Cherie Priest
Maplecroft Cover



The word to best describe my reaction to Maplecroft by Cherie Priest would have to be ambivalent. I did not love it, and I could not say I hated it. I might also have used the word frustrating. Yes, I think frustrating is probably the better word.

First, the entire book was written in journal and letter form, a literary devise I find annoying unless it is done exceptionally well. At times I thinks having all the characters writing down their feelings in long, chatty journal entries or letters is a lazy way to show character development and motivation. This was really just a small annoyance to me and could have overlooked it if it was not for the other glaring problem. This novel was a 400 plus page set-up for a second book.

There were questions, after questions, after questions posed by this novel, none of which were answered by the end of the book. Characters were introduced at the beginning of the book never to be heard from for the rest book. Every journal/letter brought a new question, which would be fine if at any time a chapter ended by answering one. I was kind of annoyed at the end of the book to realize what was happening. I felt like I had been bamboozled in some way.

I will say I liked the concept of the novel. The idea of a creatures from the sea was intriguing, a sort of "missing link" between the time when all life was of the sea and when creatures first crawled from that same sea. But, this is not a concept that Ms. Priest created, but is instead reminiscent of the Lovecraft Cthulhu entity. I was not particularly impressed with any of the characters. They all seemed incredibly self-possessed. That may have been a result of the journal/letter aspect of the novel. I found Emma to be particularly guilty of the self-centeredness. By the end of the novel I wanted to punch her in her whiny blood spewing mouth. But hey, that was just me.

I am not totally willing to write off this series. I will get around to reading the second book Chapelwood, but I did remove my name off the reserve list for it, so I guess I will not be doing it for a while.

2 out of 5 stars.