I read Trail of Lightning this month as part of the readalong hosted by Wyrd and Wonder hosts. I could not read along with others and could not discuss the book on the dates chosen by the hosts. I knew this month was going to be hectic at work, so I sped through the book in the beginning of this month when I had some free time. I have been too busy with a new project at work and have been unable to blog. I will not be able to blog much for the next couple of months I guess. This is the only book I have read so far from my fantasy TBR. But I am glad I was able to finish at least one book.
I finally caved in and read this book after owning it for an year or so. I met the author, spoke to her, heard her talking in Worldcon last year. Her speech when she received Hugo award last year was amazing. I am happy to say that the book was equally great. And this book has been nominated for this year’s Hugo awards. You can watch last year’s Hugo awards ceremony here – https://youtu.be/ECftshjKVwY
This is an own voices Native American myth based urban fantasy about a monster-slayer woman. I have seen people compare it to Percy Jackson and Mad Max. I only agree with the Mad Max comparison. The story is much more complex and intricate here and nothing like hunting one monster after another like in Percy Jackson (which I am not a fan of).
I loved the desert setting and it looked like the story was based in Arizona. As soon as the author mentioned Navajo, trading posts, native american settlement, I imagined the arid desert setting of Arizona. I have lived in Arizona for couple of years and I love that place a lot. I was ready to give 5 stars just for the setting as soon as I started the book.
The author has created a post apocalyptic world and I love post apocalyptic stories. The world building was detailed and done very well. The story takes place in a world which was devastated by climate change. Native Americans have reclaimed what was rightfully their land and have built a wall to prevent outsiders from trespassing on their land. This was the very first book I read on Native American mythology and this book stands out mainly because of that as I don’t think there is any other book on this mythology.
The main character Maggie was an apprentice to a monster-slayer god or son of god and she kills monsters for living. She was a great character to root for in this story. I love how brave and strong she is. Her relationship with her teacher felt little odd and (sort of) abusive to me. She has a love/hate relationship with him and I am hoping that the author dwells more into that in the next book.
I also liked Kai who ends up becoming her partner as they both try to hunt for the witch who seems to be creating monsters. I loved how the gender roles were switched here. Kai who is a man, believes in peace and tries to get himself out of any situation by talking. He is friendly and charming. Maggie, on the other hand, though she is a woman, likes killing and is not a very social person. Maggie doesn’t have any friends and is not a very friendly person. The characters were three-dimensional and very well developed.
I had guessed the big reveal at the end though so didn’t find the end that surprising. Other than that, it was perfect in every manner. I flew through this book. It’s fast paced, full of action, impossible to put down once you start reading. I have never finished a fantasy novel this fast.
I want to pick up the sequel soon. I gave this book 4.5 stars.
Have you read this book? If not, please pick it up if you like fantasy.