January 16, 2019

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:36 pm by suebe2

Trail of Lightning
by Rebecca Roanhorse
Saga Press

Outside the wall, much of the world is now underwater, drowned beneath rising seas brought on by climate change.  Within the wall, Dinetah has been transformed.  What was once the Navajo Reservation in the four corners (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado), is now a land overrun by magic.

That wouldn’t be all bad except some of this magic comes in the form of monsters and monsters can kill you.  Maggie Hoskie doesn’t want to use her clan powers but if anyone else goes after the monster that just snatched a young girl they will almost certainly end up dead. Maggie has speed and a fighting skill gifted by her clans and even she ends up getting chewed on. When Maggie learns that a witch created this particular monster and others like it, she reluctantly goes on the hunt.

At her side is an unconventional medicine man, Kai Arviso.  Maggie isn’t sure what it is about Kai but something makes him unique.  Just a few years older than her (she’s in her teens), Kai is just too shiny and pretty for the dusty land of Dinetah.  And a man who won’t fight?  Maggie worries he might be worse than useless until he manages to talk them out of a fix that could have easily been deadly.

This isn’t a young adult novel but it does have a teen protagonist that many young women will love.  She’s strong but flawed and by the end of book one realizes that she cannot stand alone.

Yes, book one.  This is the first in the Sixth World series.  Dinetah as portrayed by Roanhorse is postapocalyptic. Drinking and the wild life are still a thing but alcohol is even more important for fueling vehicles like Maggie’s truck. I guess now is as good a time as any to admit that I picked the book up because of the truck.  Don’t judge.

But I’m also a sucker for books set in the SW and with strong first nations characters like Maggie and Kai.  This is definitely a world I want to revisit.  I can’t say that I’m an expert on Dine (Navajo) culture but I was glad that I know as much as I do when Roanhorse unapologetically dropped in place names and various terms.  That said, it won’t be too much for devoted fantasy fans who are used to walking unfamiliar paths as they get to know new characters and worlds.

Maggie, Kai and Dinetah?  Definitely worth getting to know.

–SueBE

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