It may not be All Hallows’ Eve, but the witches’ blessing is part of the new year tradition in Maple Street. As the scene unfolded in the written word, I thought how fitting it was for this to be my first review in 2020. What did I think of the book? Oh, it was delightful. Whimsical. Magical. Nostalgic, too, like a fairy tale.
I’m a Halloween junkie, so I might be a bit biased, but the world that was conjured in my mind was so lucid that I could practically feel it. Maybe that’s just me, since I do have a vivid imagination, but I can’t not appreciate an author whose style of writing can create life with the right words. This is the perfect book for relaxing on a crisp, autumn day with a hot drink of your choice. While you’re outside, indulging your senses as you read along, perhaps you’ll notice the Great Oak nearby that marks the entranceway to Maple Street.
What exactly is Maple Street, you ask? Well, it’s no ordinary street. It doesn’t stay in one place. It disappears and reappears all over the world. Its residents are the creatures of spooky legends and folklore: witches, werewolves, vampires, mummies, ghosts, and so on. But they aren’t evil. They’re like humans, going about their lives not much differently. Not that they’re boring. Quite the opposite. Each character is distinct and interesting. Kamose, the mummy, for example. He loves adventure and frequently wanders away from home in search of new sights, though he wishes he could experience them with someone else. Relatable dude.
The world-building is some of the most imaginative. There’s a creative spin on every creature. The Beldam’s children, in particular, reminded me of the Addams family in the sense that they’re our opposites. They sleep in graves rather than beds, and the games they play can be gross and dangerous. They also fear human children like how said children fear the bogeyman.
You’re introduced to the characters as their enchanting stories progress and cross paths. There’s a bit of info-dumping, but it actually works in this case and didn’t bore me. The narrator has a voice that keeps you interested and immersed in the Halloween world. I’ll admit the pace can be a bit slow at times, but this wasn’t meant to be an epic tale. It’s about a shunned group of neighbors learning to reach out to each other.
Unfortunately, there were a few not-so-major-but-still-unfortunate flaws. The book could’ve used another proofreader, as there are some grammatical and spelling mistakes (and I spotted a missing period or two). My inner editor was also a little peeved by the overuse of hyphens in place of em dashes. Otherwise, this is a story that I’d gladly lose myself in again, especially on All Hallows’ Eve.
4 and a half full moons out of 5