Adult Book Review: Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

Title: Maplecroft
Series: The Borden Dispatches #1
Author: Cherie Priest
WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads
Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type: Horror
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Goodreads First Reads / Publisher
Publisher:  Roc Trade

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....
The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.
But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.
This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

Review - A letter to Maplecroft

Dear Maplecroft,

The last few days you have taken me on a journey that has been filled with the strange, grotesque, and even horror, yet your words are beautiful and eloquent. I must admit that the story that unfolded was much different from what I had originally anticipated. I expected, yes, blood and gore, maybe even intense action given the fact we are talking about the infamous Lizzie Borden and the strange tale of her and her axe.  I expected something along the line of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a story involving a real-life figure and legend, with some serious kick-ass moments. But you surprised me completely with your Gothic and historical feel, and the strange little monsters that you brought forth from their watery sea and wrapped them up in some sort of Lovecraftian mystery. 

Through letters, strange experiments, and chilling moments of horror, you brought to life the story behind Lizzie Borden and that fateful night she took out her axe. The first time I glimpsed your cover, with you dressed in Victorian splendor, yet holding that deadly axe secretly behind you back, I couldn't help wonder how on Earth would you be able to convince me of your heroine sensibilities. As the pages turned, and through your voice as well as several other points of view including those of your sister Emma, who assumes the alternate identity of a Dr. E.A. Jackson, the Phillip Zollicoffer who is a Professor Biology, and honorable Dr. Owen Seabury, the story unravels, taking me well into the story before, after and during the moments that led up to the night where Lizzie parents were found murdered.

I must admit I was put out at first by the multiple points of view and the going back and forth between time periods, yet this format ended up working brilliantly in the end, giving me a bird's-eye view and an intimate one as well of your story. I enjoyed your company, and though I would say it took me longer than usual to feel at home with you and the pace of your story was slower with little nuances that needed to be teased out, I was still captivated throughout.

With your story Maplecroft, I was given the moments of a kick-ass heroine, a dark and haunting horror, and a completely new envisioned tale of Lizzie Borden's legend that was unlike anything I would have ever imagined. Strange as the briny creatures that rush upon the shores Fall River, this is a tale of supernatural horror perfect for fans of Lovecraft and Victorian Gothic horror with creatures unlike any of the usual suspects. A wonderful and chilling new series, featuring a heroine unlike any other. I look forward to the day we meet again, as I suspect from your letters and story, this tale is far from over.

My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it.

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Goodreads First Reads for the review opportunity!