Cover Image: When the Reckoning Comes

When the Reckoning Comes

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Member Reviews

A really interesting ghost story that takes place on a former plantation. I thought it would be more of a revenge horror story and while there is revenge, I was more horrified by the story that unfolds about what happened in the past, which I guess is the point.
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Plantations should not evoke revelry for anybody. Plantations housed the torment of the U.S.โ€™s peculiar institution of slavery and manufactured the selling and breeding of human property. Across southern states, we remember the ways our Black ancestors come to terms with being Black in America throughout history and present-day. However, LaTanya McQueen writes a debut novel that shakes up those dark, Southern histories in ๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™š๐™˜๐™ ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™จ and lets the ancestors speak when childhood friends Mira, Celine, and Jesse reconvene for a plantation-style wedding at Woodsman Plantation. In this new thriller, readers questions our own rendering of the past: โ€œThis place will get you if you stay. It'll find a way to own you foreverโ€ฆ it's only a matter of time before they come for us and they're coming to take their due.โ€

McQueenโ€™s social commentary on Black women and girls and hyperinvisibility, police brutality and racial profiling of black males, and the fetishization of plantation life as performance/entertainment is done brilliantly throughout the novel. Those experiencesโ€”the truth of living as a Black person/womanโ€”in this America never leaves us. The truth burrows itself deep into our soul, but not too far to oust itself out of view or to disrupt our memories. Like Mira, we knowโ€”โ€œFor black girls, terrors lurked everywhereโ€โ€”so the plantation just takes on new shapes in todayโ€™s America. Jesse says, โ€œit's hard to live with the truth of this world, so we ignore what we can. Choose not to look. We have to do it because otherwise we have to deal with the burden of knowing.โ€

๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™š๐™˜๐™ ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™จ has a great premise. There is an extremely slow burn, which makes it difficult for me to be fully spooked to enjoy this as a thriller. The suspense drags like a dead body in a sleeping bag. It had potential but lost me with the disjointed and confusing storyline. I was left with too many questions that needed answering. Overall, the story fell flat. Iโ€™d most definitely read another project by McQueen in the future though.

Rating: โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ (3.5)
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Mira left the North Carolina coastal town of Kipsen years ago hoping to escape her impoverished past and perhaps parts of herself. When an old white school friend Celine invites her to her wedding, on a renovated plantation, Mira is not interested until she learns that her best friend/ ome time crush Jesse would be there. Once on the plantation, Mira has to face the uncomfortable truths about her ancestral past and how that past reflects what will happen to her and all the guests in attendance when the past meets the presents in this really  solid Southern Gothic Horror tale. 
So much of this book was beautifully brought to life by the narrator Kara Young. She was just excellent. Her southern accents her narration of all the characters she gave them all their own distinct voices when their story was told. I honestly cannot compliment her enough. When parrs of the book got painful, her soothing narration kept me going. Just excellent.

When the Reckoning comes mentally took me to places where I did not expect to go, and that is a very good thing. Understanding the truth behind the lore/myths of Southern plantations is what makes this book essential reading for Southern Gothic lovers. Literally, the horror lies in the atrocities of human bondage and the pillage and plunder of Black bodies. Slightly flawed execution but genuinely fine writing and compelling storytelling When the Recoking Comes made for an excellent piece of suspenseful Southern Gothic Horror literature.
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The book is based around the real life oppression and racism of black slaves, which in itself is horrifyingly interesting, but the way the story is written seemed bland and the narrator read like she was bored, with a soft whispered voice. 
I think that I had liked it better if I had read a physics copy instead of the audiobook.

I would definitely give it a go for someone interest in historical horror fiction but only in hard copy. Other than that, it is not something that I will be listening to again but may give the hard copy a go and am interest to see some of the authorโ€™s non fiction books.
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Book Review: When The Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen @latanya.mcqueen 

How do we reconcile America's slave history? How do we reconcile with the continued injustices that are thrust upon Black people today? Who should pay for 400 years of enslavement, violence, terrorism and blood?

In LaTanya McQueen's When The Reckoning Comes a chilling Gothic horror we wrestle with those questions.

Two Black former childhood friends Mira and Jessie attend the plantation wedding of their white friend Celine. The plantation has been turned into a "replica" of it's former self. The history of the plantation is soaked in slave blood.Mira begins to see the true horrors of slavery play out right in front of her. Horrific scenes of slave torture committed by the former plantation owner. But the ancestors are crying out for justice and they want their payment in blood.

This books themes are so heavy and relevant. It is a graphic horror story but it also reflects the graphic and oh too real horror of slavery and issues we still wrestle with today. I applaud Ms McQueen for writing a book that doesn't shy away from depicting the truth about slavery and not the Gone With The Wind BS that America likes to believe. 

Thank you @harperperennial @harperaudio and @Netgalley for my gifted copies.
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When The Reckoning Comes is a gothic horror unlike any Iโ€™ve read before. It imbues all the doom of foggy moors, but with an even more horrifying setting than a victorian mansion: a southern American plantation. The haunting magnitude of the torture experienced on plantations throughout the south is embodied by the avenging spirits of murdered slaves on the Woodsman plantation. Not only is the anxiety palpable, but the roiling, unsettling, disturbed feelings brought on by the narratorโ€™s strong delivery make the audiobook a nail-biting listen. The writing was so visual, I kept seeing this tale of a modern plantation wedding turned ghost uprising into a movie. Iโ€™m sure Jordan Peele could do it justice. 

Warning: The depictions of slave torture were graphic and hard to take, but they served a clearly defined purpose. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the early listen.
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This a a really great book. As a white person, some parts felt uncomfortable, but that's a good thing sometimes. This book tackles some really gruesome stuff, and some parts are not for the faint of heart. If you like reading about the United States horrid past, or enjoy the uncomfortable space, I would read this. It really is a great book. Well written. Very poignant.
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How do we reckon with our collective history as a country where slavery and racist violence reigned supreme over the land? How do we reckon with our present upsurge in racist violence and broad whitewashing of our history? When will our past reckon with us?

That is the basis for McQueen's "When the Reckoning Comes" and what makes it such a thrilling read. I picked up the book, because I was reminded of Octavia Butler's "Kindred," but also because it places the reader in the middle of our current reality where plantations have become places of white joy and celebration, absent of the realization that these places still haunt the descendants of enslaved people. 

The intertwining lives of Mira, Celine, and Jesse are the embodiment of this conundrum that we now face as a country. But this book isn't overly didactic. It's a love story mixed with supernatural horror and a dash of mystery. I enjoyed the book as much as it made me reflect on our collective responsibility to remember lest we repeat. 

"When the Reckoning Comes" is already on order at my Library, and I would love to host the author... there's so much to discuss and so much to unpack in this well-written novel.
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*An ARC of this book was provided to me by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Moody and atmospheric. The author writes beautifully. This is a Southern Gothic Horror that might be a bit much in places for the Gothic fan and a bit slow in others for the Horror fan, but if you like both genres then you'll be satisfied. The pacing is a little uneven, the story drags in parts, and I wanted the climax to be more climactic, but when it was on it was really ON. This is a novel that focuses heavily on the atrocities of slavery in America so obviously all the content warnings for racism, bigotry, abuse/child abuse, rape, torture, other violence, mob mentality, murder, etc.
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Mira hasn't been back to her small southern town since she left for college. One of her high school friends is getting married and asks her to be there, but Mira has history with the wedding location. The resort is a remodeled plantation. When they were in high school, Mira and another friend, Jesse, went to the abandoned plantation. Mira saw a ghost and ran. Jesse was arrested for a murder that happened nearby on the same day. Jesse was released, but their friendship didn't survive.

The plantation is staffed almost exclusively by black people, though it's hard to believe anyone would voluntary work as a slave reenactor, working in the fields while white people watched. Mira, who is the primary narrator, is obsessed with the plantation and making amends with Jesse. She thinks of nothing else, but when she finally gets a chance to talk to him, she says they shouldn't dwell on the past.

Mira strikes me as self-centered and self-important. She refuses to see situations from another person's point of view, especially when she judges the bride for asking Jesse, an acquaintance by this point, to leave her rehearsal dinner, instead of asking her father to leave after he started an argument. In her conversations with other characters, it seems she has no interest in anyone else's input, and thinks that her way is the right way. This would be fine if she was written to be an unlikeable narrator, but it didn't seem like that's what the author was aiming for. Maybe she faces her hubris later in the book, but I didn't enjoy it enough to find out. I stopped reading at about 46%.

The audiobook narrator was pleasant enough to listen to at first. After a while, it gets distracting. She reads everything like it's deep and meaningful, which means none of the meaningful bits stand out.
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