Trail of Lightning // It Was Spectacular

26 November 2019

Published: 28th November 2019 (UK)
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopian
My Rating:
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, unravelling clues from ancient legends, trading favours 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.

Welcome to the Sixth World.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book was spectacular.

I could not get enough of this book, but it did take me a little while to get into it. In fact, I was not in the mood for this book when I first started it but it was an ARC due for the end of November and I knew that I needed to get to reading it. When I started it, I knew the writing was good, I got the vibe from the book, but I still felt a little meh about it as I wasn’t in the mood and wasn’t sucked in to the story. By Thursday/Friday I did a mega 180 attitude change and I was hooked.

I started this after DNFing To Kill A Queen. I was so excited about reading that book, I had hyped it up in my mind and it fell totally flat. I’m saying this because I was in a negative mood starting this book so I did need to work to get out of that mood and it may have influenced my initial thoughts on this one. Once I gave this book a proper chance and stopped dipping in and out of it, I was hooked and it was so good. I’d been excited to read it before, ever since it was released in the US, in fact. It has been on my radar and I’m so glad I braved it and requested this because this was so worth it and I’m just glad I got approved!

My negative mood was not the only thing stopping me from getting totally into this book. This is book is set in the Dinetah (the former Navajo reservation) and most of the characters are Native Americans from various clans and it is written by Rebecca Roanhorse who is a Native American author. I admit, I know nothing about Native American culture and so I need a whole education, but I was thrown by the various words and terms in the book which were Navajo but I didn’t know them or understand them and I hope that the finished book has some kind of glossary of terms which can be used for reference when reading because I kind of needed that. I will be going to the shop to try and get a physical copy so I will check that out in the final copy. My arc didn’t and it would have been nice… it wasn’t a deal-breaker, though. I mean, I figured it out, I’m a smart cookie, but it relied on my ability to remember words. It wasn’t a must-have but it would have been nice.

Now I’ve gone on about the background a little maybe I should talk about the character and the actual book. The book focuses on Maggie, a monster hunter. She defined herself as a hunter and a killer, especially a killer. She was a bit of a recluse and was hurting after her mentor (and the man she loved) abandoned her with no word almost a year ago. She had a whole heap of emotional scars from her past and was quite happy being left alone. She was dragged into a monster mystery when a clan called upon her for help when a girl was kidnapped from her bed by a monster and they wanted Maggie to rescue her. Once she got dragged into this mystery she needed to follow it through and find out who started all of this. Especially when she found the monster and didn't recognise what kind of monster it was so turns to Tah, the one man who she thinks may have an idea of what monster she found. That's when it got good. She goes to Tah who introduced her to his grandson who he thought could help unravel the mystery. Especially as he had skills (the full extent of said skills to be revealed later in the book and I will not spoil it for you).

Kai was a total babe who was both good-looking, a nice guy and a broody mystery (yes he can be all of those things at once stop with your judgey judgey faces). Once he started helping Maggie well I was hooked. I didn't actually like him at first, like Mags I was wary of this slick-talking good-looking man and why he was being so genial with her but he won me over fast. He was just a genuinely good guy and me and Mags weren't used to such things. I mean, the man had secrets but I totally didn't guess those and I was shocked as Maggie when we found them out. But even after the secrets were revealed, looking back he was still a good guy who wanted to support Maggie in seeing better things about herself because she was so negative about herself and this was due to past trauma and the terrible influence of her mentor on her mindset and self beliefs.

The book follows Maggie trying to find out where this monster she killed came from and who is behind those who keep coming. I admit I was surprised by the whodunnit… but also not because it made more sense than who Maggie originally thought did it. This book also looked at Maggie examine her past a little more and some of the many emotional scars that have been left behind and with the answers which came at the end of the book you just know there'll be more exploration of that to come because there were even more emotional wounds revealed by the whodunnit and that ending! Hot damn. I need more answers because I have a lot of questions. Luckily the second book is out in the UK on Thursday alongside the first so guess who's headed to Waterstones for a little shopping!

Look, this is probably a terrible review but your girl here has realised she's a shoddy reviewer sometimes but this book was good and I am so ready to return to this world. I adored the Native American history intertwined with this story and I really feel like the world of this book with The Big Water and the lead up to the creation of this world is realistic and relevant to today.

And writing that paragraph all set to wrap up this review I realise I haven't even mentioned worldbuilding (see, shoddy reviewer) the world of this book was basically a post-apocalyptic world where the sea levels have risen (sound familiar) and the US has shrunk. There was a large native reserve which had walls around it (inspired by the US building a wall to the south…yes, seriously) and this land had the Dine people living within. Look, I can't remember the specifics and I'm thinking maybe I've missed chunks of history which either weren't revealed yet or I just full-on forgot but the things is the world flooded, the US shrunk and the map got all kinds of rewritten because of it. For some reason water is a scarce resource there was something about fuel being hoarded and that's all I remember. God, I'm the worst.

I think I loved this book so much because apart from the good story and awesome characters the world just felt real. This felt like a future which could happen and it was scary. I mean, I’m less certain the magic and monsters are likely to happen in the future (but never say never) but this bleak future is possible.

Have you read this book or this series? And if not have I convinced you to give it a shot?
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