Title: Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1)
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: June 26th 2018 from Saga Press
Format: Kindle ARC
* I was auto approved for this ARC through the publisher on NetGalley. But this doesn’t influence my opinion. All thoughts are my own and no quotes will be used*
Goodreads 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.
I heard about this upcoming novel earlier this year on a Booktube channel that I can’t remember but I was immediately intrigued by this Native American fantasy book. So when I saw that I was auto approved to read this, I couldn’t help myself. So here’s the breakdown of my feelings on this book:
- Native American centered story: Seriously, how cool is this?! You get a fantasy world where practically all the characters are Native American. You see the use of the Navajo (I believe that’s that what the author used) language and all the clan names and culture. I’ve only known one person whose Native American but I never asked him much about his culture since I did know how him long. But this was so refreshing to get a new fantasy world where it’s mythology you don’t know about. It made things interesting and never went stale, compared to the many European centered fantasy books.
- Cool Magic & Mythology: Still going off of the Native American culture, I loved seeing how they describe and use their magic, or “clan powers” as they say it in the book. I won’t give anything away, but I loved seeing how they view magic, the monsters you face as well as the plot surrounding a creepy monster Maggie comes across. There’s so much to be shown in future books as well.
- Side Characters: Oh man, Tah and Kai are so close to my heart! Tah is an old medicine man that helps and cares for Maggie like a granddaughter and Kai is his blood grandson. They are optimistic, lively and help Maggie see the side of herself she has a hard time seeing. Kai was a great love interest/partner to Maggie and I kinda wished the story was from his POV since he was so awesome.
- World Building: This is a post-apocalyptic version of our world, where a huge flood covered most of the land and a lot the population perished. So while it feels a little like a dystopian, you feel the magic woven into this world with Native American mythical and god like figures walking the Earth. The author did a great job at showing the effects of this massive disaster in describing little towns, people’s attitudes and describing a setting to show you what’s been lost and what remains. You don’t travel much in this world, but the author gives great details that leaves you wanting more in a great way!
- Accessibility: I know there are people who read a lot of YA but feel intimidated by a lot of adult fantasy and sci-fi due to the longer books out there. But this is very accessible adult fantasy like those of Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher and James Islington. This book is under 400 pages but still packs a lot of cool action, world and magic to draw YA readers in. This is one to really check out if you’re wanting to dip into more adult SFF (science fiction and fantasy).
- Ending: The last 15-20% of this book went in a direction I wasn’t really expecting. You kinda get a hint of foreshadowing in the beginning of what could happen, but the author took things in an action packed and even a bit emotional conclusion to set up the next one. You see some complicated relationships, trust issues and major questions still to be answered and the ending made my enjoyment of this book skyrocket to what it was originally.
- Maggie’s Story Arc: While I know Maggie’s full character development is far from over, I like how she started growing in the end. She’s appropriately shocked at some things that she learns and she becomes more fleshed out as she deals with her circumstances. Her realizations made me relate to her a bit more and I hope her character arc will keep going in a hopeful direction.
- Quickly developed romance: This isn’t a huge con, but I do think that Maggie and Kai started getting romantically involved too early, since this is a series. At first, there’s feelings of a hesitant platonic relationship and that felt more authentic with Maggie’s sometimes harsh personality. I wish it had stayed that way. I do “ship” them, but it happened too quickly for me.
- Getting used to Maggie: I definitely had to warm up to Maggie at first. I understand all the stuff that she’s been through to make her the person she is when the book starts, but because of that, she felt kinda one note sometimes. So I wasn’t rooting for her specifically all the time, but luckily that started to change. I’m sure some won’t have a problem with how much of a tough woman she is, but I wasn’t quite there for it.
- Pacing?: I’m not quite sure how to say this, but there were parts where there was too much talking and not enough action. I felt like the pacing was a tiny bit weird for me because so much of “getting to point A, then B and then C” for quite a while and the plot would kinda stop and a lot of talking would take place. I also wanted the action to be a bit more intense and high stakes for most of the book, but I have confidence that future volumes will be better.
Overall: I totally recommend this book! Go request it on NetGalley or the publisher if you can before it releases. It’s a refreshing and exciting fantasy series with loads of potential and some great magic and characters. While a couple aspects fell a bit short, other things made up for it and I hope there will be ARCs for book two!
Have you heard of this fantasy book? Do you know of any Native American literature to recommend? What fantasy books that focus on different mythology that you liked?