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287 pages, Hardcover
First published June 26, 2018
The forest surrounds me. Ponderosa and blue spruce spread across the high desert mountains, sheltering small badgers and mice and night birds. Pine trees scent the air, their fallen needles crunching softly under my feet. Insects drone happily in the cooling evening, buzzing near my ears, attracted to my sweat. There is a beauty here, a calmness that I savor. I will savor the bloodshed, too, no doubt, but this balance between earth and animal and self feels right. Feels true.There are a few drawbacks in the storytelling: The plot meanders somewhat as Maggie gropes her way toward a showdown with the maker of the monsters and her antagonists. As the mystery unraveled, I thought that the final reveal was a little murky in its rationale, so the mystery and its resolution didn’t entirely hold water for me. I did appreciate how what initially appeared to be somewhat of a love triangle ended with Roanhorse turning that trope on its head.
✎ Starting with the good stuff, I liked the lore and the myths, especially since I am not familiar with it. mythologies and culture of native Americans so I found it very interesting and rich. It’s the strongest asset of this book.
✎ I wish however that we had a glossary of names because of this unfamiliarity. While I googled a few, I didn’t have my phone next to me all the time and it’s simply too much effort for a lazy person like me.
✎ The story wasn’t taking a definitive direction, sure we want to find the bad witch, but only relying on the coincidences to move the plot onward instead of personal initiative.
✎ The plot was weird in this sense, Maggie didn’t do anything, she was a passive MC only going where other persons are leading her, except in one case, but not even on purpose.
✎ I found a specific event very predictable because it was compared to KD, the fire? I knew something like that will happen to move the plot forward.
✎ Maggie is the cliché I’m bad, I have no one, I don’t deserve anyone, I need a boy to tell me I’m not bad blah kind of heroine. Which is fine if she wasn’t so monotonous… Reading from her perspective was no fun. She was serious most of the time. While I appreciated her few humor attempts (even if I didn’t find them funny), she wasn’t like Kate making fun of herself and the situation, well you know being Kate.
✎ The love triangle? I was dreading this tbh. I’m glad to report there’s not exactly one here and while Maggie was conflicted between two guys, it didn’t last long, I can’t say much without spoiling but I hope she doesn’t end up with any of them because while one is an asshole, she doesn’t have any chemistry with the other.
✎ The big reveal of the mentor was so meh. his actions made no sense to me.
✎ The end was a bit confusing and illogical?
All in, the only thing I liked about this book was myth and maybe old Tah. But other than that, I found it very average and I didn’t care about the characters at all. I couldn’t even read it in one sitting although it’s a short book. I’m dropping my 3 stars rating to 2.5 because seriously… while I didn’t hate anything about it, I didn’t enjoy it except towards the end but that’s not even a feat. I wrote this review after a week of reading the book and while after finishing it I considered reading the sequel, I feel now so uninterested since nothing stayed with me.
But I’m no hero. I’m more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy. I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.
“You try what?” I snort. “Oh, so now you’re trying to help me? What you said before, that was meant to help me?”
Ma’ii stares at me flatly. “I know you do not believe it, but I am always trying to help you, Magdalena.”
“You are always trying to help yourself.”
“Can I not do both at once?”
“No, you cannot do both at once.”
They say the hataałii worked hand in hand with the construction crews, and for every brick that was laid, a song was sung. Every lath, a blessing given. And the Wall took on a life of its own. When the workmen came back the next morning, it was already fifty feet high. In the east it grew as white shell. In the south, turquoise. The west, pearlescent curves of abalone, and the north, the blackest jet. It was beautiful. It was ours. And we were safe. Safe from the outside world, at least. But sometimes the worst monsters are the ones within.