cover image Man Made Monsters

Man Made Monsters

Andrea L. Rogers, illus. by Jeff Edwards. Levine Querido, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64-614179-1

Spanning generations, Rogers (Mary and the Trail of Tears) recounts the past, present, and future trials and tribulations of one Cherokee family in this spine-tingling horror collection. Though the stories presented can stand alone, each tale, arranged in chronological order, follows members of the Wilson family as they navigate myriad supernatural and real-life terrors. Opening the volume is “An Old-Fashioned Girl,” in which 16-year-old Ama Wilson is turned into a vampire while she and her family flee from Texas Rangers in 1839. Mythical creatures such as ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and even aliens abound, but most threatening are monsterlike men who kidnap, abuse, and murder Native women. Striking white line art on black backgrounds by Cherokee artist Edwards introduce each story, containing the tribe’s syllabary, adding to the haunting atmosphere, and synthesizing handwritten language with stunning visuals. While Rogers expertly crafts gripping grisly horror elements and cataclysmic paranormal phenomena via a deep understanding and appreciation for her Cherokee ancestry, the narrative’s strength lies in its powerful prose and thematic core: “How different were zombies from the soldiers and settlers who wanted our land?” Fresh, crisply written text, which alternates between first-, second-, and third-person tellings, artfully tackles themes of colonialism and its effects on entire generations, for a simultaneously frightening and enthralling read. A glossary and extensive family tree are included. Ages 12–up. Agent: Emily Sylvan Kim, Prospect Agency. (Oct.)