Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Review: Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder

by Lucy A. Snyder
Release Date: February 21, 2023
2023 Tor Nightfire
Kindle Edition; 265 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250825650
Audiobook: B0B1KR1XKZ
Genre: Fiction / Horror
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

To survive they must evolve.

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.
My Thoughts
Sister, Maiden, Monster was a decent book that follows three women as they navigate a new pandemic hitting the world, one that is extremely different from the previous one.  Considering our current climate with regards to pandemic thinking, I think it is very difficult to write about, but I thought the author handled it quite well and I enjoyed that aspect of the book.  Where I had difficulty was with the repetitive narrative and the lack of character development; all of the characters just started blending in together and I think to really pull this off, the women needed distinct voices and not just because one was into BDSM or the other one liked to eat brains.  
While I did like each of the characters, I did feel like the author used what they were to make them seem distinct as opposed to who they were. This didn't allow for a lot of character development as there wasn't really much to define them with regards to their personalities to begin with.  And if you are looking for queer lust and power in your novels, this one definitely has it in spades, unchecked and uncontrolled at times.  Personally, I enjoyed Erin's story the best, but I wonder if it's because it was first and I had no idea what was happening when I started the book so it had a deeper impact on me for that reason.  I think this is why the other two women really needed powerful voices to be heard as the story kind of went sideways for me when I started Savannah's POV. 

The plot itself was definitely interesting for the first half of the book and I had a hard time putting it down.  The other two women don't get as much attention as Erin and the stories aren't interconnected the way I thought they would be. I get what the author was doing, but execution-wise, I don't think it quite worked. I really wanted to enjoy the second half more than I did, which was a shame as that half had most of the horror elements in it, elements that I love.  I also felt like some descriptions were thrown in for shock purposes rather than for story substance and I found it jarring, throwing me out of the narrative, which was sometimes difficult to stay focused on anyways due to the repetitiveness of it.  I think I liked the idea of what was happening rather than on what was actually happening and I found myself drifting off at times, reflecting on the social impacts of what was occurring, another aspect I think the author could have developed a bit more.  

Sister, Maiden, Monster had a lot of potential, but ultimately it was a bit disappointing.  There was a lot going on in this novel, and I think the author missed the mark by not focusing on character development as well as cultural impact and social commentary. The horror aspect of this novel was actually interesting, involving both cosmic and body horror, but the world is falling apart, so shouldn't there be more focus on existential crisis? Great ideas, but overall, missed the mark.