I received this book from Net-Galley and the publishers on 28th July, just before its publication on August 6th, so I’ve rushed to get this into a timely review for you by bumping another review to September!
Carter and the Curious Maze
The fair is dull, dull, dull, and nothing interesting will ever happen to Carter again …
… that is, until he discovers the curious maze. Nothing has ever happened here in the history of the world, he thinks. But the maze has some strange secrets, and the spot Carter stands upon has seen some very exciting events over the centuries.
Once Carter enters the maze, odd people begin to appear. First he meets Mr. Green, the mysterious, creepy maze-keeper, then a leaf-covered girl, a lost little boy in old-fashioned clothes, a wounded British soldier, and finally an eighteenth-century native boy who seems very authentic, indeed.
When Carter eventually escapes the curious maze, the fair is all wrong. There are too many horses, ladies in bonnets, and what’s a freak show doing there? Carter begins his travels through time, and his dull afternoon is about to get very, very interesting.
This is a short chapter book, with some nice illustrations, and reads easily for someone who likes a bit of mild (age-appropriate) horror and weirdness. The blurb says it all, really; the story really starts when, having found what the maze does when he doesn’t follow the path, he starts engaging with the characters he gets fleeting glimpses of, then finds himself immersed in different worlds – the worlds they belong to. There is plenty of action, plenty of weirdness, and little too much repetition of his dismay and confusion. Early on I found myself enjoying the creepiness, but nothing much developed from it, and later ‘dangerous events’ seemed to lack the early frisson of excitement.
One thing that put me off was the excessive introduction and afterwords (which probably account for half the word count, although I didn’t count it). I would have been put off reading it, I think, when I was the right age. Maybe it belongs in a school edition, but not in a general version.
An enjoyable book that I awarded a generous Goodreads 3.5 stars, but I wouldn’t be enticed into reading the rest of Ms Dowding’s Weird Stories Gone Wrong series.