Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse | Book Review

Sunday 3 November 2019

I’m stumbled upon this book while I was simply looking for a new audio book. My job allows me a few hours alone in an office so why not get some “reading” done while I work? So I picked this up on a whim and, as it turns out, I made a great choice. Here’s my review.
Let’s talk about the premise first. This is the debut work of Rebecca Roanhorse and she’s off to a great start. This is about Maggie Hoskie, a Dinetah (Din Eh Tah) monster hunter who is gifted with supernatural powers. Dinetah is the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe. A climate apocalypse caused the downfall of most of the civilized countries in the world and the Navajo were some of the last people left unaffected. So they grew out of the ashes of the old world, and with that, their gods and folk heroes came back to walk the land once again. Maggie gets sent on a routine monster hunt, but instead finds a new evil that threatens her people.
This book fits nicely in two genres. Cli-fi and urban fantasy. Cli-fi is a newish genre which stands for climate fiction. Urban fantasy, in case you weren’t familiar, has been around for quite a while and is just a fantasy book that takes place in an urban setting. So now you know.
When I started listening to this book I knew it had promise but I also knew it could easily be predictable a drab. I’m happy to report that the promise paid off and it avoided too many tropes from the urban fantasy genre.
Rebecca Roanhorse builds a wonderfully realized world in this book and taps into a woefully underutilized mythos and not only was it entertaining but it showed just how much unrealized potential there is in the myths and legends of Native American peoples. This is the first book in a new series and book two has already come out and I’ve consumed and loved it already. I can’t wait for book three. The Dresden Files is a 13 plus book series and the story of Maggie Hoskie has the potential to go that long, if not more.
Maggie is a great main character. She’s strong but realistic. She’s independent but even the strongest people need help at times and she’s smart enough to realize that. She’s broody but doesn’t get annoying about it like Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice or Edward from Twilight. She’s broody for a reason and shows that the passing of time can, in fact, heal wounds.
The world built for this book is a well realized and terrifyingly possible. The best part is that she never got preachy about climate change. She just built a world that was the result of a world that didn’t care and let it speak for itself. There’s nothing wrong with preaching about climate change, but I didn’t pick up an urban fantasy book to get lectured on the dangers of pollution. I have Captain Planet for that.
The pacing for the story was just as you’d expect and very basic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all. I don’t need innovation when it comes to story pacing. I need something readable and exciting, which this was. Unlike Barney’s mixtape, a story shouldn’t be all rise. (How I Met Your Mother reference anyone? No? Okay.)
Let’s wrap this up. If you’re in the market for an interesting, original, and enjoyable urban fantasy book, pick this up. I would even go as far to say this is a great introduction to the genre and may even been a good recommendation for people who don’t normally pick up fantasy books. This is a good book through and though that I can’t wait to enjoy again.
Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse gets a 10 out of 11

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