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The Worm and His Kings

(The Worm and His Kings #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  290 reviews
New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace.

Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumors. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark.

Donna isn’t missing. She
Paperback, 116 pages
Published November 15th 2020 by Off Limits Press
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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I'm not going to write a plot-filled review because so many before me have done it so well and because I am very lazy and I think your time would be better spent reading this book of cosmic horror rather than reading my mishmash of words to describe the story.

The Worm and His Kings has a strong lead who you’ll hope finds everything her heart desires. I crossed every finger and toe I possess hoping that Monique would make it through this wild Worm King mind-bending world and come out the other si
Well Read Beard
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books
Cosmic horror. Whispers ( I don't love cosmic horror). But I love Hailey's work, and I really like OffLimits press, but whispers ( I don't love cosmic horror ). What I do love is great writing, and this one has it. I have read every book Hailey as written ( I think ), this feels like a culmination. A peak. The writing is just excellent. It took me places I had never been, and drug me to places that I didn't want to go. This story is big, huge in fact for 114 pages. Piper uses big themes to tell ...more
Sep 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022, cosmic-horror
This is my second Hailey Piper book and I've officially fallen in love.

On the surface The Worm and His Kings is a cosmic horror about a woman infiltrating a cult to find her missing girlfriend. It actually bears a resemblance to cosmic cults of Lovecraft. But once you start to peel the layers back this book is about the need of love from others and the need of love for yourself.

Beautiful writing. Engrossing characters. Satisfying end.
Richard Martin
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
‘We sing the song that pierces the Universe and bring the world to its knees’

An unholy melding of ‘Books of Blood’ era Clive Barker and the cosmic terrors of H.P. Lovecraft, with a style and vision all her own, Hailey Piper’s ‘The Worm and His Kings’ is a nightmarish novella that will linger with you long after putting the book down.

Monique’s girlfriend, Donna has gone missing. A life living on the streets is tough enough but, without Donna, it has become unbearable. Rumours of multiple disappea
Sadie Hartmann
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Original review published at Cemetery Dance 12/11/2020
Women in Indie Horror have a powerful voice and if that’s a surprise to you, take note of the popular Best Of Lists from horror reviewers as 2020 comes to a close. You will see these names: Laurel Hightower, Gemma Amor, Samantha Kolesnik, Sara Tantlinger, Gwendolyn Kiste, Cynthia Pelayo, V. Castro, Stephanie Ellis, Jessica Guess, Briana Morgan, and many, many more.

One name I saved for last and special mention. Hailey Piper. Hailey is one to w
Jordaline Vulva
Feb 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Brandon Baker
Aug 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit 🤯 that was absolutely insane!! Truly a must read if you like weird horror, but esp if you liked the weirdness that permeated The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. They’re very different, but give off the same vibes!!
Dec 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There was nothing in the newspapers far as Monique ever noticed, the rumors passing person to person. This city liked to forget people. No surprise that some of those stories had taken on a mythic tone. Some liked to joke about the Jersey Devil or that Cropsey had wandered over from Staten Island. Others didn't joke when they said a monster they'd dubbed Gray Hill had been frequenting Freedom Tunnel of late. There were only ever a couple hundred people living here, most too stubborn to leave. It ...more
M. Todd
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Hmmm... The Worm is quite a story - big, big story with time and space and dimension and all manner of strange happenings. But it's also a story about people, about wanting to find love, about victims and those that want to dominate - the desire for transformation; to change the world and make it a better place. Of course there are monsters, and there are the deluded, the brainwashed, and a lot of strange, strange things that happen.

I admit that I got lost at times, when I felt that the protago
Paul Ataua
Oct 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Homeless Monique’s search for her missing lover leads to an underground cult in New York that worships the Worm, an ancient deity. Loved that it dealt with homelessness, trans rights, and religious manipulation, but this whole Cosmic horror is really not for me. The whole thing came in at just over 100 pages but it seemed much longer.
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first experience reading Hailey Piper was her short story Unkindly Girls in the Worst Laid Plans anthology which gave me just a small peek at the writing talent she possesses. I was excited to read some of her longer fiction as I have heard nothing but good things about her other works, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow and Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. 

Alright now to talk about the book I'm actually here to review. First off I love the title, The Worm and His Kings. Sounds epic, right? I'll
I reviewed Benny Rose, the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper only last week where I said that I think her writing was much too good for that kind of story and now I see that I was right! She can work wonders with a good story and proves it in “The Worm and His Kings”: This book blew-my-mind!
We follow the story of Monique, who lives in the tunnels under New York City after she and her girlfriend Donna lost their jobs and became homeless. But that’s not the biggest of Monique’s troubles; Donna disappe
There is no sub genre that Piper cannot make her own. Though her voice is utterly unique, comparisons to Clive Barker at his best are an accurate start. I predict it won't be long before budding horror authors will be thrilled to hear their work compared to Piper's - her storytelling chops are something to aspire to.

There is so much I want to say about The Worm and His Kings, but each time I start, I reconsider, because this is one of those tales best experienced in layers as they were crafted
Jun 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Underground lairs, wormholes in the soul.
The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper

This a special story, it has remained very close and fresh since I read it. It is a short book, the kind that many will argue that it should be longer and others, shorter. I found it a perfect measure. As not long ago, another short book I read, yes, I wish to know more about Monique, the cult, Donna, but as the story was made and presented, I found it delicately balanced and endearing.

In a way, it felt like discoveri
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This was quite the novella! I spoke with Hailey on Books in the Freezer and one of the things we talked about was whether someone needed to have read Lovecraft and his mythos to enjoy cosmic horror. She told me I didn't, and stories like this prove that. She has created a fantastic Worm mythos that I'd loved to see expanded. This follows Monique, a homeless woman whose girlfriend has recently gone missing, and her journey to find her. There was so much to dig into in this story. I could see it b ...more
Thea Maeve
3/5: Entertaining:

Overall, the story line is well done and compelling, with great messages regarding trans rights. The down side is the descriptions are a bit disorienting making it tough to visualize several parts of the story.

I do recommend.
Sara Tantlinger
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Long ago, in a time now dead, one note changed our world forever.”

The Worm and His Kings is a story about becoming. Sometimes we set out in life to become one thing, one kind of person that we’ve long envisioned, only to become something different entirely. I think for many of us, we spend our entire lives searching, to some degree, to understand our complex identities as we morph and shift and simply change over time. Life is far from static, and it only makes sense that we adapt, but sometime
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A cosmic horror novella by the wonderful Hailey Piper. I could really feel myself beneath the city in this underground word. This really did have a cinematic quality and I would love to see this as a film. I absolutely loved Monique and am so blown away with the world Piper created here and so many of the concepts presented from worlds and time to bravery and determination.
Jeremy Megargee
Jun 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Empty places that unsettle, subterranean Sunless Palaces and a towering Gray Maiden with razor-tipped talons...this book is rich in cosmic lore, and it's a journey deeper & deeper into the realm of the Worm.

Tense prose, phenomenal character development, and a sense of reality warped to ribbons...that's everything I want in cosmic horror. Piper is a force to be reckoned with, and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Nov 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Worm and His Kings follows Monique, down on her luck and homeless, as she searches for her girlfriend who has gone missing. She’s pulled headlong into a Lovecraftian nightmare as she scours the subterranean levels of New York and encounters cults, creatures and much more than she bargained for.
I really enjoyed this, it’s a quick read but it packs a lot of story and surprising amount of character development, I especially liked the mythos that Hailey Piper has crafted. If you’re a fan of cosm
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it
The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper is an ambitious story that’s well told, but one that would’ve benefited from a higher page count to let all of the elements breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the novella format, but this story has so much crammed in and moves at such a breakneck speed that I never felt immersed or connected to the setting or what was happening. Often, it felt as if I was being forcibly pulled through a fun house, the mirrors zipping past before I could actuall ...more
Michael Hicks
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, bought
The search for her missing lover draws a homeless woman to an underground cult in the tunnels of New York in Hailey Piper's latest novella, The Worm and His Kings. Piper draws an intriguing portrait of homelessness, religious manipulation, and cosmic horror as Monique is led deeper into a secret society that worships an ancient deity known as the Worm as she tries to discover what happened to Donna, who disappeared three months ago.

On a surface level, The Worm and His Kings has a killer premise
Audra (ouija.reads)
After reading Piper's Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, which is a delightful new Halloween mythology, I knew that she was an author I needed more from.

Cosmic horror is something I've not delved too deeply in (mostly because of an aversion to Lovecraft) but as evidenced by this novella, there is still much to explore in this genre and it can be otherworldly, strange, gooey, and representative of diverse voices.

At times, I felt that the story went a bit blurry—though it is told in a linear fashion,
Yvonne (The Coycaterpillar Reads)
The Worm and His Kings is quite frankly a phenomenal novella. It excels in its characterisation, which is by far, powerful. First and foremost, it is a novel about acceptance and identity. Monique, our protagonist, is a trans woman who has spent her entire life trying to fit in, to the detriment for her inner self. She tries to rectify that, an action that results in physical trauma. A story that highlights a world full of prejudice and hate. A cosmic horror novel that had me intrigued but had m ...more
Nov 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, horror, lgbt, novella
Dark, queer, and claustrophobic. An excellent cosmic horror novella. Layered, nuanced, it packs a lot in 116 pages.
not AS stupid as I expected it to be
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"People will worship anything if they need it."

The Worm and His Kings was one of my favorite horror books from last year! This story is dark, lonely, and fascinating. It's an intense read, and it was a little confusing for me at times, but I really loved it.

CW - homelessness, botched surgery
wormy ♡
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ultimate-faves
I would happily live in this book forever, thanks.
Erica Robyn Metcalf
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella, horror
The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper is an intense and fast-paced cosmic horror tale that centers around the desperation of all of the characters involved.

This novella has such a dark and dreary atmosphere, when turning the final page, it will leave readers looking forward to feeling the sun on their face again as soon as possible.

I didn’t know what to expect when picking this one up… and my gosh was it a wild and tense ride!

When the book begins, we meet our main character, Monique, who is liv
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Goodreads Librari...: Create series + add books 3 20 Aug 14, 2022 04:56AM  

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Hailey Piper is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Queen of Teeth, No Gods for Drowning, The Worm and His Kings, Your Mind Is a Terrible Thing, Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy, Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, and The Possession of Natalie Glasgow.
She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association, with dozens of short stories appearing in Pseudopod, Vastarien, Daily Science Fiction,

Other books in the series

The Worm and His Kings (2 books)
  • Even the Worm Will Turn (The Worm and His Kings #2)

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“She’s part of the nothing now.” Hot tears flooded Monique’s cheeks. She tried to swallow the burning lump in her throat. “We fed her to the empty place.”
“No, No Lady smiled wide and shook her head. “Most of the universe is empty. We feel stretches of the worm, and she’s with him now, and full and infinatellsetsfree-”
Her words smashed together and thinned like Phoebe across time, becoming nothing.”
“And here, in the darkest place, Monique found monsters.
Maybe if her parents knew how far she’d fallen, they would at last regret having bashed their only child.
Unlikely. That was her imagination preying on her thoughts with something more painful than monsters in the dark-The illusion that her parents could accept her.”
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