Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada, Saga Press
Pub Date: June 26, 2018
After most of the world is destroyed by the Big Water, humanity is struggling to survive. But Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has risen up. In the Sixth World, monsters walk the world, but so do the gods and heroes of legends.
Maggie Hoskie is a supernaturally gifted Dinétah monster hunter, and as she struggles to put her life back together after her mentor abandons her, she accepts a job to find a lost girl. After encountering a monster unlike anything she's seen before, she turns to Tah, an Elder and good friend for answers. After she reluctantly accepts the aid of unconventional Medicine Man Kai Arviso, she finds herself hot on the trail of a monster worse than she can imagine and is forced to face her past and all of her worst fears.
Note: I received an ARC of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is described as an “Indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road.” This description is perfect.
I 110% needed a salty, bad-ass Navajo protagonist in my life. Maggie is wonderful. Oh and did I mention that she’s a monster slayer? There’s a lot to love about her, but most of all she’s a wonderfully flawed protagonist. She makes terrible decisions, misses some obvious things, but does so in a wonderfully human and relatable way. Most of all, Maggie’s voice grabbed me right from the get-go and made me want to pay attention and follow her and her growth as a character. And yes, she is a character that has amazing growth throughout the book as she deals with her trauma and starts to grow up.
The world is brought to life in a wonderfully vivid way, with complex characters that had conflicting and hidden motivations. I have to admit that I cheered when Coyote showed up. Coyote stories are always my favourite and Roanhorse’s depiction of him is amazing. Everything about the world is seamless, and at no point does it feel like a history lesson or a lecture. The world is real and the characters live in it, end of story, no talking down to the reader about it. I am so excited for Roanhorse’s next books, because I needed to be embroiled in an unapologetically indigenous world, and especially one with such an empowering protagonist.
The plot is lightning quick and works perfectly with the immediacy created by the first person present tense narration. It was nearly impossible to put down, and if sleep hadn’t been a physical necessity, I would have read the book in one sitting (that might happen still, cause I can’t wait to read it again - if I hadn’t have needed to adult, I might have just started it over again right there.)
My one complaint (and it’s minor cause I forgave it by the end of the book) was the depiction of Kai and Neizghání, (like why are they both so gorgeous? - though this is a classic Cheyanne complaint haha, so maybe ignore if it that’s the sort of thing you like). It’s one thing that will make me pause in a book and sigh loudly. I get it. They’re hot. But really, it was a minor annoyance. No spoilers, but I promise by the end I wasn’t thinking about that, I was too busy cheering for Maggie, because her character growth is spot on.
I recommend the book to absolutely everyone and their dog. And no I will not stop talking about it, cause this Nêhiyaw iskwêw (Cree woman) is so excited to have a super badass native protagonist to love. (Is this what fan-girling feels like? Cause I think I’m fan-girling).
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