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Maelstrom Kindle Edition
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Also, the creation of this work of fiction created a maelstrom of emotions in its producer and writer, who took the draft of a manuscript began by her mother, June Guenette, many years ago. After June's death in 1997, the manuscript went to Francis' son and was seemingly lost until a few years ago. Francis took the original seed of an idea and turned it into the page-turning, twisted story of a fictional town in the rugged western regions of the North American continent. But as she took typewritten white placemat pages and turned them into a manuscript, the author suggests she went through her own maelstrom to bring the novel to publication.
If you've read any of the books in the Crater Lake Series by Francis Guenette, be prepared to be as shocked as I was. There are very few likable characters, until perhaps the end. And any compassion felt for some of the younger ones is born of pity and not true empathy. Never will you meet such evil, narcissist folks as the ones who roam and rule the streets of Haddon. I don't usually read books filled with such horribly violent scenes, such as populated the pages of this novel, but because the author created a compelling story, I found myself guiltily escaping back to my Kindle to find out if and when the worst of the worst would get their due.
Ms. Guenette once again proves her prowess as a gifted storyteller with her descriptive setting of the isolated town and its towering castle on the hill, Casa Destino. Long-held resentments and prejudices dominate the action of the novel. The two main antagonists, Sheriff Calder and Mayor Thatcher, dominate the scenes. The man set to inherit Casa Destino after the death of his adopted father, Myhetta, appears to be unfeeling and unemotional through much of the story. But eventually, some redeeming qualities do appear toward the end. But he has been so damaged, as has everyone around him, that it's unclear what fate holds for him. Never have I read a novel filled with so much human depravity. I feel as if I need a very hot shower to wash it all away.
As with the previous review, this novel explores the dangers of bigotry and genetics. It's a lesson in how not to live life. One relationship stands out as one with some virtue, and that's the one between Myhetta and his best friend, Laird. Loyalty above all else withstands all the tests. And the love of a mother for her child shines through in both Myhetta's mother, Ayha, and Laura Thatcher for the son she adopted when she married the mayor.
Myetta and Laura emerge as the main characters, eventually. They change the most during the course of the novel, and for once, it's in positive ways.
Fast-paced and riveting, this novel requires a score card. The characters are many and their intertwined lives require the reader to always pay attention or be lost in the maelstrom.
Sheriff Bert Calder is the consummate study of evil and the detrimental effects of an out of control ego and an overabundance of power. His character was one of the cruelest and most demented I have read in a long while. The wickedness of the man was just mind-boggling. Calder had no scruples. Rules did not bind him to family or to those of his elected office. At times, he came across to me as an omnipotent being which made for an even more exciting read. Calder is simply sinfully wicked.
In fact, all of the characters seemed to possess a multifaceted humanness which blurred the lines between good and evil. The protagonist, Myhetta fights the demons of his blood inheritance right along with the good fortune he inherited from his adopted father. Myhetta’s entire life balances between good and evil as he struggles with his past and his future. It is this deep struggle to find a balance within his own family that made me like Myhetta so much.
Myhetta’s half brother, Casey possesses a supernatural ability to feel and see what his brother experiences. A trait that ran through the Destino family once again emphasizes the strong connection to family and blood that remains as the central theme to this novel. To me, Francis Guenette is a master at depicting “family intrigue.” All the novels she has penned, that I have read, always have strong family connections portrayed by her characters.
It was no great surprise then when I learned that this story was the original creation of her mother, June Guenette. After her mother passed away in 1997, the unfinished manuscript disappeared within the confines of Francis’ family, remaining as only typewritten notes, and passages. Once rediscovered, the manuscript began a maelstrom transformation of its own with Francis reconstructing the story. I think June Guenette would have loved the resulting collaboration between mother and daughter sharing another link in the family chain.
If you are looking for a book that will take your breath away and leave you on the edge of your seat, look no further! Maelstrom will propel you into a vortex filled with hate and prejudices where the only way out is to find trust and love within your own family.
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
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Author: Francis Guenette
Star Rating: 4 Stars...Read more