Maple Books is now two months old! June was a bit tough: although it’s summer, I have been overloaded with work since the second half of the month and couldn’t spend as much time as I wanted reading and writing reviews.
The blog got a few improvements though: I added CommentLuv so you can now display a link to your latest articles in the comments. I also created the “All the reviews” page. I wanted to display a custom and sortable list of all book reviews, and here it is. I didn’t work much with PHP and WordPress in the past, so it was fun. I expect to do more as soon as I have more free time!
Books reviewed this month
Lucia’s Mask by Wendy MacIntyre: a creepy dystopian (English)
Transtaïga by Ariane Gélinas: a dive into a psycho’s mind (Français) < my favourite this month!
Deadroads, by Robin Riopelle: a supernatural thriller (English, tiny bits of French)
Confessions d’un extraterrestre, by Jacques Benoit: the memoir of an alien immigrant (Français)
Science-Fiction&Fantasy World Tour #2: I stopped over in United-States with Mockingbird by Walter Tevis (English).
Other novels I read this month
These are the books I read this month but about which I didn’t write a full review on the blog because they’re not by Canadian authors.
The 13 Secret Cities by Cesar Torres [Part 1]
I was SO intrigued by The 13 Secret Cities. I love the book cover, I love the title, and when I saw that they were some elements of Aztec Mythology in it (of which I know so little), I just wanted to read it. The book is published in episodes and Cesar Torres was kind enough to provide me with the first part.
“The 13 Secret Cities” is a fast-paced, intense and scary novel. You jump right into the action on the very first page when Clara, the protagonist, runs for her life during a violent riot in Chicago. My favourite part, though, was Clara’s struggle for identity. Her parents’ Mexican background conflicts with the American culture she grew up in. For instance, she is officially an adult, being over 18. But her parents argue adulthood starts after the “third ritual” at… 26! In the folkloric beliefs of her parents, Clara can’t distinguish the cultural and the weird. They talk about rituals, lucky charms and creatures in dreams; something Clara can’t conciliate with her down to Earth activism.
I also loved how Aztec mythology slowly creeps in, swallowing Clara as if she was sinking in quicksand. The horror and the fantastic are well balanced, leaving you hungry for more details about the Aztec underworld and Clara’s story.
By the way, you can support Cesar Torres by becoming a patron on Patreon, a really cool concept!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
I was terribly disappointed with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I liked the boy, I liked the universe, I liked the ambiguity between child fantasies and actual elements of fantastic, I liked its dark tale flavour… but the whole book felt really shallow to me. I found the characters really underdeveloped, the story was dragging on and new twists were only brought up out of nowhere to add a few pages to the book. Also, I didn’t like the ending.