The book: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
The summary: An indigenous woman with mysterious, feared powers survives in a post-polar-ice-caps-melting world where spirits, magic, and monsters have emerged from folklore into real life.
The review: The setting of this book is unbelievably memorable and honestly my favorite since Zoo City. It’s vivid, unique, realistic within its context, and just an absolute blast to be part of as a reader. It makes the story feel so much more gripping…until the story starts to get, well, flat.
That’s the issue with Trail of Lightning. The story starts off great. I’d say the first third, maybe even first half, of the book is incredible. It’s at 100 mph from the first page. Then it abruptly stops and it never picks up momentum again. It becomes a constantly-shifting series of seemingly random backdrops, even more sudden and random minor characters, all with a smattering of eye-rolling cliches (particularly the love interest who had ulterior motives but now doesn’t because they ~truly fell in love~ with the protagonist. Spare me!).
If Trail of Lightning kept its original thread going throughout the entire book it’d easily be an 8.5/10 or higher. The protagonist is great, the world is great, the magic system is great, the monsters are great. It was a page turner until it all started to fall apart. It could’ve been so much more. I had to drag myself through the dozen pages or so.
Still, the book is worth picking up if only for the wondrous setting.