Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Over the summer, a beloved friend came to visit for the weekend. When she arrived, she was reading this book, and she told me many times over the weekend how much I would love the story. As she was leaving, she said she’d send it to me to borrow when she was done, but before she had a chance to send it I picked it up at the library because I trust this friend when it comes to books. She has never steered me wrong.

Crawling into bed to read Friday night, I gobbled up the first three chapters, glaring at the clock as it reminded me I had to get up early in the morning. I sat down Saturday afternoon, once I’d gotten all my NaNoWriMo business out of the way, and immersed myself more deeply in the apocalyptic world Rebecca Roanhorse set Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World). It didn’t seem like a long time passed before my husband notified me dinner was ready, but when I looked up at the clock two hours had been lost to me as I followed the main character, Maggie Hoskie, on her journey through the desert hunting monsters with her new partner, Kai.

As mentioned above, this story is set in the wake of a climate apocalypse. Rising waters swallow North America, cutting Dinétah and its people off from civilization. Their lands walled in all sides, a fortunate bit of foresight building those walls, they are safe… well… as safe as one can be in a world altered by disasters. Gods and heroes from Diné legends walk the earth, which is good thing because so do monsters.

Maggie is a monster hunter–not the Monsterslayer of legend, mind, but she trained with him, and she’s got a bit of a reputation of her own, and besides that’s another story entirely–and when she comes face to face with a creature unlike any she’s ever seen before, it reeks of magic reminiscent of witches. Witches like the those who killed her grandmother and made Maggie herself a monster.

As a character, Maggie is complicated in all the right ways, making her identifiable and sympathetic. She’s hard, the wall around her layers thick, and the reasons she built that wall more palpable than you could imagine. I fell in love with her voice almost immediately, and, well… like I said above, hours were lost in that weird and beautiful way they tend to be while reading a really good book.

Highly recommend Trail of Lightning because while there have been bajillions of apocalyptic books over the decades, many of them rife with zombies, Roanhorse took the apocalypse and turned it on its ear in a fabulous way.

Five out of five stars, and now I wait for the sequel, Storm of Locusts, which is scheduled for an April 2019 release, but gods that feels like forever away.

 

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