I was first introduced to Rebecca Roanhorse’s writing through her incredible short story Welcome To Your Authentic Indian Experience™ which was rightfully nominated for a bunch of awards like the Nebula and Hugo last year. So when I saw her name on Netgalley I knew whatever it was would rocket straight to the top of my to-read list. I had no idea that I was about to become totally obsessed with the world and characters she created but I should have, she’s really just that good.
Roanhorse’s debut novel Trail of Lightning (available June 2018) is the first in a fantasy series called The Sixth World, a dystopian look at what happens to the world after a climate crisis and flooding called The Big Water decimates life as we know it and strengthens the Earth’s links to the heavenly and supernatural. Set on the former Navajo Reservation, Dinétah, Maggie Hoskie is a badass Dinétah monster hunter whose traumatic past has manifested special clan powers that give her strength and speed but also a terrifying bloodlust that she’s struggling to control when she’s called upon to save a kidnapped girl and finds herself fighting an element of dark magic she’s never seen before.
With the help of a preternaturally good looking medicine man named Kai, Maggie searches their crumbling world for answers that lead from a trickster Coyote to a lightning god ex-teacher/lover?, underground clubs, highway gangs, terrible monsters, and more, all the while under the suspicious eye of a corrupt tribal police force threatening their already heavily targeted lives.
It’s not enough to say that this is the fantasy series I’ve been waiting my whole life for—Roanhorse takes Harry Potter-level lore and originality and grounds it firmly in a torn world populated with complicated and burdened people. In the midst of Rowlings’ blundering and cultural appropriation throughout her new content on Pottermore, it is a gift to finally see a fantasy series do right by indigenous legend and depict actual contemporary native people with accuracy. Not to say Trail of Lightning is anything like Harry Potter, because it’s not, but the scope is there and it does have magic and relunctant heroes. Instead, this series is going somewhere completely new and I am strapped in dying, ready for the ride.
God I hope someone buys the rights so I can see it on the big screen.
Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review