“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.” (via Goodreads)
First off, we have to talk about Maggie. I’ve read a lot of urban/rural fantasy over the years, and she has to be one of my all-time favorite leads, both in that sub-genre and out. She’s tougher than Buffy Summers, more emotionally damaged than Harry Dresden, and more stubborn than Sierra Santiago. Wherever Maggie goes, trouble follows. She is as physically fierce as she is emotionally fragile. That fragility is one of the things that sets her apart from most urban/rural fantasy heroes. Rebecca Roanhorse takes the time to show the repercussions of Maggie’s experiences. What grounds her, what makes her a relatable character isn’t just what she goes through, but how she faces it and how it haunts her anyway. In the real world we can’t wave a magic wand over our pain, and neither can Maggie.
In Maggie we see the vast extent of damage trauma inflicts on survivors. She experienced a horrifying near-death experience as a child and witnessed the brutal murder of her grandmother by a sadistic witch and his posse. As a young adult, she was trapped in an abusive relationship with a partner who caused as much pain leaving her life as he did when he entered it. And as an adult she’s constantly harassed by a man who thinks police brutality and toxic masculinity are compliments. That isn’t just some tragic backstory. Subtract the magical elements and there are real issues here. Domestic abuse, sexual/verbal/physical assault, PTSD, the patriarchy, and state-sanctioned violence all make appearances but are thankfully never sugar coated or swept under the rug…
To read the rest of my review of Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, head over to Tor.com.
Thanks to Saga Press for sending me a review copy.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.