‘Trail of Lightning’ by Rebecca Roanhorse

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended (How I Rate Books)

Personal Rating: Top 5 Urban Fantasies I’ve ever read



Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopia, The Sixth World, Award Winner

Similar books:

Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:

  • None

I read this book as a part of the Sword and Laser Bookclub. Belatedly. Really belatedly.

Contains spoilers, so watch out!

This book has the mouthfeel of the tidal wave of paranormal romances/urban fantasies which were unleashed upon the Fantasy Genre about a decade ago. It stars a slightly grizzled, leather-wearing, gun-toting badass monster hunter, a shady past, magic-wielding lady of vengeance, but with a soft side (and also a love triangle between her and two inexplicably hot dudes!). If you’re not familiar with the tidal wave of a decade ago, those characteristics describe the majority of protagonists from the novels published back then.

Maggie is a bitter lady with a dark past (see:grizzled and shady past), and has turned to a life of hard drinking and monster hunting to make ends meet (see leather wearing, monster hunting lady of vengeance). Maggie has two love interests: her ex-boss Neizghani, a legendary immortal demigod, and Kai, a mortal man with a shady history and strange powers (see: love triangle and inexplicably hot dudes).

While on paper this sounds like a recipe for the formulaic, the author manages to craft a story of heartbreak and healing. Maggie’s relationship with her ex- Neizghani is revealed to be an abusive one,  so while she loves him that love is impure. Kai abuses Maggie in a different way, betraying her as well. The love triangle trope/cliche is turned on it’s head.

Maggie is forced to stand on her own- not just as a warrior but also as a person with damaged-but-healing emotions. She stands out as a unique character in a way a ton of other UF/PR protagonists haven’t for me. Maggie recovering from her abuse is what helps her triumph in the end of the story- triumphing in both her personal problems, as well as the ‘save the world’ plotline. This brings the narrative to a satisfying conclusion; Maggie earns her happy ending.

I liked the mythology of the setting. Featuring Navajo mythological characters like Neizghani and Coyote and set in Dinetah, this setting lives and breathes the American Southwest. It was a slightly mournful story, the tale of a broken and destroyed world just barely holding together in a time of incredible chaos and death.

If you like paranormal romances/urban fantasy stories, check this out. If you like fantasy in general, check this out. It’s just flat out good. You might like it even if you don’t like Urban Fantasy books or Paranormal Romances.

Stay Sunny!


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