved it, and there is still plenty of action sprinkled throughout as well (including a dark romance that plays a small role in the story)!

I've never read American Psycho the book but have seen the film multiple times - and Maeve Fly definitely reminded me of it. However, I think Maeve is far more likable than Bateman, and you end up rooting for her despite all the twisted things she thinks, says, and does!

I think this novel would be a perfect autumn read as there are SO MANY references to Halloween - Halloween music AND decor!

Fans of complex character development and a strong setting may want to give this book a go! And if you enjoyed American Psycho the book and/or film, you may also like this as well.

There are some very graphic sexual and violent scenes in this book, though - so be warned if you don't like that!

Overall, I really loved this read. The writing was beautiful despite the dark and grisly subject matter. I highlighted so many passages!

The audio narration for the audiobook was also superb, and I thought the narrator did a great job at conveying emotion through her vocal inflections.

If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this book, I vlogged my thoughts about this read and other horror books I read during the last week of May 2023:
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book but did find myself skimming at parts. I would have liked more action sprinkled throughout rather than mostly towards the end. I would totally read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
"By day, Maeve Fly works at the happiest place in the world as every child’s favorite ice princess.
By the neon night glow of the Sunset Strip, Maeve haunts the dive bars with a drink in one hand and a book in the other, imitating her misanthropic literary heroes.
But when Gideon Green - her best friend’s brother - moves to town, he awakens something dangerous within her, and the world she knows suddenly shifts beneath her feet.
Untethered, Maeve ditches her discontented act and tries on a new persona. A bolder, bloodier one, inspired by the pages of American Psycho. Step aside Patrick Bateman, it’s Maeve’s turn with the knife."

My Thoughts:
I'm not really sure how to describe my thoughts on this book. The chaos on the cover accurately reflects the story within. It's dark, gory, unsettling, and an off-the-rails type of ride. The character of Maeve Fly was so well fleshed out that I felt bad for her sadness in life and disgusted by her increasingly unhinged behavior at the same time. 
This book is a wild ride and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark horror. The cover of this book may have one of my favorite tag lines ever; "Serial killing is no longer a boy's club."  Girl power??

I did a combination of audio and physical reading of this one and the audiobook narrator did a fantastic job bringing this story to life. 

Thank you to @netgalley , @tornightfire , and for the gifted copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
For everyone who has ever been intrigued by the darker myths surrounding happy things, like Disneyworld. Campy and tragic, this book retains a dark beauty while beings disgusting and disturbing. The main character comes off as almost a very dark spin on the manic-pixie-dream girl archetype and while she is deplorable and thoroughly unlovable, she is enticing and will make you want to follow her
Was this review helpful?
I finished this last night and needed to follow it up with some romance to make sure I didn't have awful, gory dreams.

At first, I found Maeve kind of annoying and pretentious, which was not a problem. I was enjoying this book until the violence started. It just crossed a line in me that I didn't know I had. The sexual violence was very disturbing. It felt violent for the sake of being shocking, and not much else. I've never read American Psycho so I think I didn't quite understand what to expect from Maeve Fly...but I know now I will not read American Psycho ever.

I think if you like excessively violent and gross horror, you will like this book. Maeve Fly was too much for me. When I finished the book, I felt bad.
Was this review helpful?