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TRAIL OF LIGHTNING > Overall thoughts on the book.

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message 1: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dylanthereader5) | 67 comments Mod
This topic is for spoiler talk for the entire boo. Don't read the comments unless you've read all of the book or else you will be spoiled.

message 2: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dylanthereader5) | 67 comments Mod
I haven't finished the book yet (tbh not sure if I will just because it's taking me forever to read), but wanted to share an article from Debbie Reese, a well renounced Native American reviewer.

Apparently Roanhorse shared some secrets about the tribe that outsiders aren't supposed to know.

Not sharing this because I'm expecting it to change your opinions on the book, rather than I thought it was an interesting look: https://americanindiansinchildrenslit...

message 3: by Leigh (new)

Leigh (literaryleigh) I had to wait a little while after reading to decide on my final thoughts.
Dylan, the article you linked might explain why I felt confused through some of the book. I didn’t feel like a lot of the world was well explained and maybe this was on purpose if she was writing about Navajo traditions that were not meant to be shared.

I loved the idea of this book. The post-apocalyptic setting and characters were very interesting. I felt like it had some pacing issues and like I said some aspects were just not well explained. I almost considered DNFing a few times but I wanted to see how it all played out.

I finally decided on a 3 star rating. 4 for the premise and characters and 2 for the execution.

message 4: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberinoface) I wish I had known it was hardcore Urban Fantasy beforehand because my thoughts on them really end up depending on the writing style. Overall, I felt like the book expected you to be in the know, but also not at the same time as a reader in regards to Native American culture.

ColleenIsBooked | 2 comments I finished this book a couple weeks ago, but had to return it to the library. So I'm just going to add my overall thoughts about the book.

The writing style took some getting used to while reading. I can't say it's the best or the worst I've encountered. It kind of seems like Roanhorse didn't have a consistent style. At times it was descriptive and intriguing, other times it was choppy and simplistic in a way that wasn't quite pulled off (I don't like that phrasing, but I'm not sure how else to put it). It seemed to be a style mix of hard-boiled detective story and a YA fantasy, and I'm not too sure if it worked all that well.

I liked the characters a great deal. There were definitely tropes throughout the novel. Maggie is the badass fighter who thinks she is not pretty, but at least, in this story, she actually fights and makes difficult decisions (especially in regards to the little girl in the beginning of the story). I could have done without the 80's movie makeover though. Kai is the hot new guy Maggie is forced to work with, but is unsure if she wants a deeper relationship with him. He, honestly, was a breath of fresh air when most love interests in fantasy are rude, macho, angry men. He was supportive and sweet, and didn't push her to do anything she didn't want to do. Neizghání turned out to be the rude, macho, angry man who was once a possible love interest for Maggie. Did I mention he used to be her love interest? Because Maggie never let you forget. My favorite character in the whole novel was Ma'ii (Coyote). He was the epitome of a trickster from his meddling in Maggie's life to his orchestration of the entire plot. I laughed at his antics when he dropped by her trailer.

The plot was an interesting concept. I usually don't really like post-apocalyptic stories, but I did like this one overall. The idea of a monster hunter with clan powers who encounters a new monster with no idea how to defeat it in a world with little resources available was unique and different. Maggie, at times, could be obnoxious (we get girl, Kai is H-O-T) and a little dense. I'm not sure how she failed to recognize that Kai had the power of persuasion or that she would end up fighting Neizghání in the club. As I said before, the twist that Coyote is responsible for the monsters and destruction is spot on for a trickster character. The story was kind of like a travel novel in the same vein of The Hobbit where the characters travel to one location, something goes down, they travel to the next location, something goes down, then they travel to the last location for the final showdown. The final showdown for this story was... chaotic to say the least. It was extremely fast paced, probably a little too much so. I was confused at certain points. I had to reread to understand what was happening. I do like that we get a chapter or two of what happened after the climax instead of a cliffhanger mid-fight (and we got to see Maggie's dogs again!).

I do agree that the world building left a little to be desired, but I can also see why she only built as much as she did. I read the article that Dylan linked and also from my knowledge of some Native American culture (I am part Cherokee, but, unfortunately, have not been able to explore that part of my heritage too in depth), in general, there is a certain level of secrecy around parts of the different Native American cultures that varies based on tribe. I am not sure if Roanhorse cleared the parts of the story that were taken from Navajo culture with the people she consulted with when writing the story. Either way, I accept the fact that the world was not completely fleshed out. I also accept that there is a certain sense of wanting to know more about the culture vs. the author expecting you to know what they are talking about. I am torn on this. As much as I want to know everything and have everything explained, I run into the issue that a lot of times POC authors are sort of forced into explaining everything about a culture that isn't as mainstream, while others are able to do some explanation (or little to no) and it is deemed acceptable. For example, reading a fantasy that involves fairies and dragons and talks about courts but doesn't go in depth about it, many readers will be able to fill in the blanks and expand on their own or visualize what things would look like VS. a fantasy loosely based on a culture that is less mainstream so most people would not be able to fill in the blanks without researching (which I understand can be distracting from the narrative). So it is difficult, for me at least, to be very critical that the world was not fully explained. I hope that makes sense. On that note, I do think we could have used a little more about the clan powers, even if it were just Maggie explaining some of the clan powers of other people she encounters and why they would have the reaction to her powers (i.e. if she ran into someone she knew and said something like 'oh, she is part of x clan where they are able to harness water' or something like that). I agree with the others that having a glossary for the monsters (I would also say illustrations of the monsters would be amazing. I would love random illustrations of different plot points dispersed into the story) and Navajo words would be very helpful, if only for pronunciation. I also think the addition of a map would be amazing. It did become a little difficult to try to visualize where they were and where they were going. However, not having a specific description of what the world outside of the reservation was like was not a problem for me since we spent all our time in the story there.

Overall, once I got past the writing style, I really enjoyed the story, despite some of the tropes and Maggie's annoying traits. I will continue on with the series, and I hope that Roanhorse's writing will get a more solid style and consistency in the next installment.

Thanks! :)

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