|Trail of Lightning / Rebecca Roanhorse|
NY: Saga Press, c2018.
I don't usually read things considered horror, but this is horror lite -- there was only one part I had to skim because it was too gross for me. Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter: she is therefore also an outcast. She lives in Dinétah, formerly the Navajo reservation; now that there has been catastrophic climate change and most of the coastal areas of the US have disappeared, Dinétah is its own country. It was saved from flooding by a wall put up in the old days, not from good intentions. But along with its new independence has come the return of monsters and gods of Navajo legend.
Maggie tracks and kills monsters who prey on humans, often children. She was taught & mentored by a demigod, who is now her nemesis. Let's just say she has trust issues.
In this beginning story in the Sixth World series, there is a lot of setup, a lot of explaining this world and who is who, and how Maggie fits into it all. All of this is not boring or an info-dump, however. Roanhorse is endlessly creative and uses horror and fantasy tropes, but turns them into something new with the addition of a strong female sensibility and her Indigenous setting. The premise for the series is clearly established and the interaction between a wide variety of characters is so well done.
There's potential romance as Maggie meets a city boy who has returned home to Dinétah; there is also betrayal and violence as she comes into contact with her nemesis in the end. Throughout the book she must balance her powers with her need to connect with her very human associates. Including many other strong women.
This was a great read, original and fast-moving, and followed up with book two already, though I haven't got to that one yet. Definitely recommended for fans of speculative horror fiction.