Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Honestly, I'm not sure where I'm supposed to start with Sister, Maiden, Monster. This book blew my mind at every step and was as fascinating as it was revolting in equal measures. Seriously, keep a strong stomach for this one.
Paperback. 272 pages.
About Sister, Maiden, Monster:
"To survive they must evolve.
A virus tears across the globe, transforming its victims in nightmarish ways. As the world collapses, dark forces pull a small group of women together.
Erin, once quiet and closeted, acquires an appetite for a woman and her brain. Why does forbidden fruit taste so good?
Savannah, a professional BDSM switch, discovers a new turn-on: committing brutal murders for her eldritch masters.
Mareva, plagued with chronic tumors, is too horrified to acknowledge her divine role in the coming apocalypse, and as her growths multiply, so too does her desperation.
Inspired by her Bram Stoker Award-winning story “Magdala Amygdala,” Lucy A. Snyder delivers a cosmic tale about the planet’s disastrous transformation ... and what we become after."
Sister, Maiden, Monster follows three women as a new pandemic sweeps the globe. Like with our own recent experiences with Covid, there is large fallout from this pandemic, but unlike with Covid, this virus has a very different set of symptoms and extremely dangerous consequences. This short novel is split into three parts, one each for Erin, Mareva, and Savannah. We start the story with Erin as she becomes infected and undergoes a very intense illness and recovery–a recovery unlike anything I could've predicted or expected–and slowly moves forward with what her life is like post-infection. Mareva and Savannah's sections include far too many spoilers of sorts, so I'll leave you to discover those on your own. As the story progresses, these three women's lives interconnect in some unforeseeable ways that then take some very surprising twists.
I really liked the chance to follow Erin through the many different traumatic events of her life after she is infected and has to slowly adapt to a new life. We get a good glimpse into her personal life, and since she is in a close relationship at the start of the novel I appreciated getting to see how this was handled once her infection really set in. I also liked getting to see how the world adjusted to the new horror that is this new apocalyptic virus and what that meant for everyone else. We see a lot more of this adjustment in Mareva's POV, which was probably my second favorite of the three different viewpoints. It was fascinating to see how different businesses continued to work amidst the dangers, and not at all shocking to see how little the government did for many different people. A book like this could easily get lost in the horrors and shock factor, but Snyder did an excellent job at crafting well-developed characters that are full of their own emotions, motivations, and personalities and that really carried the story.
This book is also not for the faint of heart, and I really mean it when I say it. The body horror is visceral and, for me at least, the images will definitely stick with you. I don't mind some well-written body horror, however, and if you also like it then I think you will really appreciate what Lucy A. Snyder has done with this premise. There's tons of blood and gore and people eating things that people don't typically eat and people getting off on things that most people don't usually find that sexually appealing and, well, a lot more. As disturbing as some things in this book are, I found myself riveted to a degree that I haven't been riveted to a book in ages.
Sister, Maiden, Monster has a lot of cosmic horror elements that I won't say too much about in order to keep the suspense. The ending is absolutely batshit and there's simply no other way to describe it. This is a very bizarre book and I feel like I can't emphasize that enough, and I also can't recommend it enough. It won't be for everyone, that's for sure, but for those that do get into it, you'll have the time of your life. I think the first section featuring Erin is the strongest and was honestly where I was most riveted, from pre-infection to the very end. And as much as I keep talking about how riveted I was, I'm still not entirely sure if this necessarily has the best pacing and plot progression, mainly in the second two sections, but the sheer compulsiveness of the writing and story somehow make this a book I couldn't put down or stop thinking about.
Overall, I've given Sister, Maiden, Monster 4.5 stars. If you're ready for something wild, then absolutely pick this book up upon it's release!
*I received a copy of Sister, Maiden, Monster courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*