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Monday, May 20, 2019

Trail of Lightning: The Sixth World, Book One by Rebecca Roanhorse

I've been itching to read a good fantasy novel for a while. My book group meets tomorrow night, and we have chosen to read a book that is either written by a Native American author, or has a Native American theme. I took this as as opportunity to find a fantasy novel with a Native American theme, and found this very creative and well written first in a series by Rebecca Roanhorse. 

Set in the near future, the world as we know it has been destroyed by the Big Water, which pretty much wiped out much of the United States, caused an energy war, and has reborn the Navajo Nation, known as the Dinetah.  

Gods and heroes of the Dinetah are real, and so are monsters. Maggie is a monsterslayer. She's young, beyond tough, and has a huge ax to grind. And you can't blame her one bit for it. Surviving a horrific night of torture and the death of her beloved grandmother, her clan powers are ignited: she is one who kills. The power rushes into her, she sees just how she will kill and she does it with skill, strength, and some supernatural power. She's also feared, alone, and nursing a broken angry heart from her mentor and lover, Neizghani-a God himself. 

Maggie is called on to hunt down and rescue a little girl snatched from her home by a monster. This begins Maggie's journey to find out who is creating these monsters, and why. Visiting Tah, her medicine man "grandfather", she meets Kai Arviso, who is Tah's actual grandson, and someone who has clan powers of his own. What they are...well, you'll have to read to find out. Together Kai and Maggie venture out into a hostile land to stop the monsters from terrorizing and killing across Dinetah, and stop whomever or whatever is creating them. 

There's much more to this, of course. But I have to leave you plenty to discover on your own. I read this in stops and starts, and I wish I'd read it in bigger chunks and a shorter amount of time. I enjoyed it-it's pretty dark. The world is not a good place. I kept hearing the end music from Terminator in my head, as Sarah Connor is driving towards the mountains and the growing storm. Da da dada da. Da da dada da.  I found the Navajo culture and mythology fascinating, and the idea that clan powers are real and something that is handed down through the generations, and a gift to be honored, no matter what form it takes. 

I will read the second in the series, since book one leaves you wanting answers. Book two is Storm of Locusts, and more adventures for Maggie Hoskie await. I like Maggie. She's so tough, but inside there's an insecure young girl who wants peace and love, and is afraid she's not worthy of either of them. She both embraces her clan powers, and loathes them.  I'm really hoping her further adventures with Kai will lead her to a better place. 

Rating:  4/6 for a new series that centers on the Navajo people, a post-apocalyptic world where fuel and water are in short supply, and gods and monsters are very, very real. If you like mythology, you'll like this series. 

Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio.

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