Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

Book - 2018
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"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 best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine. Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive." --amazon.com.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Saga Press,, [2018]
Edition: First Saga Press hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781534413498
1534413499
9781534413504
1534413502
Branch Call Number: F Roanhorse
Characteristics: 287 pages ;,24 cm

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JGengler
Mar 15, 2020

Great concept, rich untapped mythological backing, horrible writing.

The dialog is mostly super clunky and unrealistic exposition. Like a doctor explaining to a traffic cop that red means stop on a stoplight.

Characterization is thin and shifts whenever necessary for the scene. For example, after a few sentences explaining how the protagonist isn't a cook and spends most dinners with a can of beans over the sink, it just so happens she has a bowlful of fresh fry-bread dough to cook up and serve to her guests.

The male protagonist is a shallow character written with a lot of focus on physical characteristics who falls head over heals for the protagonist for no good reason. While this gender-swapped male-author-writes-female-characters trope would be amusing if it was deliberate satire, it doesn't seem like it was intentional commentary on the trope, just poor writing.

It shoehorns in some digs against society's lack of response to global warming, but really undercuts its own message by having a supernatural apocalypse that would have happened no matter what humans did.

It was very disappointing to see such great potential go to waste

ArapahoeTina Mar 09, 2020

I really wanted to like this book more. I loved the idea of a dystopian world set on a Navajo reservation, but this just didn't all come together for me. I'm still grateful for unique voices in publishing and think this book could have wide appeal with those who don't have seriously high expectations for their sci-fi!

s
Sam_Stewart
Feb 27, 2020

I tore through this book! Thankfully the sequel has already been released.

The book has a strong female lead. the story is fast-paced and action packed with elements of world building. If you like apocalyptic themes, then I recommend this post-apocalyptic fantasy based in Navajo legends.

l
LadyDi52
Feb 05, 2020

Not for the squeamish. The blood splattering details almost made me put it down, but the magical aspect of the story hooked me! I kept wondering how a woman could have written this, it's so much about weapons, and killing, and butchery. I was disappointed with the end. Some of the dialogue is really good, and I like novels told from the woman's point of view, where she's not just "the girlfriend" of the hero.

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Dec 10, 2019

I can't get enough of this gritty post-apocalyptic novel with a tough woman lead who struggles with trauma, healing, and also monster-slaying. Maggie learns to own her power, let go of toxic love, and let her chosen family help her beat the monsters threatening her land. Plus amazing Diné (Navajo) mythology woven intricately into the plot, plus amazingly diverse cast of characters? Just the best.

I would recommend this to fans of dystopian or post-apocalypse fiction. The second book, Storm of Locusts, came out this year, and the next two are already set to be released in 2020 and 2021 respectively, plus Roanhorse has a Navajo-inspired middle grades fantasy coming out very soon from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. She's won several awards for Trail of Lightning and I'll be following everything she writes for sure!

d
DonnaMeness
Nov 29, 2019

Fantastic, similar to Jane Yellowrock series except she is Cherokee .

Good Hopi storyline, makes me think of Thomas Banyacya..

https://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/15/us/thomas-banyacya-89-teller-of-hopi-prophecy-to-world.html

. He was 89 and the last of four messengers named by Hopi elders in 1948 to warn the world of impending doom.

The 15,000 or so Hopis are a small nation, but their sense of burden is great. According to a 900-year-old religious tradition, the Great Spirit Maasau'u, Guardian of the Earth, assigned them the duty of preserving the natural balance of the world and entrusted them with a series of ominous prophecies warning of specific threats and providing guidance on how to avoid them.

The prophecies remained a secret oral tradition until 1948, when Hopi religious leaders, alarmed by reports of the atomic bomb's mushroom cloud, which they saw as the destructive ''gourd of ashes'' foretold in the prophecies, appointed Mr. Banyacya and three others as messengers to reveal and interpret the prophecies to the outside world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOmqH9gRH3Q

TSCPL_Miranda Oct 28, 2019

I wanted to like this more than I did. Great concept, and loved the Navajo mythology, but the plot really dragged and I almost abandoned it several times.

l
loriling
Sep 18, 2019

Really enjoyed the protagonist and the weaving of Navajo myth/ gods/ creatures. I'm pretty sure, that I'm not pronouncing any of these words correctly in my head. I think the story is more fantasy than sci-fi and looking forward to Book 2 because there's such a cliffhanger. The cover art is gorgeous!

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 03, 2019

I really enjoyed this post-apocolyptic fantasy/horror featuring characters from Native American lore. Looking forward to reading the sequel.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "'Trail of Lightning' was preordered around two months in advance and I would have waited triple that amount for this book if I had to. It’s steeped in Native American (namely Navajo) mythology, badassery, and lots and lots of violence. If you’re sensitive to graphic, gritty details, this book is not for you."

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/trail-lightning-rebecca-roanhorse/

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Quotes

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ArapahoeTina Apr 24, 2020

“You know people who love you don't hurt you like that," he says, eyes steady on me. "Love's not supposed to try to kill you.”

ArapahoeTina Apr 24, 2020

“Everything you've done, your past, it's all just a story you tell yourself. Some of it is true, but some of it is lies.”

ArapahoeTina Apr 24, 2020

“Everything you've done, your past, it's all just a story you tell yourself. Some of it is true, but some of it is lies.”

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ArapahoeTina Mar 31, 2020

ArapahoeTina thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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SPL_Melanie Jun 03, 2019

The Sixth World series is getting better with each volume! Book Two, Storm of Locusts, has just been released, following up on 2017’s Trail of Lightning. This apocalyptic dark fantasy is written by an Indigenous woman from the States, and features a world in which cataclysmic climate change has altered the shape of the world. Most of the coastal areas are gone, and what’s left has reverted to chaotic rule.

Meanwhile, Dinétah (or the former Navajo reservation) has been saved by the wall that was built around it in the old days as a racist measure; it kept out the floods and Dinétah is a relatively safe place. Except for the resurgence of the old gods and monsters of Navajo legend.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. She’s been trained in violent techniques that aim to rid the people of these cannibalistic, terrifying monsters. And along the way she meets and fights and is mentored by varied demigods. While she searches for the victims of different attacks, she’s also dealing with betrayals in her personal life, and the appearance of a potential new relationship.

In book one Maggie forms new alliances with fellow Dinétah residents and faces down her previous mentor, now an adversary. At the end of that story we’re left wondering if Maggie did the right thing in a final showdown. And in book two, we find out.

This time around Maggie has to face the world outside the wall – some of her new friends have been drawn away by a mysterious cult leader, and with her actual job being to track down gods and monsters she must investigate. In this fast-paced story, Roanhorse draws an even more detailed view of the Sixth World from both inside and outside of Dinétah, and it makes for exciting, complex storytelling.

If you are ready for something fresh, thrilling, and imaginative, full of Indigenous characters and social commentary, albeit with a hefty dose of violent action and some sexual content, this is a fantastic new series. Those who’ve enjoyed other dark urban fantasy such as Eden Robinson’s Trickster series are sure to find this series an appealing read.

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