“Only this woman, who was two and has been made one by a Commoner’s hand, will bear fruit for the tree, the roots of which feed the Nile floods its banks. There must be a husband for each wife and a wife for each husband, else the rags run red. The seeds of the dying tree will mix or the great house will become a tomb. The God Has Spoken,” Nefrit said.
And Titus felt an urge to vomit. He fell to his knees as he had been taught from childhood and kissed the hem of the oracle’s gown.
“Blessed is the instrument of Apollo…” Titus began to say through his tears, only to be interrupted by Polly.
“TE-DI-OUS,” she sang out. ”Now that’s been sorted, let us go home and let me have my merry way with the two of you as the God commands.”
somehow weyodi squid managed to take every sub-genre of fiction i loathe, cram it into one work and come out with a masterpiece of perfection! monster bride (monstrum mundi book 1) is definately in my top 20 favorite novels of the past five years-i do read a lot. it had to literally be forced down my throat because the four words “science” “fiction” “romance” “novel” used in any combo generally leave me gagging. the idea of laser phasers, clones, tang, heavy bosoms and pulsating members…well, come on…i can totally watch star trek and not have to use much imagination and uhura was smokin’ hot. under extreme duress i began my journey into the symbolic world of polycorpus plumber; within 2 chapters i was enchanted; by the end of the book i was screamin’ “hell yeah!!!!!”
i first need to indicate my extreme displeasure in calling this at all a “romance novel” because it is by no means romantic. it is a novel with sex. it is a novel with loads of sex, but that is where the similarity dead ends. i read a few romance novels when i was young which was fun because it was wordy porn, but after age 10 there was generally better reading material in nudie mags. sex is an integral part of the relationship dynamics of monster bride inasmuch as sex is an integral dynamic in a relationship between a woman, her husband and her husband’s cousin, and the doing it business is essentially scenery not plot. weyodi squid manages to use the word cunt with so much affection and affirmation it makes me proud to be a lady! no overly floral synonyms in this book-nitty gritty!
the story takes place in futuristic london-if the roman empire had never retreated. there is an intense amount of ancient rites, social orders and amalgamation of cultures from egyptian, babylonian, greek, and various others which is historically accurate with what was seen in the pre-christian rome. the populace of londinium celebrated saturnalia and lupercalia while also using electricity provided by eels, transportation of flying ships and people who are reanimated from death. there is pulsing patriarchal imperialism and the social elites are the uncommon monsters while the commoners, who are allowed to work, hold no position of authority or social importance.
titus albinus, head of the londinium aristocracy with military decoration and priest to apollo, was convinced by his greatgreat(etc) grandmother, an oracle, to marry polycorpus, a girl made of pieces and parts of more than one dead infant and reanimated because she would be the only female able to give birth to his children, most importantly his son, even though she was said to be made of the parts of only common infants. titus was easily won over because his need to carry on the family legacy and name was desperate and his previous, uncommon monster wives, all four, had all died trying to give birth to his little bundles of joy. titus was rich, respected, able to shimmer into invisibility and possessed the best etiquette. polycorpus, on the other hand, was common, strong, clumsy, cared nothing about society or protocol and had the misfortune of being a female who had never been told she was not supposed to think for herself. stephen was titus’ cousin, but had none of the comforts of his title. stephen spent his time working as the head of inventions in the museum, was born of sorcery, therefore an abomination, able to kill people with his touch and was madly in love with his cousin’s wife. series of events and a prophecy the oracle gave lead to a rather unusual situation. according to the oracle there would be no heir unless both stephen and titus sired it together. titus’ new love for his wife and, at least initially, his desire for an heir allowed him to break propriety. stephen and polly didn’t care about that. stephen loved polly and polly loved stephen and titus. stephen and titus were best friends, cousins and brothers in arms. soon it became an arrangement they could all live with and be relatively happy.
polly’s best damned, horrible habit of thinking for herself, not realizing she was supposed to be inferior in mind as well as body to her male counterparts, allows her to draw conclusions that shake the very core of her husband’s faith in the divine as well as the empire. when polly is on death’s door, bleeding from her eyes from pregnancy, stephen and titus break the law, turning to sorcery to pull her back to the land of the living. polycorpus was the only woman to survive giving birth to titus’ child and simultaneously stephen’s child-the twins. polly is a heroine without any desire to be. her uncanny humanity and self taught authority put her in charge of her life.
i am not sure if weyodi squid set out to write a truly feminist science fiction sex novel that highlights the most horrible aspects of classism and nationalism, but that is what she did. her depiction of polycorpus, the mother, is chilling and blood-boilingly accurate. polly’s inability to sit still and wait for anyone to tell her anything, stephen’s acknowledgement that polly was his intellectual equal and titus’ ability to see, admire and love polly despite no social standing are evidence that the status quo of londinium and the empire itself was not acceptable. the characterization of the elite class as monsters with magical powers, unwilling to do anything to better anyone other than the government and themselves, highlights today’s capitalist upper crust- those with everything, the only ones existing with ease or station, who have done or will do inhumane monstrous things to stay where they are. monster bride (monstrum mundi book 1) is no science fiction romance novel, it is a call to throw off the cloak of complacency and begin to take the helm of one’s own personal existence.
“You, stupid. You’re a menace to womankind. Whatever it is you put in them, sooner or later it’s deadly. Not so different than Stephen, except you take longer, so there’s more suffering. You think he’s defective, but you’re no better than he is. At least he bloody cares if he hurts people,” Polly said, grabbing Titus by his collar.
“I never,” Titus said, his eyes wide and his skin beginning to shimmer and fade, but Polly kept her grip tight on the cloth.” I never forced…anyone. I have never forced my myself on you.”
“You couldn’t force me if you tried, Titus Albinus,” Polly said her brain speeding like a train. “But as for the others, you do realize they had no choice, don’t you? Or do you think the women of the Empire have nothing better to do than die to make sure Titus Albinus has a baby? What’ll you do if you get one and it doesn’t go with the decor? Women, babies, wallpaper, other people; what’s the difference? We’re all just things to you. The only reason you want a baby of your own is because you haven’t got one and it’s hard to go out and buy one that’ll look good beside you in a portrait. It might as well be a diamond stick pin.”
go get this book! it’s great! to read free excepts and purchase your own copy of monster bride please visit weyodi.com
you will also find her poetry and excepts of her new series “the glicksberg chronicles available to read for free
“we will no doubt become more familiar with one another in time.” he shrugged then seemed to consider for a moment.”i could accomplish the consummation while invisible should you like, if the sight of a naked male makes you uneasy.”
“what a horrid suggestion!” polly said. “that would be positively uncanny,”
“i beg your pardon,” albinus said. ”my other wives like it.”
“well, i find it distasteful,” polly told him.”i want to see you, while, while i’m doing it.”
colonel albinus blinked. “i believe doing is my purview,” he said, bending to bring his face close to hers.
“well, that’s dull,” polly said forgetting her indignation to keep her arms over her breast.”