Sister, Maiden, Monster

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023


“Absolutely recommended for readers of the cosmic and gloriously horrific.” ―Seanan McGuire, New York TImes bestselling author

Sister, Maiden, Monster
is a visceral story set in the aftermath of our planet’s disastrous transformation and told through the eyes of three women trying to survive the nightmare, from Bram Stoker Award-winning author Lucy A. Snyder.

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.

“Absolutely recommended for readers of the cosmic and gloriously horrific.” ―Seanan McGuire, New York TImes bestselling author

Sister, Maiden, Monster
is a visceral story set in the aftermath of our...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250825650
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 149 members

Featured Reviews

Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder is hands down a new favorite of mine!

The story and world building were dark, gritty and flowed nicely; the action was intense and the magic was rich. I was completely riveted to each page from start to finish.
This book is incredibly creative, action packed, and relentlessly paced the whole way through.
The world Lucy has created is an interesting one.
Our three characters Erin, Savannah and Mareva are truly engaging, fun and interesting.
I enjoyed this author's writing style. I thought she did a beautiful job at keeping this story flowing and holding my attention.

A remarkable story set after the planet has a disastrous virus tear across the globe, transforming its victims in nightmarish ways. As the world collapses, dark forces pull a small group of women together.
Told by Erin, Savannah and Mareva who are trying to survive this new hell!

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Tor Nightfire,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my blog, platforms, BookBub, B&N, Kobo and Waterstone closer to pub date.

Was this review helpful?

this was a really well done horror novel, it does what I wanted from the description. It had a great plot and I enjoyed the way it was told by three different women. It was a well thought out story and had a great horror element, it was a interesting concept and I think Lucy A. Snyder has a great writing style. I am excited to read Magdala Amygdala another story by the author and any future books.

"When we were little kids, we were as close as any two people have ever been. Before we learned to speak, we shared our own secret language. We ate together, laughed together, cried together. I think we shared our dreams. But my fear, my sickness, drove us apart and disrupted that precious bond. I have spent most of my adult life regretting pushing her away."

Was this review helpful?

Wow, this was one creature horror book that messed me up. I wasn't expecting that ending... WOW OH WOW. Pick this up NOW.

Was this review helpful?

I just absolutely adored this. Best read without looking up too much about it! Three women in a post pandemic world with separate but converging plot lines that come together to an insane ending. SO good.

Was this review helpful?

This is more like a 4.75 only because there are still so many unanswered questions I have…

This book is freaking WILD! It is gruesome and twisted and I LOVED it. This tells of a dark and horrific coming of end times and it completely engrossed me. I have found a strange new reading interest, for sure.

Covid has come and gone pretty much and a new pandemic is taking over the planet. This book follows three women who are integral to the fate of the planet, Erin, Savannah and Mareva.

This virus has the strange ability to mutate humans into one of a few different types: ones that have mild flu like symptoms for a handful of days, ones that thirst for fresh blood, ones that hunger for brains and some that exceed far past that… but believe me when I tell you, that is the absolute vaguest sense of these types of mutations. In actuality, the was the author describes all of this is with an intensity and an in your face severity. This isn’t for the faint of heart. This is NOT for everyone… but if you can handle the gore and the sexual depravity, than I HIGHLY recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

I’m not normally a horror fan but the description of this book drew me in. Probably one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read…but I liked it? I just wish the ending had been a bit more developed / longer. Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy.

Was this review helpful?

This book was wild start to finish and I loved every second. I didn’t really go in expecting BDSM but it was a welcome surprise and really added to the story

Was this review helpful?

For how normal it begins, the novel evolves into one of the weirdest, Lovecraftian apocalypses I've ever read. Somehow it stays grounded to the present day, and its resonance with current issues doubles the eeriness. For me, this moved it from another pulp story to a tale that stays with me.

Was this review helpful?

I'd like to thank #Netgalley for letting me read an eArc of #Sister,Maiden,Monster by #LucyA.Snyder.

This book was so totally out of this world! I'm not even completely sure what I read but I know that I enjoyed it, and was very disturbed at the same time. It is certainly an interesting take on virus's, how they are transmitted and where they originate from. I am finding to no surprise that covid has made its way into books more and more often. The virus that comes after covid in this book is far more horrifying.
You follow 3 different women oon their journeys through this virus and how they end up connected to one another and the importance of each.
If you have a hard time following pretty out of this world stuff this may not be the book for you, but if you love intrigue, biology, and dare I say aliens, then this book is totally for you!

Was this review helpful?

A post-COVID virus brings about the apocalypse, and we witness it through different time periods from three different POVs.

Snyder’s end-times tale felt a bit messy at first, but the novel works well when you look at it as 3 separate novellas coming together to deliver a brutal, cosmic, madness-charged nightmare of Lovecraftian proportions. Even to this jaded reader, I found myself surprised a few times over certain situations and some unexpected levels of violence.

The ending felt a bit unfinished, but considering the novel eventually won me over after a couple days of digesting it, perhaps the finale will at some point, too.

It’s nice to see a major press release something so extreme, and horror fans should enjoy Snyder’s wild twist on apocalyptic horror.


Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me read an ARC of Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy N Snyder!!!

I loved this book. I feel like it was written personally for me! I do believe that this book will not be for everyone, there is body gore in it, but if you have no problem with that, then tou should definitely give this book a chance.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoy a good dystopian novel more than most, and boy is this good. Not "The Stand" or "Swan Song" but certainly not Y.A. like "Hunger Games" or the "Maze runner" Brutality, and chaos reign and Mrs. Snyder does a fantastic job making characters who the reader may loathe not into two-dimensional caricatures of villains. This hit the spot for the spooky season and should be snatched up in February upon release.

Was this review helpful?

This is what I have been looking for!
The perfect mix of horror, madness, uncomfortable, and Sci-Fi elements.
'People still talk about contagion control as if it matters, as if masks and gloves and sanitizers and prayers can stop the future.'
This may resonate with many people during this time of our own contagion.

This book does have very descriptive gore scenes that did not gross me out but made me cringe because I had to read it!

Was this review helpful?

Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A Snyder is about a terrible virus that sweeps thru the world and how three women handle it. This was a wild ride and I loved the three different storylines and perspectives.

Was this review helpful?

Holy **** you guys! I was hoping I was going to like this one but I wasn't prepared for how much I would absolutely LOVE it. I DEVOURED it. I didn't want to put it down, it was just that fricken good. I stayed up reading past my bedtime because I had to know how it ended.

Told in three parts by three different women who become irrevocably connected to one another through a pandy-apocalyptic event, we're introduced to a horrible new virus that tears through the planet like nothing we've ever seen. If you catch it, you're going to end up so fucked up you'll wish it killed you. Because to survive it means you're ushering in the end of the world as we know it and unlike R.EM. claims it will be, shit ain't gonna be fine. You are all soooo fucking far from fine!

Oh the things this book does and the places it goes! The body horror! The cow brains! The Cleaving! And that weird ass crazy ending! If this wasn't on your radar already, it is now. If you aren't sure it's for you, you're wrong, it is! If you don't like it when you're done reading it, do I even know you and how are we even friends?

Was this review helpful?

This book will absolutely not be for everyone.

If you have trigger warnings, they’re probably in here. The author gives us a world that’s stark, grotesque, raw and kind of hopeless. It’s very graphic, with everything that entails, and pulls absolutely no punches.

Yet, it’s also compelling, sometimes rage-inducing, and a very good story.

Apocalyptic with cosmic touches and badass women.

It rocks.

Definitely approach with caution, but for the right reader, it’s kind of sublime.

• ARC via Publisher

Was this review helpful?

Holy cannoli, I don't know what I was expecting when I opened this book, but I was in for a WILD ride. SISTER, MAIDEN, MONSTER is a post-pandemic, apocalyptic, eldritch horror festival of a book. Think COVID but way... way... WAY... worse. The body horror and slow, creeping sense of your own physical self slowly turning against you is mesmerizing in the best and worst ways possible.

If you're at all squeamish, then this book may not be the best choice for you. But if you enjoy (perhaps "enjoy" isn't the right word) truly visceral horror, characters with strong internal voices, and being thrown for about a million loops in one sitting, I highly recommend it. I was sucked in from the moment I started reading and didn't stop until I literally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. My brain is still trying to process it. It's entirely possible I may never be the same again.

5 stars. I wouldn't disappoint the Old Gods with anything less.

Big thank you to Tor Nightfire, Lucy A. Snyder, and NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I am absolutely in love with this wild and disgusting book! I'm honestly sad that it's already over - I want more. The descriptions of the horror and gore in this book were awesome. Having three different POVs taking us through this journey and tying it all together in the end kept me engaged in the story from start to finish.

If you're looking for something gross and weird but also incredibly fun - I highly recommend you check this book out.

Was this review helpful?

I received this as an ARC from Tor Nightfire via NetGalley. My thanks for the opportunity.

And . . . I'm not sure what I just read. This is, quite literally, the most messed up thing I've read in a long, long time. It's hardcore horror that begins with a Covid-like pandemic shutdown, and ends in near cosmic annihilation. In between there's so much blood, gore, and body fluids that I felt as if I need two giant bottles of disinfectant to clean up.

My mind will not be the same after reading this. But I most definitely enjoyed the ride, and I look forward to more from Lucy Snyder. Awesome job!

Was this review helpful?

Award-winning horror writer Lucy A. Snyder unleashes "Sister, Maiden, Monster" onto readers with great aplomb. Folks who prefer their fiction without any plagues or pandemics may want to steer clear of this novel, and even though I myself am in the camp that prefers not to read about pandemics, Snyder's writing and storytelling are magnificent, so I made an exception. The novel begins with a pandemic--not Covid-19, but something called PVG, or Polymorphic viral gastroencephalities. It has spread all over the world at roughly the same time in major cities, and the medical powers-that-be aren't sure about a Patient Zero, if one exists. PVG has also emerged after the previous 'coronavirus years,' so the landscape imagined here includes a world in which something worse comes after our current pandemic. The protagonist, Erin, and her boyfriend Gregory, are celebrating their anniversary a bit early. She becomes extremely ill not long after, and things take a turn for the worse.

She has been moved to a night shift job at her company, and has memory issues. She may go on a murderous rampage unpredictably, or an infecting spree. At one point, she was transported from the hospital to a place called Greenlawn, which is a recommissioned insane asylum. Although the protagonist concedes no one would call it that now, it's how city residents called it when it was built in 1908. After a shutdown in the 1980s, it became an army training place for a while, then was re-abandoned, until more recently. This pandemic presented a need for a secure recovery space, so the current owners envisioned that for it.

This novel falls under the camp of science fiction horror. Years ago, readers would have read this as post-apocalyptic fiction and have a veil of comfort about how X scenario would never really happen and thank goodness for that. Now that we've lived through--and are still living through--three pandemic years and counting, that have felt like three centuries, we know that's not the case. The veil of security is no longer there as a comfort. When Snyder describes things like Pandemic Safety Acts and government protocols on phones, Homeland Security being involved, etc, the reader will be chilled at the way we have all been so collectively invaded, and the scenarios don't seem far-fetched.

Oh, and did I mention that in addition to Erin's milder diet of things like bananas and applesauce, she eats brains?

Type Ones are people who contracted this PVG virus, got some headache and nausea, but then after a few days of rest they recovered, never had to see a doctor, didn't have to go to an ER, and didn't need to be in a containment facility like Greenwood. Erin has become a kind of living zombie who has significant trouble with digestion, healing, sunlight, X-rays, and a dozen other things. She could also still become a 'total cancer farm' by the time she becomes 35 years old. Further still, pregnancy is no longer an option, adoption and fostering are also not options, and her brain will degenerate significantly over time. It's not clear if there is a cure.

A Type Two means that if you were given daily supplements of vitamins and survived the initial severe onset of the virus, you could survive on fresh human blood, so you would become a vampire. Or you could drink fresh animal blood, or pasteurized. However, Type Threes are those who need to eat, as the author describes, "a nice fresh bowl of raw brains." Erin is a Type Three. Because of this, she is also far more prone to violent psychotic episodes if she doesn't regularly get raw brain material to eat.

And as she reminds readers, the worst part is that she's a contagious Type Three, so until she's no longer contagious... things are even worse. She tells her partner that they can no longer live together because it's not safe. She has to try to find a lodging of her own that will accept her.

The discussion she has with the Homeland Security agent when she's about to be discharged is like "1984" (Orwell) times a million. In some cases, Type Three patients are required to wear ankle bracelets. In Erin's case, her phone has an app she has to report into daily. They'll also check monitor her activities to make sure she's not on any dating apps. And if she thinks about violating rules about being in crowds or gyms, she'll be shuttled off to a supermax facility in Elderville for PVGs who are 'particularly violent.'

In light of the Roe v Wade downfall in real life and the fundamental robbing of women's rights, reading that IUDs are mandatory for women in this situation while men don't have to get vasectomies is ... par for the course. The body horror, gore, and brains make this a novel not for the faint of heart. With a brash mix of horror comedy to the religious horror aspects as well as the situation on the whole, and switching points of view to the other perspectives in the novel, "Sister, Maiden, Monster" is definitely one of the most unique and unforgettable horror novels of 2023. Don't miss it!

Was this review helpful?

A new favorite, Snyder's SISTER, MAIDEN, MONSTER captivated me from the first page, thrilled me through each POV shift, and horrified me from start to finish. Quite possibly one of the BEST books I have EVER read. Full review forthcoming.

Was this review helpful?

What a fun book! Lovecraftian gore and spookiness abound, constantly kept me guessing at where it'd go next. It really captured the idea of the end of the world with elder gods, without falling onto super familiar tropes. As someone who isn't a billion percent familiar with Lovecraft, this was a fantastic intro for a modern audience.

Was this review helpful?

Thoughts: This was an incredibly weird and demented collection of three interconnected novellas that I ended up really enjoying. Snyder always comes up with some crazy stuff and doesn't shy away from the gory details. I really enjoyed her Jessie Shimmer series and continue to enjoy her writing here as well.

The synopsis does a decent job describing the plot, so I won't reiterate it here. This is pretty much an apocalyptic set of stories where a strange virus starts to manifest in people in different ways.

This is viciously twisted and gory, and at times you will think, "Did I really just read that?" It is also incredibly creative and intriguing since Snyder delves into depths of depravity that most authors wouldn't be comfortable delving in to. I love it for its uniqueness and just how much fun it ends up being to read.

The characters here are easy to engage with and come across as intelligent and introspective in their own ways, even when they are vicious and amoral. There is plenty of action and suspense, as you sit back and wonder how everything will play out. The ending is open-ended but I thought it fit the story tone well. Most endings to an apocalyptic tale like this are a bit open-ended.

My Summary (5/5): Overall I loved this and was so happy to see Snyder back to writing full-length books (even if it is more of a novella series in one novel). The weirdness and creativity here is awesome, but stomach turning at times. This is not a book for the faint of heart, but if you are a fan of Snyder you already know that. She does not turn away from gore or uncomfortable strangeness. I loved this and am excited to see what she writes next!

Was this review helpful?

Fresh brains, cosmic horror and the end of the world collide,
and oh yes, it’s beautiful!

This was my first foray into the fiction of Lucy A Snyder and truth be told I was caught totally on the hop by the levels of sheer brutality which unfolded over the next 300+ totally wild pages. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I found myself both mesmerized and grossed out by the astonishing levels of body horror which would give prime David Cronenberg a run for his money. Be prepared for skulls being nonchalantly cracked opens and contents devoured by certain infected individuals who have developed an insatiable hunger for human brains. However, whilst it was gross, it never felt exploitative, with some of the scenes almost sensual (did I just say that?!?) Neither was Sister Maiden Monster a boring spin on the modern zombie novel or comedy in the style of Return of the Living Dead, instead it was played with a very serious straight bat and the result is an incredibly powerful novel that sneakily meanders into cosmic apocalyptic End of Days territory.

The very clever way in which the deadly virus which beats at the core of Sister Maiden Monster mirrored Covid-19 was slyly and cleverly done. Set a few years after Covid, when this new virus arrives the population are already familiar with social distancing, mask wearing and periods of self-isolation. This novel ramps up the idea of a deadly virus and pushes us into a cosmic nightmare, which also keeps a keen eye on the science via a cool You Tube channel buzzing in the background. This was a gripping blend of what starts out in ‘speculative’ territory before going full-blast Lovecraft. Similar to Covid-19 the virus in Sister Maiden Monster effects people in different ways and is a clever part of the narrative, some are completely asymptomatic, whilst you do not want to know what happens to others!

I loved the way the breakdown of society is seen through three unique female voices (Erin, Savannah and Mareva) whom are all impacted in hugely different ways from the early days in hospital isolation to later periods when the government have snipers on building roofs looking for anything suspicious. This was Covid-19 multiplied by a thousand as the three try to survive (or embrace) the virus which is destined to change humanity.

Upon starting Sister Maiden Monster I knew very little about the plot and loved how everything started so normally before the brutal escalation. Erin was looking forward to getting married and instead ends up in hospital after contracting the virus and is then given a new set of rules for living which forbids her from mixing with others, having sex, or going out in crowds (just for a start). The scene when she wakes up strapped to a bed, but has no idea why, was outstanding. Finding herself now attracted to women and seeking out others who have the virus she has a transformation and has perhaps the biggest section of the book, which also cleverly drops into the narratives of the other two women.

Savannah and Mareva have less page time that Erin and focus more on different stages of the apocalypse, but all three are changed in different ways and are pieces of the cosmic jigsaw in the wider story arc. I found all three characters to be highly entertaining and particularly enjoyed how they were seen wildly different by each other. This was a highly creative novel with excellent world building and often it is easy for characters to become secondary to the world building aspects, but this did not happen in Sister Maiden Monster where people and setting complimented each other beautifully. Even the support characters and victims carried weight from the thoughtful nurse to the infected girlfriend, government agent, You Tube channel host, thoughtful boyfriend and repressed casual pickup were fully formed.

Events undoubtedly have a feminist edge and I enjoyed the blend of science fiction elements which are convincingly mixed into the horror. The sexual turn on during killing was unsettling, particularly when blended with the wild levels of violence which go hand in hand with the complex and unique transformations the three women go through. Although the story focusses on the three personal changes, it also successfully conveys the world-wide morphoses and the bigger picture. The book did end very abruptly and although there was nothing wrong with the (very) end I’m not sure how well it gelled with what went before as it lacked explanation. I’m uncertain there is enough milage for a sequel which would provide more information, unless there was some sort of resistance, but I would certainly read it should it ever materialise.

I have a feeling Sister, Maiden, Monster will excite and disgust readers in equal measures and I think the author would take that as a compliment! The levels of violence were unflinchingly brutal, but at the same time strangely captivating. In fiction the End of Days trope really has been done to death, but Lucy A Snyder still manages to bring something fresh (and not just brains) to the party. Wacky science and cosmic horror are combined brilliantly in this highly original apocalyptic gorefest.

Was this review helpful?

What was the last book that you finished and just had you saying “WOW”?


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.

This one is told in three interwoven parts:

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.

I am still not entirely sure what I read but my gosh it sure worked and well. This was horror, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, and honestly no clue but amazingness. I just don’t think I have the right words to describe how twisted and delightful this book is. Its like a train wreck, not that it is horrible, but that you can’t take your eyes away from the page. Sure, there were some politics in this book (mask wearing under nose mentions, IUD being forced on some but no vasectomies, the one black person dying…) but the book didn’t dwell on these things, and I think its hard to write a book about a virus without touching on some of these subjects. I will be giving this book one 5 stars because I cannot stop thinking about it!

Check out this fantastic ride of a book on Feb 21st!

Thank you so much to the publisher Tor Nightfire, @tornightfire, the author, and @Netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

WHEN I TELL YOU THAT I AM OBSESSED!!!! Seriously, this book has everything I could have ever hoped for and more. There's humor, LGBTQIA+ representation, eldritch level terrors, body horror, sex positivity, and some incredibly creative uses of gore. Lucy A. Snyder really gave their audience their all in Sister, Maiden, Monster. If you are a fan of Lovecraft but crave a contemporary and socially conscious approach to sci-fi horror, then you need to get your hands on this book immediately. If you enjoy David Cronenberg levels of body horror, you've found the perfect book.

I could go on incessantly about how incredible Sister, Maiden, Monster is. It's hard to pen entertaining, and relatable (while remaining somewhat detached) pandemic fiction. However, Snyder has crafted a story that adds elements of the uncanny and bizarre that reminisce on the early days of the pandemic while retaining a wall of distance through the development of a new virus. Through careful consideration of eco-horrors, social and political upheaval, and the significance of the horror genre, Sister, Maiden, Monster has solidified itself as one of my favorite and absolute must reads of the year - if not the decade.

Was this review helpful?

What on Earth did I just read? It felt like a sick fever dream and I loved every uncomfortable second of it. I knew from the very first chapter that I would love this book. Do you seek out trigger warnings? Let me save you some time and tell you that if you do, don’t read this. It’s dark and dirty but still managed to be thought-provoking and human. There are three parts, each with a different female main character, until the plot lines connect for an exploding conclusion. If you’re ready for a horror book about another pandemic following the one we all lived through, look no further. Simply fantastic and I cannot wait to see what Snyder writes next.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: