Cover Image: Sister, Maiden, Monster

Sister, Maiden, Monster

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Member Reviews

I just finished Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A Snyder and here is my review.

How are three women, all so different, connected in the most hellish ways?

During a global apocalypse, a virus has unexpected consequences for a percentage of the world's population.

Erin, after getting sick with the virus, turns into something she doesn’t understand but makes perfect sense.

Savannah didn’t end up like Erin after she contracted the virus but she did get a real taste for blood.

Mareva didn’t get sick but the strange tumors on her body make her the most precious person on the planet and Erin and Savannah are tasked with protecting her at all costs.

I love a good horror book and this one took it to a whole new level. It took me to a place that would make hell look like a playground. At first I was like, not another book with masks and hand sanitizer…. I’m so glad I stayed with it because it really bought the old school horror with a solid fantasy read into the kind of book that will tickle your imagination in the very worst of ways. It gave me nightmares which never happen to me.

The idea that a virus could open us up to what happened to these women was the most deliciously terrifying thing imaginable. I did feel the 3 women had something about them that made you feel sorry for them no matter what they got up to.

The writing was excellent and I was hooked right in. What didn’t I like? The ending was open ended and I hate that unless I know there is definitely going to be a book 2…. (Is there going to be a book 2?) I hope there is because I have questions I need answers to.

Love horror with a fantasy undertone, PICK THIS ONE UP NOWWWWWWW!!!!

4.5 stars.

Excellent read. Thank you @netgalley and @torpublishinggroup for my review copy!

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I had no idea what I was getting into with Lucy A. Snyder’s Sister, Maiden, Monster. Sometimes choosing a book based on the insanely cool cover is a great decision.

This short novel is so weird and horrifying. It follows three very different women during a pandemic that’s mutating humans and leaving them craving brains and blood — but this isn’t just a plague story, or a vampire/zombie story. It gets much stranger, and much more interesting.

Erin, Savannah, and Mareva are fascinating protagonists (and antagonists, depending on who you’re reading from) and I loved being in their heads, even when it got very, very dark.

And the body horror is nuts — at least for me, it’s not normally my genre, so I found myself feeling like I was going to pass out a few times. Mareva’s story is my new personal nightmare.

I’m a bit burned out on pandemic horror but I am so glad I read this one. Snyder takes her virus in a completely new direction, mutating it into cosmic and feminist horror with some serious weirdness. She also has very clear social and political things to say, which I loved.

I have the feeling 2023 is going to be a great year for horror, and Sister, Maiden, Monster will wind up on my year-end “Best of” list, along with Tell Me I’m Worthless and The Spite House.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Nightfire for my review copy of this book.

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3.5 but rounding up to 4

Pandemic, Mutation, Apocalypse.
This visceral set of intertwining stories gives a brutal look at just how fragile humanity is. Snyder is not shy about showing how simple it is to take that moral compass and fling it into oblivion for the sake of the “greater good.”
The cast of characters really is what moves this story. They come from a multitude of walks of life and the journeys they take are sometimes unexpected, sometimes horrifying. While I think the last novella feels a little shallow compared to the first two in the book, its at least satisfying in not conveniently tidy.
Sister, Maiden, Monster is certainly not a book for the faint of heart.

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Many thanks to Tor/Forge and Netgalley for the ARC!!! I love ya'll!!

Sister, Maiden, Monster is a bit of a macabre tale mixed with just the right amount of gore and psychological horror to satiate the appetites of even the hungriest of horror aficionados. The story is split into three different parts and told told from the perspectives of three women: Erin, the hard-working IT tech; Savannah, the sex worker; and finally, Mareva, the second IT worker who also struggles with chronic illness. They live in a world that is plagued by a new pandemic, PVG, which is like norovirus from Hell. It attacks the gastrointestinal system and while there are some who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, there are many who succumb to the ravages of the illness. Those that survive it are forever changed...

Anyways, this book was fantastic to me. I'm not a big fan of gore for gore's sake; when a piece of media or prose contains gore, it has to do something for me. I don't want to read about all the gore-y details if they don't really add to the story, but in this case, boy do they! If you are easily triggered by gore, I would recommend staying away, but if you can get past that, this book is a fantastic read. I don't want to spoil some of the major twists in the story, but I will say that it covers a "fandom" that I am quite familiar with and I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the story. I love the way that Synder worked it into the story- wait, saying that they "Worked it into the story" is a bit of a lie. The story REVOLVES around this fandom and it does it well.

Now, there were a couple of times where I felt the pacing went a bit off-kilter or it felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants, but otherwise, I DEVOURED this book. I think it took me less than two days to get through it while grading book reports from my students because it was just that engrossing. If you love horror, if you're a fan of cosmic horror and psychological torments that will leave you squirming at night and cowering under the covers, hoping that things greater than you do not take notice of your existence, then I would highly suggest this book. I will mention that there are some triggering things in this book, especially pandemic deaths, which is something that gets me, but also murder, gore, sex work, body horror, child death (implied), and a few other things which the author has mentioned. But keeping that in mind, I think this one should definitely be on a few TBR piles.

Happy reading and hope that THEY don't take notice of you. ;)

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

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Okay look. This might have been the most messed up book I have ever read, and that is saying something, because I read some really messed up stuff. But wow, kudos Ms. Snyder, because my jaw was on the floor for oh, a good 60 percent of this book. And I was completely riveted for 100% of it, make no mistake. I don't even want to say too much about it because I do feel I'd be doing you, the reader, a disservice. You need to just experience it for yourself, frankly.

The book does an incredible job of making wonderful and extremely relevant societal commentary throughout the story. Sure, it's a very different set of circumstances, but some things don't change, specifically how human beings treat each other. I loved that the commentary is woven through the story so seamlessly. I also really loved the three different perspectives we get as the story goes on. Yes, they do end up crossing paths at the very least, which I loved, so don't worry that you'll never see a character again after you leave her perspective. The characters were from very different backgrounds, and each had so much to offer the story in terms of their own experiences and points of view.

The end for me got a little hard to follow, as there was a lot going on, but I still absolutely devoured this story. There were some great witty and humorous moments that give the reader a reprieve from the darkness and depravity, which I also love. If you can handle some truly messed up elements, and want a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, this is certainly that book.

Bottom Line: The plot was exciting, the story compelling and downright bananas, and I loved every minute.

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SISTER, MAIDEN, MONSTER by @lucyasnyder is an absolute trip! Like maybe one on mescaline or LSD or something. I don't know but I have never felt such an elated high of visceral horror as I did while reading this fairly short cosmic, apocalyptic tale that is absolutely jam-packed with action!

People are changing. A virus ravages the globe transforming humans into monstrous things. We follow three women as they try to navigate this new collapsed civilization and their new transformations. They are pulled together for a dark purpose.

This book is both sexy and disturbing, hopeful and full of despair, brilliant and chaotic. I have never read anything quite like it and certainly hope for more from this author in the future.

If you can stomach body horror this is a doozy. The bodily transformations are brutal and beautiful. Watching the three protagonists navigate this new world in their own ways allows you to learn a lot about this world in a short period of time.

I would recommend this to those who like cosmic horror, can handle body horror, like a bizarre brand new perspective, and enjoy a roller coaster ride into the deep dark depths of humanity.

Thank you to the author and the publisher @tornightfire for the ARC.

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Sister, Maiden, Monster was everything I thought I needed in my life but it was very meh and actually let me down in a few spots. This story was very hard to catch on to and I wasn't very pleased with the mention of one of Dahmer's victims, especially the way it was needed. It was in poor taste. I very much loved other things about the book however - the gore and body horror itself were great but the other things were very distracting and negatively impacted by reading experience.

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The nitty-gritty: An apocalyptic virus, eldritch horrors, brain eaters and more, Sister, Maiden, Monster feels like the literary equivalent of thrash metal, and that's a compliment:-)

If you think the cover of Sister, Maiden, Monster is crazy, then prepare yourself for a wild ride. This was a visceral, bloody, terrifying story about a pandemic that heralds the end of the world—literally. If you love cosmic horror, graphic violence and sex, and just plain weird/gross/shocking content in your stories, then grab a copy and join the fun! Yes, this is yet another pandemic story, but Lucy A. Snyder takes that trope and twists it into something unexpected. This is a pandemic on steroids, and trust me, you do not want to catch PVG…

The story is broken down into three sections and each follows a different main character. Erin has just been proposed to by her boyfriend Gregory, when she discovers she’s caught the highly contagious virus PVG, or polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis. She finds herself in the hospital, where she’s told she’s a Type Three, because she suddenly has a taste for human brains. Erin eventually gets to resume her former life—sort of—although it’s no longer safe for her to be around Gregory. Instead, she meets a woman named Betty and starts an affair with her. But Betty isn’t completely normal, and the more time Erin spends with her, she comes to realize that her body is changing in some very strange ways.

Savannah is a prostitute who becomes exposed to the virus, after which she’s convinced she must kill in order to absorb the knowledge of others. Her god demands it of her, in fact. Leaving a bloody trail of bodies behind her, Savannah is searching for someone important, someone the gods want to find and use.

Finally, when Mareva discovers a huge lump in her breast, she isn’t too surprised. She’s had strange benign tumors her entire life. But this one is different. This one sets Mareva on a future path she wants nothing to do with. Too bad the gods have a plan for her, with no way out.

All three women are connected in interesting ways, and each section gets progressively weird and violent. I would say I’m pretty well versed in body horror, as I’ve read a fair amount of it, but even I had trouble with some of the scenes in this book, they were so over the top.

I did love Snyder’s idea of a virus that transforms people in various ways, and not in good ways, mind you. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t run across this idea before. After the horrors of Covid during the last three years, it’s almost nice to see that things could be so much worse!

In the midst of all the sex and gore, the author manages to make some points about important issues, like the sorry state of women’s healthcare (at least in the U.S.), and some of our basic human rights, like the rights of infected people to receive care and protection. This story might be fantasy, but at its core there are some very sobering truths.

I really enjoyed the three main characters, all of them thrown into horrifying situations that they don’t have control over. Out of the three, Savannah scared me the most, but she’s such a bad-ass woman, I couldn’t help but admire her in some ways, despite all the slaughter and eating of brains, lol.

The ending was great! Yes, the world goes to shit, but on a slightly happier note, Mareva gets a reprieve of sorts, and I was glad to see at least one character get a (somewhat) happy ending. This was a bunch of good, bloody fun, and I look forward to seeing what Lucy A. Snyder does next.

Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

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First off, I had no idea what I was really in for other than the cover was interesting and that brief description sounded great.
But boy was this better than expected.
I have to fully agree with some of the others I know whom have also read this and say that the beginning threw me off just a little bit. The overuse of what felt like modern day slang and pop culture references kinda took me out of it, but by the end of the first part it had me hooked. This turned into so much more than I thought it would be.
I don’t really have words for it. I loved it though! Will definitely be keeping an eye out for anything else by Lucy A. Snyder.
Thank you so much Netgalley and Lucy for the chance to read this for free in exchange for an honest review

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Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🦑
Format: ebook courtesy of Tor Nightfire through NetGalley

This book was unlike anything I have ever read before, and probably unlike anything else I will ever read again. It is uniquely horrifying, it’s a poignant commentary about our government and capitalism, it is a slightly far fetched reimagining of how infectious disease can turn our world on its head…

But more than anything else, this book was grotesque, stomach-churning , and viscerally gruesome. It was shocking to my conscience in every way… and I kinda loved it 🫠

In my opinion, it says a lot about a book when you can be horrified by the subject matter and content but simultaneously be unable to put it down or look away, and that was this book for me! Despite being physically affected (seriously so nauseous, even now) by this story, I had to keep turning that page again and again.

I want to echo a descriptive quote I saw in promotion for Sister, Maiden, Monster: “ A hideously gory, kink-fueled, feminist, cosmic horror apocalypse novel” - Christopher Golden hit the mail on the head.

This book is not for everyone. Honestly, it’s probably not even for most people. But if you appreciate queer MCs, pandemic and apocalyptic sci-fi, AND can stomach body horror, I highly recommend it. Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for an ARC of #sistermaidenmonster in exchange for my honest review. This is a book I won’t soon forget! Sister, Maiden, Monster hit the shelves yesterday, so be sure to grab a copy!

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This book has left me a bit brain-numbed and stuttery, so let me just say:

A viral apocalypse.
A whole new breed of vampires and zombies.
Some really, REALLY weird kinks.
Oh, and...the Old Gods.

Well-written, freakishly disturbing, and wholly original while also harkening back to a few well-known literary horrors, this book sucked me in and hasn't yet let go of me, even after the final page.

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Thank you to Tor and NetGalley for sending me an ARC.

This is probably the best pandemic retrospective I’ve read, although to be transparent I haven’t read very many due to a lack of interest. It was overall an excellent read. A short and fast-paced novel jam packed with viciously grotesque imagery. While reading, the story regularly elicited strong feelings of disgust, to the point of nausea. If you are easily spooked by gore, this is not the book for you. The characters eat brains, or otherwise fantasise about doing so, characters either transform into monstrous cosmic beings or are murdered etc. I am really digging how Snyder uses horror concepts as metaphors for change. It’s one of the most effective ways to elucidate how terrifying such an everyday concept can be, especially considering it is inevitable. I felt this was most effectively utilised with Erin’s story. I greatly enjoyed how Erin developed as a creature and I’m glad her metamorphosis continued beyond her chapters and into Mareva’s story. I also loved how Erin and Betty’s intense devotion to each other manifested in their final forms.

Snyder delights in the absolute absurdity of her premise, and the text as a whole has a humorous tone, despite its subject matter. While each character’s attitude to their situation is significantly different (for example the abject disgust Mareva feels for her celestial “purpose”) Snyder’s choice to delve into the ridiculousness of this particular apocalypse’s characteristics ties the story together, providing an overarching tonal consistency. The only time this felt off was when Savannah was admonishing herself for murdering the nurse. My thoughts on how Snyder handled the racial discourse between the two are not fully formed but it struck me instantly as a “white author” moment. It is unfortunate and I believe in bad taste that the only significant black female character is killed off by our white protagonist and then her ghost is used as a mouthpiece, calling attention to the racist undertones of her own murder. It’s true that the text doesn’t shy away from characterising Savannah as a villain, which is appreciated. Still, it’s a shame that there were not more fleshed-out characters of colour who weren’t used merely to reveal the flaws of the white protagonists.

I will be recommending this to customers, but will definitely be putting heavy emphasis on the sheer quantity of gut-churning passages. The cosmic horror element of the book didn’t really work for me. It’s not a problem unique to this book, more something endemic to contemporary cosmic horror as a whole. It was largely just mentions of otherworldly beings and Snyder “telling” the reader how terrifying they were to behold rather than describing in detail what that would mean. But for fans of body horror I can guarantee this book will be a huge hit – Snyder really hits it out of the park. I am looking forward to reading her short story that inspired the novel, “Magdala Amygdala.” I know it explores Erin and Betty’s relationship in more detail and that’s something I felt lacked in the novel, specifically in terms of its development.

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Sister maiden monster review

This is one of those books you are either going to love or hate, I think. Ironically, I’m giving it 3 stars because while I can see what the author was working towards and absolutely respect it, the fire was A LOT for me, and a lot of it felt indulgent and unnecessary. So many of the aspects of these book were really well planned and it was a great concept. But at the end, I felt like.. “what the f*%@ just happened to me?” and I wanted at least a tiny semblance of closure that I was not granted. If you love sci-fi style horror, gore and body horror, multiple POVs, and apocalyptic stories.. you will probably love this. If you have a weak stomach, save yourself!!

Thank you to NetGalley, Lucy Snyder, and Tor Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Sister, Maiden, Monster is a deep dive into cosmic horror within the context of one of these most fascinating viruses I’ve ever read about. I was hooked from the very beginning of this story starting with meeting Erin and watching as her life changed due to this new pandemic sweeping the country. What continued to keep my attention was learning about the various ways in which people reacted to the virus and what those long-term effects meant for the world. Spoiler alert: It’s freaking wild!

This book is incredibly imaginative, creative, and wholly unique to anything else I’ve read in recent years. There’s a lot of gore and intense moments, so I highly recommend checking out the content warnings on Storygraph. If you’re up for the content, then this one is definitely worth checking out!

🎧: I started this book reading my physical copy, but switched over to the audio from NetGalley. This is one of those books that I think works great in both formats, but I’m going to push people to check out the audio more. There are three narrators and they do an incredible job bringing everything to life!

A huge thank you to Tor Nightfire for my gifted copy!

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Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy Snyder is a fun and eerie read that touches on the very real horrors of our current medical system. While the writing is simplistic and the commentary is at times a bit heavy-handed, the pacing and sheer weird-factor kept me engaged. I would recommend this to readers who feel like probing the post-pandemic literary scene, have a high tolerance for body horror, and like their books kinda odd.

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re women monsters? How do they evolve in a monstrous world that won’t let them be anything but? These are the questions posed by Lucy A. Snyder in her novel Sister, Maiden, Monster, a post-COVID story that combines pandemic and cosmic horror through a feminist lens. The story unfolds in three sections, through the eyes of three very different women and how they change in a brand new world.

When the apocalypse comes, a mysterious virus turns people into monsters. Erin is a closeted woman who becomes sick with the new disease and changes irrevocably with a taste for women and their brains. Mareva becomes prone to tumors that are more sinister than they appear at first. Savannah is a professional BDSM switch who needs to commit murder for sexual satisfaction.

The effects of the virus on the world are extreme. Monsters, bizarre and amorphous, populate the world as seen through the eyes of our main characters. The story slowly unfolds as Snyder links their personal Odysseus to a changing, ever more bizarre and dangerous world.

Each woman in this book struggles to find her place and adjust to the changes within them. Unfortunately, change is not always easy and may often be deadly. The most difficult sections are when the book becomes a bit lost in its own world-building, but the strong characterization more than makes up for it.

Unfortunately, Sister, Maiden, Monster ends somewhat abruptly, in the midst of a rather climactic moment that leaves the reader wanting more. Hopefully, more will be awaiting us in a world where the line between women and monsters is so beautifully blurred.

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Weird, visceral horror! An Earth-changing event makes life on our planet so changed that besides widespread annihilation, the human species is changing into horrific monsters. I will be watching for more from Lucy A Snyder. Excellent horror novel!

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Dark and creepy, a mixture of Lovecraftian and Biblical horror guaranteed to have you saying "what the fuck" while eagerly turning the page. Inspired partially by the Covid pandemic, Sister, Maiden, Monster begins with Erin, a closeted bi woman, succumbing to a terrible illness that leaves her craving brains while being exposed to the casual monstrosity and misogyny of the American healthcare system. The horror elements ratchet up rapidly, with abundant gore and nightmares. This is not a story for the faint of stomach. As eldritch horrors rise, Erin's path intersects with those of other women living lives of quiet horror and desperation, until all is silent except the monstrous body horror of pregnancy. Lurid and rich while disturbing on an epic level, Sister, Maiden, Monster is a good fit for fans of Cassandra Khaw or Steven Graham Jones.

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Final rating: 4.5

This is one of the most messed up books I’ve read in a long time, and I loved every minute of it! This takes place after the COVID pandemic, and the world is now facing an apocalyptic plague that gives people a craving for blood or brains. It starts off as a fairly tame horror, but as things progress it quickly gets more and more twisted. It’s safe to say I will never look at cephalopods the same way again, that’s for sure! The ending will leave you staring at the final page in disbelief. There also a lot of timely commentary about American society and how messed up everything has gotten. If you’re a fan of body horror, this is 100% the book for you!
“And even though I’m chronically ill, and chronically a danger to my community and myself, the world still expects people like me to make it to work on time…be a productive member of the economy or die; it’s the American way.”

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Oh, my sweet eldritch masters, this was so good!

Just as the world has recovered from COVID-19 a new virus explodes across the world, a stomach flu with extreme symptoms… for those fortunate enough to survive it.

This apocalyptic horror story is centered around three women who have very different experiences after they are infected with PVG, polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis. As their stories converge and interconnect more details about the virus are uncovered. A sinister mastermind lurks in the shadows until the very last minute, but if you are paying attention it won’t come as a great surprise.

I am conflicted about the ending. It is very abrupt and I am unsure if this is the start of a series or just a wild open ending.

Recommended for: horror readers or science fiction readers that can handle body horror

Content warning: gore; murder; violence; body horror

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