Sister, Maiden, Monster

Tor Nightfire. Feb. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781250825650. pap. $17.99. HORROR
A new virus is quickly spreading across the globe, affecting people so differently that they are being sorted into types. Type threes, like Erin, now need to eat a diet that includes mammal brains to survive, while type fives, like Savannah, who are now “archivists,” ingest the memories and knowledge of others before they are all lost, and then there’s Mareva, whose pre-pandemic condition makes her a pivotal figure in the impending apocalypse. In a novel told in three sections, each focusing on one of the women, Snyder meticulously builds a realistic, unnerving science-fiction/horror hybrid world where the increasingly horrifying yet utterly enticing details compound upon themselves. As the plot keeps moving compellingly forward, the stories of the individual women overlap and intertwine, making it abundantly clear that the virus is no accident, and that the goal of its inventors is to transform humanity forever.
VERDICT Snyder (“Jessie Shimmer” series; Halloween Season), a critically acclaimed indie horror vet, steps boldly into her major-press debut, setting a new standard for readers looking to try cosmic horror. Fans of this subgenre will be delighted, awestruck, and terrified in equal measure, much like when they read Caitlin R. Kiernan or Hailey Piper.
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