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A Cursed Forest, an Exiled Golem, and an Impossible Deal: Announcing The Maiden and Her Monster by Maddie Martinez

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A Cursed Forest, an Exiled Golem, and an Impossible Deal: Announcing <i>The Maiden and Her Monster</i> by Maddie Martinez

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A Cursed Forest, an Exiled Golem, and an Impossible Deal: Announcing The Maiden and Her Monster by Maddie Martinez

When she ventures into the shadowed woods, Malka finds a monster, but not the one she expects...

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Published on April 16, 2024

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Photo of Maddie Martinez beside the text: "Maddie Martinez / The Maiden and Her Monster / Fall 2025 / Tor Books"

Stephanie Stein at Tor US and Grace Barber at Tor UK have acquired debut author Maddie Martinez’s The Maiden and Her Monster, a sapphic fantasy reimagining of the Jewish myth of the golem. Publication is slated for Fall 2025; Victoria Marini at High Line Literary brokered the two-book deal for world English rights.

The forest eats the girls who wander out after dark.

As the healer’s daughter, Malka has seen how the wood’s curse has plagued her village, but the Ozmini Church only comes to collect its tithe, not to listen to heretics with false stories of monsters in the trees.

So when a clergy girl wanders too close to the forest and Malka’s mother is accused of her murder, Malka strikes an impossible bargain with a zealot Ozmini priest: bring the monster out and spare her mother from execution.

When she ventures into the shadowed woods, Malka finds a monster, but not the one she expects: an inscrutable, disgraced golem who agrees to implicate herself, but only if Malka helps her fulfill an ancient promise first and free the imprisoned rabbi who created her.

But a deal easily made is not easily kept. And as their bargain begins to unravel a much more sinister threat, protecting her people may force Malka to endanger the one person she left home to save—and face her growing feelings for the very creature she was taught to fear.

From US editor Stephanie Stein:

This stunning debut fantasy is a dark folk tale of power, corruption, faith, rage, and love—a story about the stories we tell about ourselves, those others tell about us, and the way they all can be wielded for good or ill. It will creep into your heart like the creatures of its cursed forest and linger with you long after it’s done. I could not be more thrilled to introduce Malka, golem Nimrah, and their gorgeous story to readers on the Tor list.

UK editor Grace Barber adds:

A cursed forest, an exiled golem, and an unlikely alliance—I fell in love with The Maiden and Her Monster from the very first page. This is a gorgeously dark, evocative, and healing tale rooted in history and myth, and readers are bound to be enchanted by maiden Malka and golem Nimrah. Maddie is such an exciting new talent and I am so honored to be publishing her debut on the Tor UK list next year.

Agent Victoria Marini said:

Impossible bargains, forbidden romance, haunted forests—this checked all my boxes, and I read it through in one sitting, stunned to find that Maddie Martinez wrote the impossible; an aching romantic gothic that is at once a satisfying and propulsive fantasy and a keen examination of corruption, faith, and identity.

And from the author, Maddie Martinez:

This story has lived inside me since before I could shape it into words. Though this novel is second world, it is deeply inspired by the Jewish tales I grew up hearing, and my own family history of fleeing pogroms in Europe. The Maiden and Her Monster was my attempt to preserve a hidden history, and explore the danger and resiliency of stories and faith. At its core, this is also a story of two unlikely allies—Malka and Nimrah—both deprived of their agency and burdened with responsibility, finding solace and strength in each other when the world attempts to break them. I’m deeply thrilled to be working with the Tor team on both sides of the Atlantic to bring this book to readers! 


Maddie Martinez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her love of stories began with desert plumes and watermelon sunsets. She holds a BA in Political Science and International Affairs from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC. The Maiden and Her Monster is her first novel. You can find her on social media @maddiesmartinez or on her website.

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Reactor (formerly Tor.com) is a magazine that publishes original short sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction along with daily essays, book reviews, media news, and more. You're reading this on our site, though, so you probably know this. We're sorry we even brought it up. Tea?
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