Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
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.
So I think I first came to know about this one via booktube? In any case, my weakness for any mythology meant that I had this one in the back of my mind. Then NetGalley had an e-ARC available to request and wonders of wonders I was given the chance to read it! So yay for that.
This is a near-future version of the US( I think) where the water levels are high enough that the world is in chaos. Maggie lives in one of the few places safe enough to live, it used to be a Navajo reservation and now it’s a haven from the Big Water. In this timeline, the gods and monsters are back in this world and Maggie works hard to get rid of them by hunting them. There’s a lot of magic and monsters and the most important thing is that it’s all based on Navajo folklore/legend.
The very beginning of the book sets the tone for the book, a mother asks Maggie if her child can be saved from the monster that’s stolen her and Maggie answers in the only way possible. She says that she can only find the child, there’s no guarantee of the child being saved because that’s the sort of horror they live through. It also says a lot about Maggie, she’s pragmatic but she also has such ideas about the things that are touched by magic or anything even remotely dark.
Maggie isn’t an easy character to like and that’s where Rebecca Roanhorse’s writing shines because she’s not perfect, her flaws are very vividly obvious and there’s a valid reason for her to be the way she is. It’s not excusable but there’s a reason. Her journey through the trauma and towards healing really works brilliantly. I wasn’t too keen on the romance side of things but I almost never am, it’s my flaw rather than the author’s flaw. Also, I could see it coming from miles away which sort of gives away a part of the plot. Oh, well. I still liked the clan powers part of Maggie’s story though! How it makes her a Living Arrow, basically makes her really great at killing. I know, it sounds a bit dodgy but the world these characters live in, that’s a good power to have.
While the plot itself isn’t terribly important to the story, it’s the characters that drew me in and made me stay in the world of chaos. Maggie with her ability to make me want to shake her repeatedly and also at the same time, me being in awe of her abilities and her strength. Kai with his own brand of charm, Tah being kinda awesome and yet a meddling parent figure, even the mother in the earlier part of the book made an impact that lasted till the very last moment of the book.
I have to admit that while everything was absolutely entertaining and fun to read and it was a great book on its own, I must say my interest in the mythology of the Sixth World kept me hooked to the book and maybe the characters themselves because as far as the plot is concerned, it’s kinda taken the easy route. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, it works in this one! I am just greedy and want all the things.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would definitely be picking up anything else that comes written by this author, just to see if it’s just as awesome. Also, a puzzling thing that I noticed, it’s shelved as young adult but after reading it, I really don’t think it should categorized as such. At best, maybe new adult but definitely not young adult. Oh, well.