A lot I liked, but a lot I didn't like.

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The Only Good Indians is a very original horror story that is, at its heart, a tale of revenge. I read this book with the Horror Fiction Book Club of the Prince William Public Library as our selection for March. Four Native American/American Indian men experience a disturbing event together in their youth. Years later, this event comes back to haunt them – an entity is tracking each of them and is determined to make them pay for breaking with and disrespecting tradition. The premise of this story is so creative and original – I definitely haven’t read anything quite like this before. I really enjoyed that it was an #ownvoices story that introduced us to members of the Blackfeet tribe, some of their culture and some of the struggles that they are facing. These stories are not being told or read nearly enough – I’m so glad that this book is getting the attention that it is. You could feel a lot of the sadness and frustration that was associated with life on the reservation, and life after the reservation for those who left. There was a lot of discrimination and prejudice that the characters were being endangered by and were suffering from. The first half told their stories one by one, first Ricky then Lewis, both of whom had left the reservation, then the last half told the story of Cassidy and Gabriel together, who both remained on the reservation. I enjoyed the story of Ricky – it was fast paced and pretty heart wrenching. I really enjoyed the story of Lewis. It was longer and was a slow burn. It really took me for a ride as Lewis’s life and mind steadily deteriorate. These parts were really pretty impressive with the horror they offered, both in creepiness and shock value. Then I didn’t really enjoy the section of Cassidy and Gabriel as much. I was not noticing a lot of differentiation between the characters, so I was struggling to keep track of who was who. This section was also just generally more confusing to me. There were times that I was struggling to figure out who was narrating, or who the narrator was speaking to. I wasn’t sure if that was by design, but I was definitely confused. It seemed be the author’s style to jump around a lot and for me personally, it left me a little frustrated. Everyone else in my book club enjoyed it very much, so I think it was just not a good match to my taste and I absolutely recommend it to horror lovers. I will note, there was one thing that I really disliked and that was animal suffering. I totally understand that this is an effective device to create horror, but this is a soft spot for me – and I think a lot of other people, which is why I’m mentioning it. It had its place in the story, and it felt extremely real and authentic. It made me really sad and I would rather have not read it. I gave this book 3 stars because there were definitely some good points that I did like, and the cover is gorgeous and haunting, but also some things that I really didn’t like at all. I liked it but I didn’t love it.