Cherokee author Andrea L. Rogers follows the harrowing history of one family's encounters with both anthropogenic and preternatural horrors in her intricate, chilling YA collection of 18 stories, Man Made Monsters. Illustrations by Cherokee artist and language technologist Jeff Edwards bring an additional layer of stark gravity to Rogers's hair-raising episodes.
The opening story, "An Old-Fashioned Girl," picks up in the middle of the Wilson family's flight to Indian Territory in 1839, "chased by human monsters, monsters who lived on blood and sorrow." Their deadly run-in with a mysterious well-dressed man sets the stage for generations of supernatural encounters. A boy in 1866 receives the intervention of fairy-like people reminiscent of the Nunnehi in "An Un-Fairy Story." A news article details a standoff between two Cherokee soldiers and a fearsome beast in "Hell Hound in No Man's Land." A young woman strikes up an unusual romance with a Goat Boy in Texas one summer in the late 1960s.
Rogers's roster of monsters draws from a diverse pool of horror genre standards, cryptids and Cherokee stories. Her disarmingly direct prose leaps nimbly between points of view, each protagonist a beautifully realized individual. Rogers integrates Cherokee words seamlessly throughout the text, along with Spanish and German where historically appropriate. Edwards's illustrations, white on black backgrounds, often incorporate the Cherokee syllabary, words running up the throat of a cat with a knowing expression and through the workings of a sinuous human heart. Teen and adult readers looking for a taste of the gorgeously gruesome should snap up this dark, engrossing jewel. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library