Cover Image: Sister, Maiden, Monster

Sister, Maiden, Monster

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“Sister, Maiden, Monster” by Lucy A. Snyder is told through the experiences of three distinct women. The novel is structured as a triptych of vignettes, each delving into the life of a woman infected with the fictional PVG virus—polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis. The virus manifests in terrifying ways, transforming its hosts and society along with them.

The first vignette introduces us to Erin, whose post-infection life becomes a harrowing journey of self-discovery and empowerment. As she navigates the new world with her fellow sufferers, Erin’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of a grim fate.

Savannah, a sex worker, is the focus of the second vignette. Her tale is one of survival and adaptation, as she contends with the virus’s grotesque alterations to her body and reality.

The final piece of the narrative puzzle is Mareva, who grapples with a teratoma and the virus’s exacerbation of her condition. Her story is perhaps the most visceral, exploring themes of body autonomy and the societal treatment of the chronically ill.

The writing is unflinching, with descriptions which are a blend of the matter-of-fact and the grotesque. The body horror elements are not gratuitous but serve to underscore the novel’s themes of feminism and loss of autonomy. The novel’s humor is dark and witty, with Snyder’s prose bringing levity to even the most violent and gory scenes. The characters’ queerness is portrayed unabashedly, adding depth to their identities and interactions.

“Sister, Maiden, Monster” is a bold and imaginative work.

Was this review helpful?

A much-needed entry into women being and becoming monsters in their own right; brava! and may there be many more like it.

Was this review helpful?

"Sister Maiden Monster" immerses readers in a chilling world of horror with its gory and visceral narrative. The author skillfully crafts a spine-tingling atmosphere, keeping the suspense and terror at a relentless pace. This gruesome tale of horror enthusiasts will appreciate the vivid descriptions and relentless tension that keep you on the edge of your seat. Not for the faint-hearted, "Sister Maiden Monster" delivers a dark and twisted journey into the macabre that will haunt your thoughts long after the final page.

Was this review helpful?

Lucy Snyder's Sister, Maiden, Monster offers a fresh and engaging look at the post-apocalyptic genre that grabs the reader from start to finish. Loaded with incredibly vivid body horror scenes and memorable characters, this is one of the years best and yet another homerun from Tor Nightfire!

Was this review helpful?

As a lover of body horror, this was right up my alley. I loved the global pandemic angle and the first section really spoke to me, especially Erin's violent but beautiful transformation. I think the plague to eldritch horror transition was interesting, but the bleakness of Mareva's storyline lost me a bit. This is not a book for the faint of heart and is very violent and gory. It will leave you feeling a lot of feelings, but I am still thinking about it and have shared it with other body horror lovers, and that says something.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book! I got pulled right into the story and the headspace of each of the characters as it went along and I really loved how restless and unhinged parts of it were precisely because there's no way that such changes and traumatic events wouldn't leave the characters struggling to be reliable narrators of their stories. Feminine angst, bloodlust, and body horror all play happily with the demons of cosmic horror that inhabit this particular apocalypse up to and including motherhood, identity, and the throws of all consuming love. Is the world doomed to it's destruction because of man's selfish consumption, because of the improbable whims of evolution and chance, or would it always be like this because of the plans of unknowable gods beyond our knowledge? Nothing is truly certain here, and honestly? That makes perfect sense.

I highly recommend going into this one with as few expectations as possible. You're going to have a lot more fun if you just let it do its own thing and enjoy things as they occur instead of trying to clamp her down under any absolute category or plot element- this is horror, but with a much broader lens than I think a lot of folks expect. Think of something like The Southern Reach trilogy which is speculative in that it's more concerned with its story and world than classification and you'll have some sense of what I mean.

Was this review helpful?

A delightful creature-born apocalypse tale told from the perspectives of three different women. Brimming with body horror and pandemic panic, it's not an apocalypse tale that ends when the book closes.

Was this review helpful?

I did want to like this book but it took too long to get into the plot. I did not finish this book but do not put it against the author. There are times when I think a book will be perfect for me, but it turns out not to be the case. That said, I always give authors another chance, so I'll look forward to her next work.

Was this review helpful?

This story was great! The woman power and just the visceral descriptions gave me chills. I loved it!!!

Was this review helpful?

Sister, Maiden, Monster is an eery book examining the transmission of disease, the role of women, and how it all intersects. It's a creepy but fascinating book that is perfect for fans of body horror. The varying viewpoints enhances the series potential

Was this review helpful?

I really like the concept of this virus and it's promising monstrous transformation potential. However, the writing style is unfortunately not for me. I am not a fan of the scientific or medical aspects of a viral apocalypse, I was just interested in the bisexual energy and the brain eating lol. Another personal preference: I really disliked how closely this virus was being compared to coronavirus, and honestly just don't like hearing about that in a book, especially so frequently. I know lots of people will still love this though! My only other critique is that I feel the transitions and relationships could have used a lot more development, there was a bit of a rushed feeling for pretty important things. For example, the rate at which Erin and Betty got together and had a relationship was crazy fast, and not in a fever dream kind of way. Again, this is all just personal preference and I definitely know this book has five star energy for other people!!

Was this review helpful?

This had so much going on, and while I liked bits of it, there were other parts and characters that kept me from being fully invested throughout. The gory/gross descriptions and blood were excellent, but I found some of the characters really difficult to like or relate to.

Was this review helpful?

I literally do not know how to review this book. It is, by far, the weirdest, wildest, most gruesome and messed up thing I have ever read. Was it well-written? Yes, absolutely, without a doubt. The story itself is imaginative and dark and apocalyptic. That is usually my vibe, but this went a lot farther off the deep-end than I was expecting. I applaud the author for that, but I also can't say I enjoyed reading it? There were moments that were quite disturbing, and I did put it down a few times to read other things. The way the three stories come full circle and connect in the end was immensely satisfying. I liked what this book was saying, but I would be very careful in who I recommended it to. Lots of trigger warnings for lots of different things.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, the descriptions in this book are well written and there is plenty of gore. But I feel like the book is missing something and is a bit confusing.

Was this review helpful?

This was a wild ride. I am still not entirely sure what I read, but I loved it.

To review it without talking about the plot/characters sounds bizarre, but go in blind like I did. You won't regret it. It IS a pandemic themed horror story, so be aware of that if that is a trigger for you or something you would just rather avoid. This is very cosmic horror and HP Lovecraft reminiscent.

The body horror aspects had me putting my kindle down multiple times, and the story overall had me running to my favorite romance comfort reads after.

Thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC copy!

Was this review helpful?

Whoa. What did I just read?! This was a wild, visceral, weird and unique ride. Quite unlike any story I have ever read before! A genre mash-up that will leave you feeling a bit queasy and confused. But I think that’s the point.

Short chapters got me through the book quickly, but I wasn’t quite sure what was happening at all times. We got three different perspectives and Erin’s was my favorite. The body horror was A+. Insane descriptions that I couldn’t look away from. Overall, a pretty middle of the road story, but one I won’t forget because of how it made me feel.

Was this review helpful?

I've never read anything more weird in my life, Somehow I enjoyed it so much, even if some parts made me uncomfortable. I also enjoyed the ways the layers of the story unfolded. This is a must read for all horror fans. It doesn't get weirder than this,

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me access to this title.

Was this review helpful?

I read this book in just under three days last week and could not put it down! This book is really messed up, gory, and a lot of fun. A pandemic beyond what we could imagine ravages the world and summons the old gods. Most will die, and some are chosen. The narrative follows three chosen women who will transform in ways they never imagined.

The book is broken up into three sections, three different “chosen” women who are to bring about the new world. It’s a long and terrible journey, but what’s the alternative? They’ve been chosen. If you can stomach the intensity and gore, I definitely recommend this one.

Was this review helpful?

This review is based upon an ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

All right, I'm a horrible reviewer, but I have an excuse.

I've said it before -- sometimes you come across a book that you are enjoying so much that you just don't want it to end. That is exactly the case with Snyder's latest novel Sister, Maiden, Monster. I was loving this book so much that I literally (and I'm using that word both correctly and ironically) stopped reading with a few chapters to go. I just wanted to stay in her world for as long as possible.

I knew going in that I was probably going to enjoy this book. I absolutely love “Magdala Amygdala,” the short story which inspired it. I just didn't know how much I was going to enjoy it. Take everything that I enjoy in a novel -- well written characters, a great plot, exciting and unpredictable action -- and make a wonderful base. Add to this spices like cosmic horror, body horror, and the end of the world. This is already a heady dish beyond most authors. On top of all of this, Snyder taps in to the lingering fears we all live with in our post-COVID world to create a work that is horrifying in the absolute best sense of the word.

Highest recommendations. Read this NOW.

Was this review helpful?

Sister, Maiden, Monster is a novel set during the
aftermath of the planet's disastrous transformation. This book is told by three women who are surviving in a new hell of what the planet now is. Additionally, in Sister, Maiden, Monster has a virus that spreads throughout the world that transforms people in nightmarish ways. In this book we meet Erin, who used to be quiet and keep to herself, but she ends up acquiring an appetite for a woman and her brain. Then, we have Savannah who is a professional BDSM switch and she ends up finding a new pleasure of murdering her eldritch masters. Lastly, we have Mareva who has chronic tumors and has the horrific knowledge of her divine role in the apocalypse.

I want to thank NetGalley and for for the arc in
exchange for an honest review.

I tried to read my arc physically, but I struggled to get into the first few pages. I decided I would just wait to get the audiobook off of Libby.

As I started the audiobook, I thought, oh I think this will be good and is probably a book that does well as an audiobook.

Boy was I wrong.

The plot felt like it was all over the place and that it did not know what it want to be.

As I continued to listen to the book, I struggled to know who was who and whose point of view was being told. The three women's personalities
were not flushed out well to the point they all felt the same with minor quirks or things they were experiencing.

In my opinion, I feel like the author tried to write things in great, graphic detail to give off shock value, but it ended up coming off as disrespectful and disgusting.

What really made me struggle with this book is that there was way too much ranting and everything was in a very, very negative perspective that ends up making you feel more annoyed instead of caring about what is going on in the book, with the characters, and at the issues the author tried to touch on, which brought no value due to how the characters were written, the disconjointed plot, and making
things in a disrespectful and very graphic way.

Honestly if I physically read this more than the few pages I tried to read in my eARC, it would have been DNFed within less than 50

With listening to more of the audiobook I kept thinking I cannot do it, I should DNF. I stuck with it since I listen to audiobooks on 3 x the speed and only had a little over an hour left in the audiobook.

Was this review helpful?