Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

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I had meant to read it long before now… but life got in the way and such. I heard quite a bit about this book before picking it up, and this was my first fantasy based on Native culture!

The main character is a demon hunter who has seen some shit. She’s living on a reservation for the Navajo; who happen to be some of the only survivors of a catastrophic world wide flood that’s wiped out much of humanity. This is an interesting mix of Navajo myth and legend paired a modern post-apocalypse setting. With the flood came the return of magic, but that proves to be a double edged sword. It wasn’t just magic that came back, but gods, spirits, and monsters as well… and they don’t always play nice with humanity.

While investigating a demon possession, Maggie gets paired up with this shaman (who is not at all a stereotypical shaman), and together they start unraveling some greater mysteries from ancient myths and legends. Shit goes very, very wrong. This is a violent, bloody, gory book that doesn’t tend to hold back; I mean, there are kids that get beheaded n’ such… by the main character no less (there was a reason).

Maggie is a difficult character to get to know, and it’s that way on purpose. She’s a lost, bitter, resentful person who doesn’t have many friends or family to speak of… she’s not exactly welcomed warmly by her community, either. However, some of this isolation is her own doing. When presented with opportunities to get to know people she often tries as hard as she can to run in the opposite direction. She stays that way for most of the book, too. She’s angry, rightfully. She’s stubborn and headstrong. She has a wild personality and it was difficult to relate to her at times, but she was definitely interesting.

The pace is quick from the start. There are demons are afoot right from the beginning which captured my attention early on. It’s not a long book, and there’s no page time wasted with a meandering plot or being overly descriptive in the writing. It’s quick and to the point, making me fly through this book in just one sitting.

The world building was fascinating, I really loved all the different gods, spirits, and monsters that were a part of this world. I would have liked to know a bit more about what happened in terms of the flood on a global scale, but this was much more focused on the Navajo and their part of the world. The focus on one area, and the small cast gave this a feeling of intimacy and the characters and places that were explored, were given time to be explored in depth.

All in all I definitely recommend this to people who like morally grey characters, monsters, quick reads, and female leads.


  • Plot: 11/15
  • Characters: 12.5/15
  • World Building: 12/15
  • Writing: 12/15
  • Pacing: 12.5/15
  • Originality: 14/15
  • Enjoyment: 7.5/10

Final Score: 81.5/100