Cover Image: Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

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Member Reviews

First and foremost this book has a long list of triggers, so please check that out before you read. If you are going to enjoy this book then you better be ok with a-lot of gore.

This book was a surprisingly great read. It starts off alittle slow but once things get going they go.

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When I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to read it. As a character, Maeve is definitely a bit unhinged and insane. Having a front-row seat in her mind was an interesting experience, especially when it was clear that she was unraveling. I don't think this book will be for everyone, but this will be a hit for people who like gross and disgusting books. I like horror but I will admit that parts of it were too excessive for me.

I'm giving this 3 stars because while I did enjoy a lot of Maeve Fly, it took me a while to get into it. Also, I didn't love the romantic aspects of this book but that's just my opinion.

Thank you Tor and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC!

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Oh. My. God. I went into this book knowing virtually nothing about it and I'm so glad I did. It was jarring and surprising and horrific. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I enjoyed reading the nods to fun places around the city.
Well... enjoyed isn't really the right word for this book. I haven't found the right one yet as I cringed through much of it, but it was so good. It feels like such a new take on this.

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What fun for a horror fan! Funny, scary, gross, and touching, all set in Hollywood. Truly a horror fan's dream.

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This book is definitely graphic and intense and not for everyone. I highly recommend eating something BEFORE reading this because you won’t be able to eat during or after!

Maeve Fly is as entertaining as it sounds. It has lots of gross parts and I couldn’t put it down. I read this in all of one day, and now I feel sick in a way that only a good horror could make me feel. I felt like laughing and puking at the same time for the most part.
I loved the Halloween playlist woven throughout the story, and the twisted homage to Story of the Eye, which I’ll definitely have to read.

Thank you Netgalley, Tor Nightfire , and CJ Leede for a read I’ll never forget in exchange for review.

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I really wanted to like this because of the writing style and I loved Maeve but I just couldn't get into it. I loved the atmosphere of LA and all the descriptions of Disneyland and how magical she thought it all was but I felt like it took a while to get to the point of this book.

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So, this was a trip...I gamely went along for the ride as Princess Maeve takes us through her rage, mutilation, and destruction of all she knows and holds dear in modern day Los Angeles.
Warning: this book has extreme violence, torture, and gore!!
By day Maeve is a Frozen Disney Princess working at Disneyland, while at night she bar hops with her friend Kate and tries to quell the murderous rage growing inside her. This rage comes to a peak when she gets fired, from the happiest place in the world.
Maeve lives with her dying grandmother, who apparently had similar tendencies and eliminated everyone who got in the way of what she wanted. She instructs Maeve in all these techniques. We never get an idea of why she is so angry, but she laments that men can get away with this much more easily than women, and wallows in books that subscribe to the same theory. Did Maeve inherit these tendencies from her grandmother? Could she have been helped by a professional? Who knows. She seems to meet her soulmate in Gideon, Kate's brother, but as the finale queues up, not even he is immune from her rage.
As a fellow non-murderous Angelino, I did like the architectural references about Hollywood, the La Brea Tar Pits, and other sites of interest.
But as it veered into 'American Psycho' territory, it was just gross. It kept my interest though and horror fans would probably enjoy.

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DNF at 30%. I started reading this book during spooky season and then got off track. When I got back around to it, I just couldn't get back into the story. Most likely a case of right book, wrong time. I will try this one again later.

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** spoiler alert ** [I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]

First, let me say it is an absolute travesty that this book was not released in October.

Second, this will delight a very specific demographic. This demographic will include people intrigued by: American Psycho with a rough sex romance, Danger (not)Disney, masturbatory doxxing, broody hipster reading lists and tooth achingly specific music tastes, soft boiled eggs, and sequestered dive bars.

Maeve is an interesting if not likeable character, and she surrounds herself with others of a similar vein. There isn’t a person in this story that I found myself cheering for (except perhaps Lester the Cat, an agent of chaos and absolute gem), but it was a compelling story and I found myself pulled along, invested in witnessing how their stories would unfold. If you enjoy a good gory horror/thriller, Halloween and a decent dose of wonton violence, this’ll be a good fit for you.

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Maeve Fly is an interesting one.

I immediately requested this book due to the gorgeous cover and promise of a California female American Psycho. In some ways, it delivered and in other ways, it was disappointing.

The positive are that the prose is genuinely good, and Maeves voice is loud and clear. She is a unique protagonist that has something to say. Unfortunately, the front half of this short book is packed with filler that does not provide a lot of forward movement or intrigue. I was hoping it would lead to some interesting character revelations, but this book truly does take awhile to get to a point where you are digging deep into maeve beyond a surface-level grumpy girl who lives with grandma. I think I just wanted a little more American Psycho style at the beginning. I was expecting the whole story to be more psychological. Sadly, the romance and side characters don't stand on their own well enough for build up.

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WHOA. I finished this in three days because I just couldn't put it down. The writing style is very flowy and easy to read, and I really loved the obvious allusion to Disney World. The last fourth-fifth really ramped up to. I enjoyed seeing Maeve's relationships through her perspective. Plus, who doesn't love a female sociopath?

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Maeve Fly isn't like other women. Raised by her old Hollywood grandmother in Los Angeles, Maeve accepts that there are few people in her life who will ever truly see her. She isn't perturbed by this realization. After all, she's got an amazing job at a theme park as a princess, the companionship of her likeminded grandmother, and a single friendship with a rising actress. Except, everything is changing. Her grandmother is ill, her friend is on the path to fame and fortune, and a new manager has been hired to assess her work performance. On the brink of so many changes, Maeve is uncertain about what her future holds. Enter Gideon, the sexy hockey player who shows an interest in Maeve, but she isn't good at letting people in. What happens if Gideon finds out her secret?

Leede creates a visceral gore-fest for the reader to devour. The setting reads as a love letter to old Hollywood while exposing the underside of a city filled with dreamers. Maeve stands out as a complex character readers will struggle to dislike despite the skeletons in her closet. Her raw and honest characterizations plays well against the violent horror aspects of the plot, creating mixed emotions within the reader as secrets unravel and blood splashes. At the heart of this story is a universal truth: the desire to be seen as one really is, to not be alone. Readers who enjoy Chuck Palahnuik will find themselves loving the similar writing style and tone of Leede.

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First off, thank you so much to #Netgalley, the publisher and especially the author for this ARC!

This book was really fun to read, I did take off a star because the main character felt a little one dimensional. Also, I would take a look at the trigger warnings for this book before reading it :)

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When I saw this cover I requested it without
even reading the description. Grady Hendrix had blurbed it “An apocalyptic Anaheim Psycho" and that sold me immediately.

Our main character Maeve is a serial killer who works as a Disney princess at the happiest place on earth. When she's not at work bringing laughter to little girls she's exposing strangers secrets on the internet and cutting of mens ears to make custom Mickey Mouse ears.

Maeve is thriving in Hollywood among all the fakes
maintaining a perfect double life until she meets Gideon her best friends brother. He seems to see through Maeve's facade but what would happen if he really saw all of her..

I don't know how to describe it better than Henridx. This truly reads like a west coast love letter to American Psycho. There were a couple moments in this where I had to stop and settle my nerves so I could read the grotesque violence. But it also bizarrely made me cry for the psychotic Maeve. She was also hilarious and that helped lighten the mood of the book for me.

I'm definitely going to pick up a physical copy of this when it comes out next year. If you love horror, female villains, or enjoyed American Psycho you're not gonna wanna miss this one.

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Thank you Tor and Netgalley for providing me with the ARC!

This book was a crazy and disturbing ride. I loved the writing style, which drew me in immediately. Maeve's character greatly intrigued me, and I found myself contemplating a lot of her thoughts. The depths of Maeve's thoughts and the way she thinks was extremely disturbing and the highlight of the novel. Because of Maeve's thought process, the book is instantaneously creepy, even though it doesn't get super intense until the last 30%.
I wasn't expecting so much romance to be in it, and I feel that the book could have been much better without any romance. There was a lot of sexual content that, while definitely disturbing, was a bit over the top. There were also a few loose ends, and (although I think I have them figured out) I would have liked to see them expanded a little more. I really enjoyed Maeve's thoughts on the acceptance of monstrous men vs. monstrous women, but that was also something that I was left wanting more of.
The last 30% was more of what I'd been expecting, but I still enjoyed the build-up and suspense to it. Overall, I think this ended up being a solid, gory horror novel but could have been better if it hadn't been drenched in romance.

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Maeve Fly is CJ Lede’s debut horror novel, and it definitely delivered. Maeve Fly lives in LA with her grandmother, a former Hollywood star. Maeve works at a Disney park as a princess during the day. Maeve is very close to two people in her life, her grandmother and her friend Kate, and as she feels she is losing those connections, she is slipping more and more into her own insanity.
I honestly don’t know how to properly write a review for this book. It was disgusting and I liked it.
Thank you NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for an advanced copy of Maeve Fly in exchange for my honest opinion.

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4.5/5

To start, I'd like to thank Tor Nightfire for the ARC.

This book gripped me on page one; I didn't want to put it down, and when I had to, I found myself wandering back to Maeve and her horrifying yet fascinating personality.

Leede's writing is brilliant. She really captures the essence of a late twenty-something in Anaheim, CA with the notion that they are other, superior, a lone wolf. Her descriptions were visceral and disgusting, and I mean that in the best way possible. Though the book isn't overflowing with gore, there is a fair amount of it, and it is done with finesse and tact.

While I enjoyed the story, I would have preferred the ending to be less obvious. However, despite being predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed Maeve's journey into madness and debauchery from beginning to end.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers set in California and female serial killers.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for the opportunity to read an early copy of Maeve Fly. I first off love the cover and title of this novel. I was not sure where this was going and was concerned it was falling into a dark romance novel. I really enjoyed Maeve’s unraveling, there were some very good torture scenes. Maeve is capable of horrendous acts but is loyal to the few people she cares about. This was a quick read and very enjoyable. I’m looking forward to any future novels by this author.

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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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