Trail of Lightning: 07/14/18
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse is the first of the Sixth World post apocalyptic urban fantasy series. In the vast majority of these types of stories, even ones that take place in a desert situation, never seem to have any people of color or indigenous people. This one, though, is set after a global flood, "The Big Water" in landlocked Dinétah — the Navajo Nation. In this post flood reality, the cataclysmic event has brought to life the magic and stories and along with it, the monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter. She is the last resort, hired by families when loved ones go missing. After a disastrous hunt where she ends up fighting a monster she's never seen before, a tsé naayéé, a "creature fashioned from a mixture of flesh and something organic. Wood, stone, even corn. But without the power of speech." (p. 41) The rise of these things requires Maggie to seek help.
Maggie is normally a loner — something unusual for a culture that frames everything around clan affiliations. She is also too focused on staying alive and staying good (believing she has been infected by evil). If Maggie were to work solo, the focus would be entirely on the monsters she sent to kill and her relationship with both Neizghání and Ma'ii.
So instead, the story of what happened and how Dinétah survived the Big Water is outlined through her collaboration with Kai Arviso, a young man who has been living in The Burque but has returned home for reasons all his own.
I read this book for fun but it does fit beautifully into my road narrative project. In terms of the road narrative spectrum, the book is either a #3366FF (a couple, traveling around home, though a cornfield (or in this case with the aid of sacred corn) or it's and #FF66FF if we count Maggie and Kai as orphans working their own separate magic around the homeland with the aid of sacred corn. For this first installment, I'm inclined to go with the former and wait and see how their relationship evolves over the remaining books.
The next book is Storm of Locusts which comes out April 23, 2019.