Cover Image: Sister, Maiden, Monster

Sister, Maiden, Monster

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Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder is a gory body horror fest that centers around the lives of three different women during a mysterious viral outbreak.

Erin: a queer woman exploring her sexuality who begins to crave brains.
Savannah: a dominatrix who’s urged to commit murder on behalf of eldritch gods.
Mareva: a teratoma patient whose tumor-like growths may have a far more sinister cause.

Coming into this book, I really wanted to loved it since it sounded like a cosmic horror spin on a zombie outbreak. However, what I got instead was a kitchen sink. So many ideas were haphazardly thrown in together that the author couldn't develop them all, resulting in a undercooked mess of a novel.

With that said, let’s dive into what didn’t work for me:

- Floating head syndrome. There are three narrators with no chapter headers to differentiate them by, and, asides from Savannah, the other women's voices felt too stylistically similar for me.

- The book's clumsy attempt at racial commentary.

In this book, we have Savannah, who’s infatuated with the idea of killing a black nurse, compares herself to Jeffery Dahmer, and, upon killing her, is then confronted by her ghost. The following conversation between the two feels so unnatural that it reads more like a bad SNL skit and the theme of racism is then forgotten and never addressed again.

Don’t get me wrong. There are horror books like The Ballad of Black Tom and Ring Shout that artfully examine the effects of racism, but Sister, Maiden, Monster is not one of them.

- The uneven pacing.

This book is filled with infodumps galore that could have been more organically integrated into the novel.

Also, the blurb describes that the story follows the “aftermath of our planet’s disastrous transformation,” and yet, the apocalyptic event doesn’t occur until 2/3 ways through the novel and we don’t get to even see the collapse of civilization since the remainder of the book is told from the POV a woman who is being held captive.

And that brings me to the incredibly rushed ending.

First, we have Erin’s final transformation and the climax of her character arc where she sews herself to Betty told through Mareva’s POV, which seems like such a missed opportunity. Erin’s scene would have felt far more emotionally impactful from her own point of view.

On top of that, instead of Mareva using her own wits to find a way to escape her captors and not become a baby machine, Hastur appears as a deus ex machina to give her a magic birth control ring and poofs away.

This just felt like lazy writing to me and a means to quickly tie up plot threads in a way that doesn’t feel earned within the story.

All in all, there were glimmers of moments that I enjoyed (like an oddly tender and intimate scene involving brain jelly), but the overall execution of this story was so poor that I feel that it would have benefitted from a great deal more of developmental editing before publication.

Thank you, NetGalley and Tor Nightfire, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Wowza. What a story. I didn’t quite know I was jumping into cosmic horror, but I am ALWAYS delighted when the old gods show up to party. Sister, Maiden, Monster is a story about the end of the world, told by three women who all have vastly different roles during (and towards) its distraction. There are some really wonderfully written, horribly unnerving scenes, and plenty of stuff that had me pulling faces or laughing with nervous delight.

It’s definitely not perfect; Savannah goes from being an interesting narrator to a manic pixie dream murderer. In the beginning, the parallels drawn between the fictional virus and COVID are a little heavy handed. There’s also a scene involving the murder of a black woman that seems to serve no purpose other than to give the author a chance to reassure you that she GETS it; the scene has no bearing on the character involved and isn’t mentioned again, so comes across as pretty performative. I’d love to chat with a WOC about their thoughts on this, though.

Despite its flaws it’s a fascinating and absolutely brutal take on the end of the world that I think my fellow queer femmes in particular will love.

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All I can say is, wow that escalated quickly!

Sister, Maiden, Monster is primarily a body horror/eldritch/apocalyptic crazy mashup of a story that starts with the start of a new pandemic. We follow 3 women and the parts they play in the upcoming apocalypse.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as this is a shorter novel and it’s best to discover what this is really about on your own. I did appreciate all the different issues Snyder brought up though, dealing with abuse, body/gender dysmorphia, sex work, and abortion rights.

Part of me was so over the “pandemic” narrative. I think we’ve all got a bit of pandemic hangover/fatigue at this point and its hard to read something that not only references our current situation but multiplies it and creates something bigger and badder. But of course, it is scary and this is a horror novel!

Cosmic horror is a new thing to me and honestly, I kind of loved it! The ending was a little abrupt but I find myself thinking about it a lot and am appreciating it the more I think about it!

Read this if you like:
- Brains,
- Octopi, and
- Biblically accurate angels

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I recently finished this horror novel, and it was horror in a horrifying way not a scary way, if you know what I mean. There’s a worldwide pandemic, and some of the infected crave blood or brains. It’s an escalating calamity, and the stakes get bigger and more horrifying as the story goes on.

It’s told in three parts from the perspectives of three women trying to survive a nightmare apocalypse, each in their own way. The story definitely didn’t go where I expected.

I think potential readers should be aware that there is some gruesome imagery and body horror, which is not really my thing (hint: the part about craving blood and brains). The third part of the story is compelling and I couldn’t put it down until the end. It ties everything together.

I liked it, but people who read a lot of this type of horror would probably like it more than I did. It comes out February 21. Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for my copy.

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First things first, thank you so much to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for an ARC of this incredibly enthralling read!

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Despite the description, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be getting into and there was not a single point in reading this book that I truly knew what was going to happen next, which made for a great read! However, I did have some qualms especially upon first starting the book, though I ultimately did end up really enjoying the read overall.

The start of the book had me rather hesitant. The dialogue felt rather stilted and unnatural, and I wasn’t sure about just how many Covid-19 references there were, especially for how often they were repeated. There’s definitely something to be said for writing pandemic novels post-pandemic and using our current sociological state as background context for pandemic horror fiction, but the references to Covid here were very repetitive and in-your-face until the action really picked up.

I also appreciated the book’s takes on things like corruption in the modern medical industry, the dangers and death tolls of capitalism, the dystopian nature of modern American society, (“Be a productive member of the economy or die; it’s the American way”), the government’s ineptitude and vast mishandling of pandemics in general, the medical and sociological discrimination against woman, even a slight nod towards racism and its perpetuation in subtle ways by white women, but it did feel like this novel wasn’t sure what statements it wanted to make and attempted to make all of them at once.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the mind that a gory horror pandemic novel is, funnily enough, a perfect setting to make some very relevant statements about modern American society, but it felt like this work wanted to make every single statement that it possibly could, and again, made the beginning read stilted and slow until the action picked up.

All of that being said, once you get past the first 50 or so pages, the fun really begins and all of those complaints are no longer relevant, because they really didn’t carry on beyond the initial introduction of the book, and despite those complaints, the exposition was still incredibly fast-paced and enthralling, and I definitely did read this one in, if not a single sitting (only because I had to set the book down to do my job, unfortunately), in the span of about 8 hours. The vibe changes rapidly from “pandemic novel” to “cosmic body horror” and dabbles a bit in science fiction/fantasy with strange and unearthly religious themes, and I was all about it.

This is also potentially one of the goriest books I’ve read lately, and I do tend to read a lot of cosmic/body horror, so beware of that! However, I really enjoyed these elements as they played out with the plot, and overall, just generally appreciated how striking and visceral the storytelling here was and how skillfully the author utilized uncanny genre elements to create a story I’m unlikely to forget any time soon. The author’s absolute talent in conveying desire, hunger, and lust in a horror setting, especially with queer characters in a way that isn’t often showcased with specifically lesbian or bi women, was amazing and perhaps one of my favorite elements.

Overall, though I wasn’t entirely sold on the beginning, I gleefully “what the fuck” -ed my way through this incredibly terrifying and warped read with no idea what I might read next, which was half the enjoyment, and no idea what I was experiencing, which was the other half. The conclusion won’t leave you guessing for answers the way something like Annihilation might, but it doesn’t exactly tie everything up in a neat bow, either, and I appreciated the middle ground here. Much of this book not only relies on the reader’s ability suspend their disbelief, but nearly demands it with a driving narrative force.

If you’re looking for a twisted horror science-fiction/fantasy read with intense cosmic/body horror, queer characters, warped religious overtones, and a few monster elements thrown in for fun, you’ve come to the right place. I’m so glad I had a chance to read this as an ARC, so that I can recommend it to customers when they request something “deeply traumatizing in the best way,” which I think is the highest compliment I can pay this work!

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Sister Maiden Monster by Lucy A Snyder is such a creative take on body horror. Told from the viewpoint of 3 different characters, it mixes vampire and zombie mythology into our own modern day pandemic. I'm so impressed by the thought put into this book. Lucy A Snyder takes our own psychological medical terrors. For horror fans, outbreak and dystopian readers or those who love character driven storylines it's a must-buy. Utterly fantastic book.

Thank you @tordotcompub @tornightfire for yet another hit horror. Phenomenal work.

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This was such a weird and interesting story. I definitely think I like the story, but I had to sit with it a few days before I wrote my review.

It follows three women who are focused in the three parts of the book. Each section is wildly different in tone and feel. They do all connect and intertwine in a magical way.

The story is violent and suspenseful and I never knew what would happen on the next page.

I'd suggest this book for those who enjoy horror and speculative fiction. It is definitely taking a new wave with talking about pandemics and evolution.

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This was a crazy ride that I'm honestly really torn about... on one hand the body horror really lives up to its expectations and yet I'm not so sure if I was ready to delve into a very similar situation that we have only come out of ... eg, covid and data privacy breaches which this plot seems to have relied on/taken its inspiration from. However I can honestly say that from a horror perspective this totally lives up to the hype. My advice ... pick this one up and decide for yourself. Also that cover art is FANTASTIC.

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A graphic novel of comic horror in three parts, three women transformed by an apocalypse. Lovecraftian horror isn't usually my thing, but I found this tale very readable. Once it dislocates your brain a little.

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OH MY GOD. This was unhinged, insane, graphic, gross, and captivating. I ate up every single word. I didn’t want it to end. We begin with the world entering yet another pandemic (I know 🤮) but this gets wild. Infected people react to the virus in different ways and this begins the end of humanity. We follow three different women who are distantly connected as the pandemic runs wild. You have to read this if you're into horror.

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Thank you, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!!!

This is a sweet, gruesome, disgusting, caring, horrific and brilliant book! And, that's as much as a warning as a recommendation. This book may make your bile rise, but it will also become a welcomed obsession when your flying on the wings of a reader high! (Don't ask, idk)

The characters in each section are all somehow connected which was a satisfying plus. This takes place years after covid with the beginning of a new pandemic. However, some lucky patients seem to turn into Vampire and zombie-esque types of new people, maybe even a new species.

This story and the author's powerful, no spare on the gore style had me from the beginning to the end. It's not a long book and it's a very quick read.

Out February 21, 2023!

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Well this was certainly a way to start off the new year! Sister, Maiden,Monster by Lucy A. Snyder is not my normal kind of read but I am so glad that I gave it a chance. A dark, gory, and twisted glimpse into what happens when an even worse pandemic hits our world is not what one would usually think of for the holidays but I found it to be the perfect escape from the rush of this time of year.

The writing is wonderfully evocative and with some of the most truly grotesque sequences I’ve ever read. But what made this all work were the characters. Erin is by turns heartbreaking and terrifying. Savannah is delightfully unhinged. And Mareva proves that strength resides in all of us. All three of the protagonists had me laughing, crying, cheering, and cowering in fear by turns. An absolute roller coaster ride of a story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for providing the ARC.

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Many thanks to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for the ARC, this is my honest review.

I'll not compare it because I've never read anything like it. This was grotesque, a freakshow of mind-boggling depravity so thoroughly creative that I couldn't put it down. At first I thought it was going to be more of a domestic horror type situation with a little sci-fi on the side but once the transformation started taking place I buckled in, and thank goodness I've got a strong stomach or much of this would have done me in.
I thoroughly enjoyed the three main women's perspectives, how their stories overlapped and crossed paths, the destiny of it all before they even knew what was happening. But the body horror was truly unique such that even in my wildest Hellraiser-esque dreams I couldn't have predicted those horrific things. This is nothing but nightmare fuel in the plainest sense of the term that played vividly in my brain like a movie as I read, and I think it will likely haunt me for some time to come.

Too many trigger warnings to list - so please honor your intuition if you think you're ready, you're not even close.

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This was fine, the short story that inspired it is much better and should have stayed in its briefer form. The expansion probably works better if you're really into cosmic horror which always feels lazy to me. The way it reimagines the vampire and zombie is really, really well done though.

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As soon as I saw the cover and heard the premise of Sister, Maiden, Monster, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. Queer eldritch horror is one of my new favourite things lately and this novel definitely hits that mark—and then some. If I reviewed this book based on how fast I devoured it (pun fully intended) and how much it gripped me, it would be an easy five stars. But as it sat with me, there are some elements I felt could have been handled better and thus impacted my rating.

Sister, Maiden, Monster follows the journey of three different women—Erin, Savannah, and Mareva—as a new and deadly virus ravages the globe. To say much more than that would get into spoiler territory and I do think this is a novel best experienced as it unfolds.

To start with what I loved… Holy crap, was this a cosmic horror, splatterpunk, body horror but make it really terrifying experience. It’s one of the most disturbing (positive) horror books I’ve read so far and I loved it for that. It was electrifying paced, so once I picked it up, I didn’t put it back down all day until I had finished it. Structurally, the novel flowed incredibly well too.

The unbridled, raw, and powerful queer lust and hunger in this novel was definitely a selling point as well. It’s been a rarity in my experience to see women featuring in horror, particularly queer horror. Erin, Savannah, and Mareva all feel distinct even as their paths intertwine in horrifying, blood-and-brain-drenched threads.

What gives me pause in this novel has a lot to do with some of the clumsiness around representation. I’m a firm believer that horror can be thrilling and awful without necessarily needing to lean on the real-life awfulness many queer and trans folks face, particularly with a premise like this novel’s that relies heavily on elements of otherworldly cosmic horror to move its plot forward.

Foremost and most glaring in my readership was the treatment of the novel’s single confirmed trans/gender diverse (their identity is not labeled) character. The revelation of this character’s gender diversity is revealed as a twist for shock value which treads dangerously close to problematic concepts of trans panic; in addition, this character also suffers abuse that is implied to be because of their gender expression. They then die violently shortly thereafter. Were there other trans and/or nonbinary characters present within the novel, maybe this wouldn’t have stuck out on my radar so much, but to have exactly one and for them to be handled in this way left a bad taste in my mouth.

There were other matters of sensitivity I think could have been handled better, horror novel or no. Despite a few fleeting references to the existence of nonbinary folks in this near-future world, the prose uses binary pairs of ‘him or her’ to refer to people when the singular ‘they’ is right there. There’s another moment where one character asks another if they’re “an” ace. Adding articles before marginalized identities seems a pretty standard practice thing to avoid, but alas; maybe it will be changed in the final copy. Finally, there’s a shockingly explicit reference to one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s real-life minor victims that I felt was both unnecessary in the context of the story/novel and in poor taste.

Overall, there’s no denying that Sister, Maiden, Monster was a gripping, disgusting, captivating scream of a splatterpunk novel. I would still recommend interested readers who are ready for some truly bizarre and horrifying stuff and who enjoy eldritch cosmic horror give this one a chance, with the caveat that some matters of sensitivity could have been handled better in my opinion regardless of all the blood, sex, guts, and plagues.

Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for an advance review copy. All opinions are my own.

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Let me start by saying , what in the actual FUDGE. I seriously don’t even know where to begin with this one. There is so much to unpack here.

Erin, who contracts a disease, heals, but is never the same. Mareva, prone to tumors that are so much more than that. And Savannah, a profession BDSM switch, who needs to murder men or women to come. Sister, Maiden, Monster follows these three women, their roll in the apocalypse and what ties all three of them together.

This book was visceral, to say the least. It includes but is not limited to, A pre apocalyptic virus that makes Covid seem like a minor inconvenience. Cephalopods, flying monsters, aliens, body gore, brain eating and blood sucking. All the makings of a terrific horror story. If you are a fan of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi this one is sure to tickle your fancy and taint your mind. I am shocked, confused, empty and agitated and that is not to say I didn’t enjoy this book. Those feelings are absolutely fitting.

In fact I really enjoyed this book. I devoured it. I was confused a bit during part 1 but the story was there and the intrigue was at a 10. Part 2 brought some clarity and even more interest. Then, part 3 left me with more questions than answers then ended on the cliffhanger from hell. I was in the middle of the climax and then (turns page) acknowledgements. Like, what???? I was on my kindle so I had no idea I was anywhere near the end. All of the sudden it was just over….

Now, I’m writing a review and simultaneously back tracking. Wondering if there is something I missed. And franticly googling for any sign of a sequel. It can’t end like that. It just can’t.

So with that, I will also end by saying, WHAT IN THE ACTUAL Fudge??

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Wow! Going into this book, I thought I was getting into something much different. But, in many ways, the surprises along the way were more fun than the blurb had me assume.

Sister, Maiden, Monster is a novel rife with bodily horror, existential terror, and tons of gore. It follows three women in the midst of a new pandemic which originates from a virus more infectious and deadly than COVID. What follows is zombie-like behavior, with blood drinking and brain eating galore. But it gets far weirder than that. Imagine if a zombie apocalypse had a baby with an Eldritch horror and you'd be pretty close to this novel's vibe.

I recommend it to anyone looking for an out-of-this-world horror with a heap of Lovecraftian terror and a dash of current political commentary. Tread carefully if you don't do well with blood, dismemberment, or flesh-eating monstrosities.

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This was not what I expected or wanted it to be.
When I got this I went in with expectations (based on the blurb) of an apocalypse with body horror and cosmis eldritch horror. What I got was a long winded tale about an ordinary woman in an ordinary world where a new pandemic spreads, and as she gets infected her rights to data privacy are taken away. Which, to be fair, is fairly apocalyptic, bot not really what I imagine when I hear that word.

It starts out pretty long winded, with things progressing slowly, and told in a retrospective fashion that I am personally not a fan of. Things do begin to ramp up, but slowly, and I am not sure why but despite the subject matter being quite horrifying due to the changes an infection does to the body, it still felt... ordinary.
Then all of a sudden and out of nowhere there's massive skips ahead and a very intense escalation that feel like a fever dream to both reader and protagonist.

Then the POV changes and a new character is introduced. From here on out, things progress a lot faster, though there is still a lot of retrospection and ordinary-ness.
Only when the POV switches again do things become truly apocalyptic, and even then it's all held very local and we hear nothing about a global scale or pretty much anything about the world outside the house where the main character is kept. And it wasn't even done in an intention mystery "what really happened with the world?!" kind of way.

The cosmic horror part also left much to be desired. There were some incoherent dreams that tied back to the passages of Stoker's Magdala Amygdala, but to be honest the meaning was lost of me (and to be fair, I'm really bad with poems and deeper meaning.) As each protagonist gets infected and changes, there is mentions of old gods, and in the third act quite some grand scheme things happen, but ultimately is was pretty in the background, with the three women's personal fates being the center.

And those fates features a lot of body horror, so I guess the book lived up to that expectation. Overall it felt much more like it had an almost fetishistic focus on grotesque changes to women's bodies, with themes of violations of privacy and loss of bodily autonomy. Which, eh.

What I did like was how interconnected the three arcs and the three protagonists were on a personal level. Despite them all having very little in common personally, there were so many small and seemingly random connections which I really enjoyed. It all tied together so nicely and in ways that seem inconsequential but were still present.

Lastly, the ending felt weird to me too. Whole new concepts were introduced while other seemingly important plot threats that came up again and again were abandoned. Nothing was explained. I am not sure if part of this was that the author seems to have written in this universe before (there seems to be a short story connected to this novel?) but I would have appreciated at least some closure. I am aware this is a horror novel so I didn't expect a happy ending, but the ending was very unsatisfying and, to me, a let down.

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Humanity, and the world itself, is fundamentally and irrevocably altered following the emergence of a new stomach virus, polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis (PVG), which initially presents itself as "the stomach flu on nightmare mode." Those who survive, initially at least, fall into one of three Types - the asymptomatic Type Ones, and Types Two and Three whose bodies and digestive systems have been so wracked and torn apart by disease they require daily supplements to manage the symptoms of their now-chronic illnesses, in the form of either fresh human blood if they're a Two or raw brains if they're a Three.

Told in three parts, Lucy A. Snyder's Sister, Maiden, Monster charts of the course of mankind's transformation through the eyes of three women. The first, Erin, is a recently engaged desktop support specialist who finds her body all but decimated by PVG. Savannah is a sex worker turned serial killer cannibal for the elder gods. Mareva's body, meanwhile, is prone to producing benign tumors even at the best of times, but in the face of PVG is forced to reconcile with even more horrific possibilities.

Based on her two previously published short stories, "My Knowing Glance" and "Magdala Amygdala," from the anthologies Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors and Dark Faith 2 respectively, Sister, Maiden, Monster allows Snyder to dig deeper into the lives of Savannah, and Erin and Betty, and expand on their stories with more expansive ways than those shorter works allowed. Through the four women making up the backbone of her narrative, Snyder smartly charts the growth of an unchecked pandemic as America sinks deeper into dystopia before sliding toward the shockingly apocalyptic. It's a narrative that is, by turns, beautiful, horrific, transgressive, and more than a little bit horny as we are taken into the changing natures of desires between two women and, later, life in a brothel. It's also an opportunity for Snyder to display some properly fucked-up Cronenberg-like depictions of sex and body horror as PVG grows and human bodies transmorgify and change in desultory ways, blurring the lines between lust and addiction. Around the time Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future release, an article from Collider noted "Blood. Guts. Sex. Horror. Disgusting bodily fluids. If you see all of these in one place, you're likely watching a David Cronenberg film." But if you're reading it in a book, it's gotta be Lucy A. Snyder's Sister, Maiden, Monster!

While the monstrous elements are certainly well done, at times uneasily so, it's the initial societal impacts PVG has on America that really drew me in. The world building and displays of a nation fracturing are top notch and wholly believable, particularly amidst still-fresh memories of COVID-19 lockdowns. At the risk of oversharing, I began reading Sister, Maiden, Monster while sick with diarrhea and stomach cramps while my youngest child is grappling with a COVID-19 infection and vomiting while combatting a high fever. The opening chapters dealing with Erin's infection, which certainly made my own symptoms pale in comparison, were brought to much too-vivid life for my liking and far too often gave the book it's own version of sensurround and smell-o-vision. It's not a route I would recommend to most readers, but it certainly helped make the narrative all the more personal and realized for your's truly. Reading this while ill was a nice mental escape, even if it didn't exactly help me feel any better physically, and I don't think I've been more empathetic with a character on the verge of shitting out their entire digestive system as I was while reading this on the throne with similar worries. Thankfully, I didn't have to eat anybody's brains to feel better!

Of course, it was the societal impacts that really got to me - the government's forcible restrictions of civil liberties, the basic imprisoning of women in their homes, the imbalance in medical treatments for the fairer gender and preferential treatments given to men (women who are lucky enough to survive PVG are advised to get an IUD to stave off troubling pregnancies, but telling men to get vasectomies is unheard of and met with skepticism). America quickly and easily becomes a police state, with people fearful of the 15% chance that Type Threes will turn into unstoppable cannibalistic maniacs at the drop of a hat. It's beautifully, horrifically done, and all-too real a possibility given present-day threats to our democracy. And we don't even need the encouragement of ancient cosmic horrors urging us toward our own extinction!

Sister, Maiden, Monster is so smartly constructed and intellectually stimulating, as engrossing as it is just gross, that I fully expect to see it cropping up on Year's Best Of and award lists following its Feb. '23 release. Such accolades would certainly be well-earned, and I would hate for horror fans to miss this one, because it really is quite likely to be one of the best books, not just of 2023 but of quite some time, I think.

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I am not your usual horror reader, so I don't know if my issues with this book stem from my ignorance of the genre or if they would be there regardless. Sister, Maiden, Monster is the story of three women in the the same viral pandemic but narrating the three separate acts of the story for us. The simple virus becomes body horror becomes an eldritch nightmare becomes a serial killing. And all for what? One of the narrators goes from being a SW to a serial killer and I found her section of the book the most disturbing. Remorseless, she compares herself as one point to Dahmer, wondering what he would do in a certain situation, and in the current climate of his disgusting and egregious glorification (thanks to the netflix docudrama), I found that inclusion in bad taste. There is also a character that could be regarded as transgender who, in addition to being a bad actor in one of the women's lives, appears to be the first character to "change" into one of the eldritch horrors. I found this inclusion uncomfortable and unnecessary.

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