Book Review of The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.

400 pages

Published: 1/5/21 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

ISBN: 9780593085684

Genre: Historical fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

*Click on photos to view original source.

“A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.”



Triggers: Rape, abuse (physical, mental, emotional), lynching, death / murder (adult and child), animal sacrifice, slavery, racism, manipulation, loss of a loved one. Proceed with caution.

This was a difficult book for me to rate, not that the rating of a book like this is important. The importance comes from the incredible messages this story delivers. The main issue, and probably the only issue, I had with this book was the confusion I felt after finishing a few of the chapters. I’m not a critical reader, and sometimes I feel like because of that I shouldn’t review books. There’s always a little bit of impostor syndrome in me. Regardless of what kind of reader I am, I couldn’t give this five stars due to the reason mentioned. I couldn’t quite catch on to the concept. I don’t know if I should know more biblical references to understand it, but this book didn’t really do anything to ease the confusion. But, it’s incredible other than that.

There are a lot of characters to follow with this one, so taking notes couldn’t hurt the reading experience. I didn’t get them confused at any point, which I can always appreciate with a story of this stature. I will note that you don’t only follow the slaves. Following the whites of the story is very cringe and rightfully so. It’s also hard to read as far as content. There were points where I wanted to put it down for good, but not in a “I hated the book” way. It’s just so heartbreaking that these events happened/still happen. If I could snap a finger and make it go away, I would.

I don’t want to forget to mention the highlight of the book, the LGBTQ+ representation. That’s mainly what the story is about—Samuel and Isaiah (The Two of Them). I don’t think we got to see enough of them and their relationship because there are so many characters, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t deeply care for them. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but the love and admiration they had for each other was commendable. Oh, the ending will get to you if you end up loving these characters. It’s a tragedy, for sure. I was actually prepared for that, and I hope that I can prepare you for that if you haven’t read this yet.

This won’t be a book that everyone will enjoy based on how it’s written, and the fact that it’s character-driven. Sometimes character-driven books aren’t for me, but this one was well done. It wasn’t my favorite part of this novel just because there were so many characters. I just appreciate the message and the honesty. It’s heartbreaking, harrowing, brutal, admirable, and powerful.

Is it revolutionary?

I would think that’s also based on preference. It’s not for me but it’s damn near. It just seemed so original from anything I’ve read. The writing itself isn’t hard to understand. There’s great description and dialogue. I read that some people thought it was slow, but I was flipping pages like a madman. The relationships between the characters are incredibly fleshed out. I think it’s an important novel for our modern day, and whether or not you enjoy it subjectively, it undoubtedly packs a punch.

My favorite quotes:

“She knew that they purchased everything except mercy.”

“The scars lined them the way bark lined trees. But those weren’t the worst ones. The ones you couldn’t see: those were the ones that streaked the mind, squeezed the spirit, and left you standing outside in the rain naked as birth, demanding that the drops stop touching you.”

“Water done wore away at her stone, and the next thing she knew, she was a damn river when she could have sworn she was a mountain.”

“Whenever and wherever nothing encounters something, conflict is inevitable.”

“But how? How could they not need more of everything: more love, more life, more time?”

“How dare nature continue on as though his suffering didn’t even make a dent, like the bloodshed and the bodies laid were ordinary, to be reduced to fertilizer by insects and sucked up by crops. No more than cow dung in the grand scheme. Same color, too.”

“There could never be peace, only moments in which war wasn’t overwhelming.”

“I ain’t rotten fruit; I a man.”

“No one would remember her name, but she had become a larger spirit now: head bigger, hips wider, and whatever the hurt. All the ones who had come before her simply pumping through her heart and they had found a place to be in the caverns of her throat. There, she recalled her voice.”

“Only one question: What to do when the cavalry arrives? Only one thing to do: With every drop of blood: Rebel!”

“Robert Jones, Jr., was born and raised in New York City. He received his BFA in creative writing with honors and MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York TimesEssenceOkayAfricaThe Feminist Wire, and The Grio. He is the creator of the social justice social media community Son of Baldwin. Jones was recently featured in T Magazine‘s cover story, “Black Male Writers of Our Time.” The Prophets is his debut novel.”

His website


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NetGalley November — Learning From My Mistakes

Hello, friends! I have a confession to make and I’m sure you all can tell from the title of this post. November is going to be dedicated to the (long) list of NetGalley books that I need to read. I’m not going to discuss the amount because I went through a phase when I first started blogging where I would request everything. I feel terrible about it, but I’m slowly trying to make up for that. I’m writing this so I can hold myself accountable. If you have books from NetGalley that you need to read then let this be motivation. You got this!

For the month of November, the majority of the books I read will be from my NetGalley checklist. I don’t want to put myself in a slump, so I’m not going to commit to only picking up NetGalley books. I have a good variety to choose from, and I’d say a lot of them have already been published, but I’ll do my best to make sure I balance the old with the upcoming. This will be a list of nine books I want to knock off of my list.

Thank you to all the publishers for the early digital copies in exchange for an honest review!

*click on images for the link to their Goodreads page*

“But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…”

Published: 11/5/19 by Avon

3.86 average rating on GR

369 pages

Genre: Romance (own voices)

“In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.”

Published: 8/20/19 by Celadon Books

4.06 average rating on GR

355 pages

Genre: Thriller

“An addicting and twisty debut about an apartment building devastated by the disappearance of a teenage girl–and by the secrets that won’t be kept behind each closed door–that will thrill fans of Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena.”

Publication: 2/16/21 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

4.50 average GR rating

304 pages

Genre: Suspense / Thriller

“Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.”

Published: 3/10/20 by William Morrow

4.05 average GR rating

373 pages

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

“A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.”

Publication: 1/12/21 by Tor.com

4.22 average GR rating

176 pages

Genre: Fantasy

“Showing that truth is stranger than fiction, Sylvain Neuvel weaves a scfi thriller reminiscent of Blake Crouch and Andy Weir, blending a fast moving, darkly satirical look at 1940s rocketry with an exploration of the amorality of progress and the nature of violence in A History of What Comes Next.”

Publication: 2/2/21 by Tor.com

3.11 average GR rating

304 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

“A middle grade fantasy adventure about a trio of royal siblings who unlock a long-forgotten magical language in their bid to reclaim their stolen throne.”

Published: 9/8/20 by Balzer + Bray

4.18 average GR rating

368 pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

“Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.”

Published: 8/6/19 by Avon

3.68 average GR rating

387 pages

Genre: Romance

“A hauntingly powerful novel about how the choices we make can stay with us forever, by the award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and 84K.”

Published: 11/12/19 by Orbit

3.74 average GR rating

420 pages

Genre: Fantasy


I love NetGalley and I’m so happy that it’s a resource readers can use, but sometimes it can get out of hand. Publishers allow you to read the novels early so you can review them and get the word out. It gives other readers something to go off of rather than going into a book blind. That’s why I want to do my best to read the books I requested. There are some on my checklist that I don’t want to read anymore, and I will figure out what I want to do when I get to them (there are only a few options). My end goal, really, is to get my percentage past 80, which is a lot of books. Wish me luck!

Do you use NetGalley or Edelweiss? Do you have a habit of requesting too many books at once or is it just me *nervous laughter*?


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NetGalley Checklist: Books Being Published in April

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Publication: 4/7/20 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

368 pages

ISBN: 9780593085424

Goodreads blurb:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut. 

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Publication: 4/7/20 by Atria Books

352 pages

ISBN: 9781982136116

Goodreads blurb:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Publication: 4/14/20 by Berkley

336 pages

ISBN: 9781984804938

Goodreads blurb:

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Publication: 4/21/20 by Viking

432 pages

ISBN: 9780525429760

Goodreads blurb:

The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her. 

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Publication: 4/21/20 by Ace: Berkley Pub

384 pages

ISBN: 9781984805997

Goodreads blurb:

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Publication: 4/28/20 by Berkley

384 pages

ISBN: 9780451491756

Goodreads blurb:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

Thank you to all of the publishers / NetGalley for the early digital copies! I also won The Big Finish in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads as well.

Let me know if any of you would be interested in the books being released each month on my NetGalley checklist! This way it would make these a decent length without listing ALL of them in one post.


If you enjoyed this, then give it a like and follow my blog. Be respectful and happy reading!

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