Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

3 out of 5

Synopsis
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.



Review
Maggie is a Monsterslayer, trying not to become the monster. Hunting down a new threat, she finds herself partnered with a guy that seems too good to be true; and an immortal that has more than mischief on his mind.

I received a free copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

In a post-apocalyptic world, where the everybody has lost somebody to the Big Water, the country is a lawless place.
The story follows Maggie Hoskie, a young woman who happens to be a professional monster hunter. Her clan powers were awoken after an attack on her family, and she became an apprentice to an immortal hero. Now going alone, she takes on jobs that help to satisfy her bloodlust and keep the evil part of her at bay.
One straightforward job leads to something bigger, as Maggie suspects someone is behind this new and hard-to-kill monster.

Kai is the grandson of Maggie's close friend Tah. When he turns up unexpectedly, his Big Medicine clan magic is bound to come in very handy. He's the picture of charm and sophistication, Kai's so shiny he stands out wherever he goes. As the mission continues, he starts to show his true self, as he gets closer to Maggie.

I love the world that Roanhorse has created. It has Native American main characters and the plot is driven by clan powers and mythology. It felt solid and wonderfully authentic.
This story also felt like a futuristic Western, as Maggie, new boy Kai, and occasionally her reluctant band of gunmen, ride across the state on missions and shout-outs.

The not-so-good.
This felt very disjointed. It's hard to explain - each chapter built towards the overall plot arc; but I don't think anyone informed Maggie and Kai. Yes, the Coyote wants them to do a job and is pulling their strings, but they dawdle and dither, going back to the start repeatedly. The characters just weren't pro-active - if I'd hired Maggie to do a job, I'd be pissed too.

The twists were fairly good, but again, it felt disconnected to the story. The big fight scene at the end felt somewhat chaotic, so when the twists happened, I was too distracted to be surprised.

Overall, this was a great idea. This is Roanhorse's debut, and I would be interested to see how her writing develops.

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