Title: Trail of Lightning
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Publisher: Saga Press
Blurb: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
Guess who finally read this book!?
Friends, it was a whirlwind to get this book in my hands. I heard so much hype about it and I really wanted to read it (and, after it got nominated for a Hugo, the desire only increased). But every time I stopped by the bookstore, they were out of copies (and I really wanted to own this one). Finally, I relented and rented it from my library, who has never failed me. <3
Now, usually, the library gives me a check out period of three weeks. I’m not sure if perhaps it’s due to the high demand or what, but Trail of Lightning was on a shortened check out period (I think only two weeks, instead of three?), so, of course, after waiting for five people to read it before me, I don’t realize until the day before it’s due back at the library (with a waiting list already growing) that it’s, um, well, due, and guess who hadn’t even started it yet, because I was still finishing the behemoth of a novel Seven Shades in Black?
So, I may have decided to keep the book an extra two days and just cough up the $0.45 owed for keeping it longer than I promised I would.
I am really sorry to the person next in line, who had to wait a little longer to get this book in their hands. But I do promise it’s worth the wait.
Trail of Lightning was such a unique urban fantasy that I read at the perfect time, since I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout 76 and Borderlands recently, so an apocalyptic setting was definitely a mood I was in.
I won’t lie: it did take me a little bit to get into (but honestly, totally because I was still reeling from the ending of Seven Shades in Black, so ANY book I read after it was going to take a bit for me to get into). About midway through, I was thinking, “This is prolly a high 3.5 star out of me, perhaps a 4. Quality way to spend the afternoon, totally understand the hype.”
But then I devoured the last 150 pages in one sitting, while nesting at a Noodles and Company, risking a parking ticket because I’d definitely gone over the two hour limit of being downtown (thanks to running some errands before lunch) but I’ll be damned if I was going to get up and move my car after that reveal; after what Maggie Hoskie did.
NO ONE PREPARED ME FOR THAT ENDING OR THOSE FEELINGS.
So, yeah, that ending solidly brought this up to a 4.5/5 read for me.
If this frugal paycheck-to-paycheck woman is paying library late fees and risking parking lot tickets, you know this book is good.
Reading a book where indigenous lives and indigenous culture are completely in the forefront, the focus and the heart of this story, was new to me and I loved it. It’s a culture I should know more about, but don’t, so it was really enjoyable to get a glimpse into it, even amidst this apocalyptic setting. Which, the setting might have been one of my favorite aspects. I definitely felt the depth of a world, even though we were only ever in one place–Dinétah–and some of the creatures Maggie fought seriously freaked me the fuck out.
Maggie, at times, I struggled with a little bit. Mostly because I was SUCH a fan of Kai from the beginning and I just wanted her to give him a chance instead of pining after Neizgháni, because she deserved so much better and Kai was that for her (which, I’m sure you can understand, if you’ve read this already, is why the ending left me with a lot of feelings). But I also couldn’t help but respect Maggie so much and I couldn’t blame how she responded in the least, especially as I learned more about her…even if it annoyed me, at times.
I do wish it was a little more in-depth (and longer). The pacing was wicked-fast, which helped it stay a page-turner, but I kinda would have liked to get inside Maggie’s head more, spend more time in this very interesting world and really get to experience it, before moving on to the next best battle or hurdle.
Of course, I also read 700+ books on the daily, so reading something that was less than 300 pages was different for me.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I totally understand why the hype is there and you bet I am going to not make the mistake of waiting to read Storm of Locusts any longer than the library asks me to (but oh my, those glorious queues already).