The Borden Dispatches
Horror, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
September 2nd, 2014
My local library
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.
Maplecroft is a sendup of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, from the Cthulu themes to the madness of both antagonists and protagonists. I admire Priest’s constant skill at telling a story with an historical fiction backdrop that doesn’t detract or dominate from the tale. I really enjoyed Boneshaker, for that reason, as well as for her deft hand at horror.
The kind of horror she writes is less gore and startle scares, and more descent into madness and very well-described, creepy monsters. So as I was reading it occurred to me that of course she should be writing a Lovecraftian novel! The pieces fit.
That being said, I did struggle with the pace of this novel. There were times it was bogged down in side track plots, and I had difficulty staying focused and interested in it. I do love how she wove the science and the mythos together, but there’s a block between the characters’ understanding of the science and the readers’ enjoyment of how they arrived at that understanding. I also, unfortunately, had a hard time caring about anyone in this novel aside from the doctor, and Inspector Wolf.
Overall, it’s definitely worth a read if you enjoy horror novels, and does some very clever things within the narrative. Also, having listened to this via audiobook, I think you’re better off sticking to a print format- the accents were distracting and the narrators had issues sounding authentic.