the only good indians

Hi friends! I received an ARC of this book from Gallery Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book has been published, so feel free to check it out through my link below if you’re interested! Although I received this book for free, all thoughts and feedback are my own.

Synopsis & Quick Thoughts

The Only Good Indians is the latest horror novel by author Stephen Graham Jones. This novel follows four American Indians whose lives have been cursed following a disturbing even from their youth. A creature bent on revenge stalks them in the dark, and the men are helpless but to reflect on the culture and tradition that got them there in the first place.

This was the first book in a long time that affected my dreams and made me genuinely scared to read at night. Normally I’m not a big creature-feature gal in books or films, but this was so much more than that and I had a blast. The pacing suffered in places and I struggled with the writing style at first, but the execution and impact it left on me far outweighed its flaws.

Positives

Well, the biggest positive is that this is a horror novel that does what it came to do. I felt paranoid, I felt scared, I wanted to do a double-check of my apartment before I went to bed to make sure there wasn’t a deer-headed woman sitting on my couch or staring at me from my balcony. When the action in this book got going, it got going and was a thrilling and wild ride.

The atmosphere, gritty brutality of the writing and the events, the slow build of suspense and dread, and heartbreaking nature of the tale all contribute to an amazing experience when it came to reading my first novel by Stephen Graham Jones. I wish I could better articulate why I like this book as much as I do, but I think it may just be more experience-based than some of other reads recently. All in all, so so good.

Negatives

Two main things kind of got me with The Only Good Indians from time to time. While these issues by no means ruined the story for me, it did make me lose a touch of immersion and extended the amount of time it took for me to finish the book. The first of these issues was pacing. I know that I read e-books at a significantly slower pace than physical books, but it took me a hot second to get through this one. Every book has its lulls, but the ones present here were especially slow and bored me quickly.

I also struggled with the writing style in this book. Admittedly, it’s been month or so since I finished The Only Good Indians so I’m not as familiar with the intricacies of the prose in this novel as I used to be, but I found it to be rather jarring at times. I don’t mind more unique writing styles if it adds to the plot or development, but I found the reading experience to be less immersive than usual. I had to go back and reread certain sentences or sections to make sense of the prose, and it took me out of the suspense or mood of the moment.

Rating & Final Thoughts

The Only Good Indians is a solid 4 out of 5 stars. If you’re a horror fan, check it out; it’s one of the few books recently that’s actually scared me. I look forward to reading more from Stephen Graham Jones – in fact, I’ve been approved for an ARC of his newest horror, My Heart is a Chainsaw, so be on the lookout for a review of that coming up!

Buy The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones here.

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