Monday, 27 June 2016

Carter and the Curious Maze KIRKUS REVIEW

"The lame haunted house at the fair leaves Carter seriously bored until Mr. Green, a scary old man with giant gardening shears, invites him into the Curious Maze; finding a way out—if he can—will prove fantastic, terrifying, and anything but dull...
This original take on time-travel historical fantasy is a sure bet for young scary-story enthusiasts. (historical note) (Fantasy. 9-12)"--KirkusReviews, June 2016

THANK YOU, KIRKUS! What a great review for my forthcoming title, Carter and the Curious Maze (Dundurn Press, Aug. 2016).

Here is the complete Kirkus Review.

Carter IS bored at the fair, until he enters the curious maze, and visits three time zones on the fairgrounds: 1903, 1813 and 1750. He wanders through a freak show, then a decisive battle in the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States, and finally he discovers the first European settlement in Toronto, a fur trading post, at tiny French Fort Rouille. The French traded with local First Nations hunters from Teiaiagon near what is now Baby Point/Old Mill in Toronto.

I did a lot of research for the history in this book, which I'll talk about another time, but I also read (and re-read) a lot to capture the time-travel aspect of the story. Specifically, I read The House on the Strand (Daphne DuMaurier), Outlander (book 1, Diana Gabaldon and may I just say, my my) and Evan Munday's Loyalist to a Fault from the Dead Kid Detective Agency series (where all 6 detectives are dead kids from the past, some quite distant past). I also read Davidson's The Gargoyle, to see how he switched back and forth in time (and wow, that was a great read). I revisited Alice in Wonderland, The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) and I watched (for the zillionth time) some Star Treks with time-travel aspects. I read other books and immersed myself in some other TV shows with time-travel aspects as well (most notably The Twilight Zone).

I realized that time-travel stories are either a "man-out-of-time" story, and therefore creepy and puzzling (and where the hero feels eternally off balance and needs to find a way home), OR they accept their lot and settle in for the duration. I chose the former for my story, and Carter does struggle to find a way out of the maze, the entire time.

What could be creepier than that?!

CM Magazine has also given the story 4/4 stars, and Highly Recommends it. They call it "engagingly eerie... captivating storytelling" Here is their review:

Here is the book page on Goodreads:

Here is the Kirkus Review of book 2 in the series, Myles and the Monster Outside.

And finally, here is the book trailer featuring Shawna Daigle's wonderful illustrations (with me playing guitar):

Carter and the Curious Maze is available Aug. 6/2016, from Dundurn Press.

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