Book Review – Sister, Maiden, Monster

This book ends in a way that promises a second will be coming.

A second pandemic hits shortly after Covid-19 but this time, it’s a lot more dangerous, disgusting, concerning, and mysterious. The symptoms vary from person to person and this isn’t some coronavirus, this is something much, much larger that will have devastating effects on the world. It may even bring upon the end of everything.

Sister, Maiden, Monster is broken up into three separate, but massively intertwined stories about a trio of women who end up with the PVG virus. This book is dark, grotesque, and Lovecraftianly weird. I appreciate the story that Lucy A. Snyder is trying to tell here but I do feel like it feel a bit short of perfection.

First off, I felt like the women-power push was way too strong and a lot of it didn’t even make sense. It felt forced into the story with little build up or explanation leading up to it (especially in regards to the Erin+Betty stuff). The toss in of Gregory’s “issues” was also unnatural feeling and didn’t actually go anywhere or have any meaning so it felt like a wasted opportunity. It actually felt like the point was lost somewhere in the mess of needing this story to be somewhat disgusting (which it was).

I don’t think that the characters were developed completely and a lot was missing to explain the decisions they were making or understand what was driving them. If it was just down to the voices in their head pushing them to do things, then that should have been expanded upon. Instead, we got weirdly jarring decisions that cut to awkwardly placed sexual scenes, most of which included acts of violence (which was fine but the sex stuff still felt weirdly placed).

I also felt that this story came a little too late after the most recent pandemic. It was a bit tiresome to read about Covid-19 after spending most of the last 3 years having it beaten over our heads by the world. Maybe if this book came out in 2021, it would have hit better and elicited more spookiness.

I love Lovecraftian horror. I love weird horror books that are gruesome and push boundaries of the status quo. Unfortunately, this one just wasn’t all there. I truly think that this could have been a great book if a few things had been changed, like taking the time to really develop characters and have them show why they make the decisions they do over the course of the book, and also by cutting back on the weird Sapphic vibes that seem to want to be present but aren’t well executed OR take the time to focus on building that up instead of suddenly shoving it in our faces. I’m a fan of Sapphic books and I love when they are done well, this one was not.

That being said, I’m still giving this one a pretty good rating because aside from the issues above, Lucy A. Snyder did hit on the gross and weird pretty well. She gave decent imagery when describing the crazy stuff that was happening, especially in regards to how Erin “fed” on Betty and how Mareva’s weird tumor stuff happens. This book was more gross than horrifying, but it was entertaining. I’d recommend it to people who don’t mind gross books with strange vibes.

Overall, I give it a 3 out of 5.

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