A review by gilbertbg1
Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

5.0

Mild Spoilers below!

The Good:

Just... the whole book!! If you enjoy speculative fic, dystopian fiction, urban fantasy, mythology, and a little bit of a supernatural vibe, this book will knock your freaking SOCKS off. Rebecca Roanhorse creates an insane post apocalyptic future, a world ravaged by floods and natural disaster, full of all of the monsters, creatures, and magic you could want. Gritty, realistic characters, exciting plot twists, and stunning use of the magic that the author has woven into the story, this book is a winner on every level.

The World Building! An urban fantasy with strong Navajo influences worked into the mythology and the magic of the story, its totally unique to anything I've read before, and its excellent. A world ravaged by climate change, The Sixth World is raw, gritty, and lived in, full of characters who are just regular people, touched by magic. No princes or palaces here, just regular people, making their way through their lives in a dystopian future. We don't see much outside of the walled off section of the world that Maggie lives in, but even with just her own retelling of the end of the world, we see an interesting picture growing. Here's hoping that in the next book we get to step outside of the Wall and into the unknown!

Maggie and Kai! Told from the first person POV of Maggie, our heroine, this book is full of internal conflicts and emotional struggles that add a lot of nuance and layer to the overall story. Maggie is traumatized and at war with herself and her own identity, both hating and clinging to a part of herself that she tries to keep from everyone else. She feels a lot of shame, for a lot of reasons, but never doubts her own abilities or her strength. She's headstrong, stubborn, full of fire, and extremely slow to trust, but, because we get to see inside her head, you see that what she feels goes deeper than she lets anyone see. She's a riveting main character and it's an exciting journey to go on with her.

Kai is an enigma, partially because he hides a lot from Maggie, and partially because she closes herself off to him, making him mysterious and hard to read. He's a great sidekick, though, and Roanhorse does an amazing job of weaving in just enough hints and little moments where an observant reader will see what she's building to, even if Maggie refuses to let herself fully grasp who and what he is. He's charismatic, charming, and he works well as a test of Maggie's own worst impulses, trying to teach her to be more than she believes she can be while still maintaining his own mystery and secrets. He's an easy character to love, and I'm excited to see whats next for him.

The Meh:

Overall, not much to 'meh' about! The plot is exciting and attention grabbing, the characters are intriguing and have complex inner stories, the mythology and the fantasy elements are well used and SO cool! There are some things that could have stood for a little deeper exploration , or a little more foreshadowing, but not much! Loved this book, and I quickly added the next in the series AND the authors other book to my library holds! Definitely recommend!