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.
This is the urban fantasy series I’ve been waiting for. So original, such wonderful world-building, and with interesting, fully fleshed out characters. I’m trying to think of anything else like this in the genre today.
Trail of Lightning is Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut novel and also the first book in her The Sixth World series. I had heard it referred to as sort of a “Indigenous Mad Max”, which is what caught my attention and had me hitting the request button as soon as it came up for review. Its heroine Maggie (Magdelena) Hoskie is a hunter of the monsters who have come into the world since it was drowned in the Big Water Apocalypse. The gods knew of the upcoming danger and protected its people by having them build a wall around their lands. The Dinetah are now safe behind those walls, but their monsters are back among them.
Maggie has a tragic backstory, as do so many of our revered fantasy heroines, filled with death, pain, and loneliness. After the grisly, tragic murder of her grandmother, Maggie was taken in as an apprentice by the legendary Dine hero Neizghani. This is clearly an abusive relationship and it looms over Maggie’s thoughts and actions throughout the entire book. While she is powerfully gifted with clan powers, and physically strong and able, her history and experiences with Neizghani have left her doubting herself and her goodness. There were times I wondered if she might also have touches of PTSD.
The plot itself focused on the search for a witch creating some of the monsters Maggie is hunting. She is teamed up with a medicine man named Kai, who has his own secrets and clan powers. They form a team and honestly, I was just as intrigued by Kai and how his power played so well with Maggie’s, while being completely opposite. I liked them together and am hoping with everything in my being that we’ll see them together in the next book in the series.
There was literally nothing I didn’t like about this book. I was deeply engaged from the moment I picked it up, right up until the very end. The action scenes are well written, the characters fully fleshed out, and the world-building is amazing. This underground Navajo world was fascinating. Every single description and detail felt fully authentic. I had no idea what was going to happen next until the big, fiery conclusion which I never saw coming and which left me a little shocked and surprised. But I do know that if I’d have had the second book in the series I would have opened it up immediately to see what comes next. Highly recommend. Final Grade- B+
“Being a hero’s not about being perfect. It’s about doing the right thing, doing your best to get the people you care about home safely. You were willing to sacrifice yourself to do that. I don’t care what you say to try to negate that–I was there. I saw it.”