Book Reviews

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse


Released: June 2018 (November 2019 in the UK)
Publisher: Saga Press (Hodder & Stoughton in the UK)
Pages: 305
Rating: 4.5/5

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.



Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unravelling clues from ancient legends, trading favours with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.


As someone of native descent, it has been so incredible to see indigenous authors finally getting mainstream recognition for their incredible contributions to the literary world. To see this expanding into my favorite genre, science-fiction/fantasy, is one of the most refreshing and delightful reading experiences I’ve ever had. With so much of indigenous history tied up with oral traditions and lore, it seems a no-brainer that it would translate well into the science-fiction and fantasy genres. Rebecca Roanhorse has now more than proved that fact with her powerful and wonderful debut, Trail of Lightning.

It didn’t take me long to read this gritty, urban fantasy because once I started I couldn’t stop. The characters, the world building, the plot- everything about this book was incredible. Even if it wasn’t personally relevant to me I would have loved this story. I’ve been shouting from the rooftop to anyone who will listen that they need to read this book because it is a story that can be easily appreciated by the masses, whether native or not. It’s an accessible and wondrous tale with engaging characters that I became very attached to. The novel also has the added benefit of potentially giving a new appreciation and insight into native culture for those who are not as familiar with it.

I have seen a little grumbling about a Pueblo author writing from a Diné perspective, but honestly I’m just glad it wasn’t a white author appropriating Indian culture for a book gimmick. I’m Yaqui descent (both from Mexico and Arizona) so I can’t really say with any authority about anything she may have gotten wrong, but for me it was nice to see people similar to my family represented so well in a story that didn’t exploit native histories or stereotypes.


This book was nominated for a Hugo award for Best Novel which in itself is quite an acheivement on multiple levels, but this year that category of the Hugo’s was groundbreaking. All of the authors nominated for Best Novel were either women, LGBTQ+, or people of color. Not a single old white guy among them, unlike in most previous years. It’s about time!

But back to the book…

Trail of Lightning breathes new life into the fantasy and dystopia genres, giving readers a explosive and gripping tale that will leave them wanting more. Roanhorse has more than proven herself to be a true master of storytelling with this amazing debut novel. I absolutely cannot wait to see what else she will craft for her readers, especially within this series.

 Buy on

Buy on


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