Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones [ARC]

A horror novel about 4 Aboriginal men who are being hunted for revenge

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

I buddy-read this book with the lovely Em @ Moonlight and Moths. This book will be counting towards ARC August, hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat and for Trope-ical Readathon, hosted by Jenny @ Jenny’s Review BlogI read this book to fulfill the “genre you don’t usually read” prompt – the fact that it has indigenous representation just made this even better!

The Only Good Indians book cover

The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

Published June 14, 2020 by Saga Press
ISBN: 1982136456

Data from Goodreads

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s There There in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Rep: Indigenous/Aboriginal representation

TW: violence, use of guns, killing of animals, violence towards women, gore, racism

My Review: Very Unique and Disturbing

This has got to be one of the most unique horror novels I’ve read. Its inclusion of contemporary Indigenous life was eye-opening and added depth to the story.

The Pros: What worked for me

  • I thought the violence level was great in the story, albeit a bit gory. The scenes are quite graphic in their depiction – so reader beware!
  • Every character was unique. This story is told from multiple perspectives, and each one highlighted something important. My favourites were (Click to reveal spoiler) Lewis, Denorah, and the Elk Woman, as I connected best with them .
  • The social commentary on Indigenous tribes was enlightening. Not only did the author bring up common stereotypes, but there was also satire through the use of imaginary newspaper headlines. There are strong themes in this novel: reverence to life, sacredness of ritual, guilt of abandoning traditions. All of these just added to the complexity of the story.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • The writing style, while unique, threw me in for a loop. It was hard to keep track of what was going on at times, especially when the character would go off on a tangent.
  • There were times when the plot was not clear and I didn’t know where the story was going to go or what the author had in mind.

This story caught me off-guard with both its complexity and brutality. I loved reading from the perspectives of different characters, but it wasn’t always easy to keep up with the story. I’ll definitely be reading more books by this author, and I’m giving this one 3/5 stars.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones [ARC]

  1. I tried reading this book, as I was extremely interested in a thriller about contemporary Indigenous life, but I kept putting it down. Maybe I should try again.

    1. It’s definitely not an easy read and it took me quite a while to get into it – but it got pretty interesting around the 40% mark. Hopefully, you like it more when you pick it up again!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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