Maplecroft

Maplecroft by Cherie Priest is not on my 2015 to read list, nor is it a book from the Vaginal Fantasy book club.  I read it while waiting on my VF book for this month.

This book came to appear in front of me mostly by random happenstance.  Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (the VF alt for this month) wasn’t ready for me at the library when Alex went to go pick up his book.  I didn’t want to be without a book for long, so we sauntered through the Sci-Fi section seeing what could catch my eye.  I was pretty sure that I’d end up walking out empty handed.

It was sitting on the bottom shelf and it was calling to me.  I had heard of this book before, through Wil Wheaton, and I was curious enough to pick it up off the shelf.  I saw on the back cover that someone called it Lovecraftian, and I knew that this was going to be my book. (I’m a fan of Lovecraft’s work, and therefore anything that is decently Lovecraftian.)

The story is simple enough.  After the trials for the murder of her father and stepmother, Lizzie Borden and her sister are trying to find the cause of some supernatural happenings going on in their little town.  They eventually call upon the aid of the town doctor to help them with their struggles.  And of course everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

The entire book is written as journal/diary/letters of each of the characters.  This made for some very interesting changes in the readers perspective.  One person would be thinking one thing and another person would be thinking something completely different.  Each of the voices was distinct enough that I could tell who was writing them (even without it being written at the beginning of each section).  The ability for the author to change writing styles and perspectives says good things about her writing abilities.

My appreciation for this book grew after the antagonist was introduced.  It would have been very easy to make it a standard monster and call it a day.  But Priest decided to do it right.  We can see, through the letters, the slow decent into madness and how sure and sane one seems to be while in the throws of insanity.

The mix of the science and occult seemed to blend well within the world, but Priest fell short on a couple basic scientific facts that would have been easy to scientifically see, if not already known in that time period.  The biggest of these was the fact that Tetanus is an aerobic bacteria, which means that it cannot survive in oxygen.  Which happened to be the exact opposite of what the good doctor said.  I tried my best to ignore it and just enjoy the ride.

I gave this book a 4/5.  I loved the writing and the story.  I just got a bit hung up on the lack of good science.  But for a good time read, this is a book worth picking up.

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