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Publisher's Summary

The sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse have destroyed most of the planet…yet out of these waters, Dinétah, a former Navajo reservation, has been miraculously reborn. Listen along as Tanis Parenteau's impeccable narration, capturing the rhythms of Navajo speech, fully envelopes you into the Sixth World. 

When Dinétah needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie - a monster hunter and supernatural killer - is its last, best hope. Trail of Lightning follows our heroine as she walks the land alongside gods, heroes of legend, and monsters alike. Reluctantly, she enlists the aid of an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel Dinétah, unraveling clues from ancient legends and trading favors with tricksters. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive - for what she uncovers about the monster she is sent to find is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.   

©2018 Rebecca Roanhorse (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: The Best Fantasy Audiobooks to Take You Out of This World


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What listeners say about Trail of Lightning

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    1 out of 5 stars

This is a YA romance with Paranormal addons

I was intrigued by this book because it focused on Navajo mythology. This is not something you see often. It also had a female lead. Both things made it stand out to me. So I bit.

A breakdown of the story I will leave to others. Here are just a few of the major annoyances that occurred.

The MC is talks to herself constantly. The story was muddled because you hear every single thought the protagonist has. Even in mid-conversation. At first this seemed slightly helpful with world building very quickly it became an annoyance.

The MC pines for a lost "lover". The trauma the MC experienced before the events of the book presents a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the MC is arguably depressed. This is not the issue.

The issue is that she never shuts up about it. See the above point.

The YA aspect feeds into this. When she meets, Boy 2, EVERY description of him is how "perfect", "chiseled", etc. Her internal monologue can't even describe at glance at his hand without at least five adjective describing his perfect long fingers. It's annoying when male author's do it to female characters, it is equally annoying here.

Then....the entire conclusion of the book is that the MC meets the lost love and has boy 2 and both are ready to kill each other and she has to decide. I had 25 minutes of the book left and the whole thing came down to a love triangle and how she anguishes over the decision. Because lost love freaking stabbed her and branded her as property and boy 2 used his clan power to convince her he loved her, AFTER ABOUT A WEEK of in universe time. An they are demanding she make a choice.

The seeming main plot of the story is presented as who is creating these monsters and where they are coming from. There are 4-5 chapters out of 36+ that actually deal with that. She spends over 90% of her time trying to decided if she is going to F--- boy 2 and his perfect body.

The point where the story was lost was when she met boy 2. After that, everything became about him. She "forgets" things. She gets distracted from the mission. She simple picks up the idiot ball and never puts it down.

77 people found this helpful

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AMAZING STORY

I picked up Trail of Lightning on a whim while trying to find something new to use my Audible credits on. This is easily the most pleased with a random purchase since...well...EVER. Trail of Lightning is not only a well-written story, but the characters are dynamic and each page seemed to bring an unexpected turn.

Trail of Lightning follows Maggie Hoskie on a very interesting journey both physically and mentally. As a supernatural monster hunter, she must fight her inner struggles as well as figure out who real monsters are. Listening to this story reminded me of home, which I know sounds weird but let me explain. I grew up on 95% Alaskan Native folk stories as a child. They all brought a scary threat of what not to do and the pretty clear-cut consequences of what not listening to your parents/elders/nature get you..normally dead or maybe your family killed. Hey, it's Alaska and I was a weird child. Trail of Lightning had the same undertone set in an apocalyptic future, caused by rising waters and severe drought. I couldn't help but feel the same type of meaning in Roanhorse's writing.

Every aspect of Trail of Lightning is worthy of praise. I would like to wrap this author up in love and praise for providing such beautiful and creative quality work. It seems like adult dystopian or apocalyptic reads are a rare find with most publishers leaning toward YA in these genres. Roanhorse built a world that held me captive from beginning to end.

The world is grim and this isn't a rainbows-flying-out-of-unicorn-butts type of book, but it still wasn't overwhelming negative. In my opinion, this was one of the best debut novels by an author that I have read in a very long time.  Possibly ever.

If you enjoy a great apocalypse, dystopian or urban fantasy read...READ THIS NOW.

Audio thoughts: Narration takes place by Tanis Parenteau. Parenteau did a pretty decent job. The narration felt smooth and never pulled me out of the story. I always felt like a little something was missing to make it great. A solid 4 rating for narration.

164 people found this helpful

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Fantastic new world from a new author!

Post apocalyptic meets Navajo mythology meets not-quite-anti-hero-version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's no wonder Audible listed this among the top listens of 2018.

My biggest gripes were that there were some characters that the narrator didn't do the way I think they would have sounded (making them sound angry or evil when they probably wouldn't have had that tone while talking) and that it was sometimes a bit tough keeping some of the Navajo words/names straight (there was one word the main character was called repeatedly that I missed what it meant, which was frustrating).

I hope the author continues with the series.

PS: To Audible in the intro/closing: Roan is a color of horse and is one syllable, pronounced rōn; not two syllables ro-an.

63 people found this helpful

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Fresh take on post apocalypse

Loved the world view. The Native American setting was fresh and had a lot of texture. Some of the vernacular was a little difficult to understand as I listened to this book. May be easier if you read the words. The narrator did a great job. The story bogged down in a few places...Magdalena- the protagonist was a little angsty but overall definitely worth a read or a listen.

32 people found this helpful

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The person you hire when the heroes fail

“I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.” -MH

Ii like to listen to Audible books when I am hiking and trail running. I got 25 miles in (with a net elevation gain of 3,967 feet) listening to Rebecca Roanhorse’s “Trail of Lightning” (2018). In two days. When the average temperature was 96 degrees, and the air was thick with smoke from the worst California wildfires in recorded history.

I’m tired, slightly dehydrated, 3 pounds lighter, and as happy as I can be knowing that I’m going to have to wait another year for the next book in The Sixth World Series, “Storm of Locusts” (2019). What’s even more extraordinary? Audible was my second trip with Monsterslayer Maggie Hoskie; the gorgeous, ethereal Healer Kai Arviso and his grandfather Tah; the trickster Coyote (Ma’li); and the immortal monsterslayer Neizgháni, The print edition was released several months before the Audible, and “Trail of Lightning” was so well reviewed I just couldn’t wait. The Audible did not disappoint, and the cover art for the print edition is so gorgeous I’m happy to have both.

The book starts, “The monster has been here . . . I can also smell the child he’s stolen.” What a chilling way to begin a story. Who - or what - is the monster? And who made the monster? Who is the child, who are her parents, who are her clans? Who has what clan powers?

Coyote is always present, preening and dressed in Western finer. He cajoles, diverts, amuses - and as always, tricks and lies.

Coyote’s adversary is Maggie Hoskie, the protege of Neizgháni. Mags (as Kai calls her) has clan powers that make her a warrior. She’s a killer with a conscience, horrified by what she thinks people think of her because of her abilities. Mags is fully armed and as adept with knives as guns. She’s fierce and unforgettable.

A few weeks before I listened to “Trail of Lightning” I happened to take a trip to Dinétah. I was able to geographically set the locations of The Sixth World. It’s serenely, austerely beautiful now, with soaring red gold mesas; and a sere island refuge after the New Madrid fault and the Big Water created a new coast and a new country in the book.

I thought Tanis Parenteau was a wonderful narrator, but to be fair - I’m not Diné (Navajo) and I don’t speak that language. Ms. Parenteau is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Canada. The Navajo seemed natural in the narration, not forced.

The title of the review is a modified quote from the book.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thank you.]

170 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Loved this from the opening moments to the final scene. It was one of those stories that you get so caught up in that you don’t want it to end. Fallable heroine, strong secondary characters. I am really glad this is a series as I in for the whole ride. Definitely in! The writing is beautiful and feels great to support an indigenous author. This is an amazing story!

16 people found this helpful

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Wonderful world building but a little indulgent

As others have said, the world building is wonderful and has a ton of potential. Some of the plot elements have been done to death (demigods, zombies and monsters, etc), but the Navajo lore and mythology give it all a refreshing overhaul.

The characters are a little indulgent. The main character is a total bad *ss (although with plenty of emotional baggage so as not to make her perfect), and the love interest is straight out of a romance novel. It honestly reminded me of some fanfiction I read when I was younger. Similarly, the writing level starts off a little choppy and amateurish, but it smooths out by the end. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for the story. The plot never gets very suspenseful despite the mysteries, and the characters have lots of history but not lots of depth. In the end I went for 4 because the book was still enjoyable and exactly the length it needed to be.

Overall this was a very easy listen made easier by the narrator, who fit the main character perfectly. I am looking forward to the sequels and will definitely be picking them up. I think now that the author has some experience and some attention (cough::editors::cough) I think this series will only get better.

40 people found this helpful

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Improved with second listening

Having listened to other stories which would have benefited from having a narrator better able to handle native language, I had better appreciation for Parenteau's performance. Sadly I still felt her voice sounded too young for the character and her male characterizations are not believable or appealing.

7 people found this helpful

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  • =A
  • 12-31-18

Outstanding!

This is one of my favorite stories of the year, and the reader does a great job of giving the shero a voice.
Our world ended when the seas rose, and in the wake of the apocalypse legends walk among the survivors. The story is set on the land the Navajo re-claimed, and their legends and worldview shape the land and events.
- I'll grant that something happens in the first chapter i had problems with, but I am really glad i persevered because i very much like the book and can't wait to read the sequel.
I recommend it highly.

19 people found this helpful

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Diné Monsters, Holy Ones, Clan Powers, and Romance

No! Please--not ANOTHER first-person present tense laconic super special young female narrator heroic adventure story! If writers these days would write in the past tense and or third person, I could handle almost everything else, but… The Hunger Games (2008), Divergent (2011), Dread Nation (2018), The Map of Salt and Stars (2018)… That was my first reaction to starting Trail of Lightning (2018) by Rebecca Roanhorse. Especially when she starts her story in the midst of a full-on action scene: “The monster has been here. I can smell him.”

Two things enabled me to persevere: the monster-slaying heroine Maggie Hoskie is Diné (Navajo), and the writing is mostly tight and fast-paced and often gut-punching or chortle-inducing. The Diné angle enables Roanhorse to insert interesting historical, cultural, supernatural, and linguistic details, like the following: Maggie loading her shotgun with “shells full of corn pollen and obsidian shot, both sacred to the Diné”; her K’aahanaanii Living Arrow Clan and Honaghaahnii Walks Around Clan powers from her parents heightening her strength and senses and speed and temporarily turning her into a superhuman killer in moments of need; her calling white people bilagaanas; her showering with yucca soap and rationed water brought by truck; her living near Narbona Pass, named for a Diné chief who was killed by the US army in 1847 while trying to sign a peace treaty; her references to things like the Long Walk, when the Diné were force marched away from their homes in 1864; and her former mentor/lover Neizghani being an immortal, the Monsterslayer of legend, the lightning sword bearing son of two Holy People, Changing Woman and the Sun.

With the help of hataalii (Holy Ones), who have stepped out of dreams, legends, and songs, Maggie’s people managed to quickly construct four giant magical, sacred walls (east white shell, south turquoise, west abalone, north obsidian), which have protected them from the chaos of the outside world: the Big Water flooding that killed two billion people worldwide, submerged the entire Midwest, made a new coastline from San Antonio to Sioux Falls, and ended the USA; ensuing energy wars and race wars; oil companies, Feds, prospectors, and multinational corporation armies all doing their greedy things. Unfortunately, it also means that the Diné of Dinétah are locked in behind their walls with a variety of monsters.

The novel begins with Maggie tracking a new kind of monster (a tse naayee made of flesh, wood or stone, and a sacred artifact) who’s taken a twelve-year-old girl from her house and carried her up a mountain. The suspenseful sequence introduces us to Maggie’s world and to her abilities (knives and guns, temporary turbocharging clan super powers and senses, etc.), her personality (tough, solitary, anti-social, trauma-scarred, evil-tainted), her monster hunting career (paid in trade items and feared and ostracized for her best efforts), and her 1972 Chevy 4x4 cherry red truck (running on whisky--talk about hardboiled!).

Wanting to find out about that monster leads her to consult with her surrogate grandfather Tah, a saintly medicine man monster expert, which in turns leads to Tah foisting his Big Medicine, healer/weather worker, sweet-talking, too-handsome and natty grandson Kai on an unwilling Maggie. The odd-couple partners (she’s taller than Kai and rougher and tougher and more laconic, and while she can become a “living arrow” superhuman killer, he’s a man of peace super healer) go on the road to track down the witch who’s making the appalling new monsters. But, yikes, another special mortal young lady with an uber-cool immortal love interest complicated by the introduction of a handsome and clan-power endowed “Big Magic” healer and weather worker with “preternatural charisma”!? Holy Diné YA Love Triangle?!

The novel is very much in the vein of mutant-monster-hero triad stories like X-men, where we’re pretty sure the super-powered protagonist is a hero despite other people and maybe she herself suspecting her of being a monster. Roanhorse also writes the short sentences and short cliff-hanger chapters de rigueur for YA fiction today. And she also writes some corny overly hardboiled lines, like “Trauma, scars, that’s what I’m good at,” and “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.”

Is there enough Diné matter to make up for the otherwise typical monster hunting/slaying matter (and the first-person present tense narration)? For that matter, according to Wikipedia, the novel has been criticized “for misrepresenting Navajo teachings and spirituality.” No expert, I have no idea how accurate the novel is in its cultural background. To my mind, it presents a mostly positive female Native American heroine in Maggie and does make Diné culture seem cool. But I don’t care for what Roanhorse does with the Holy People of the Diné, like the trickster god Coyote, the immortal hero Neizghani, or a cat goddess (?) called Mose: they are all extremely unappealing and pettily human in their supposedly immortally derived separation from humanity (what they call “the five fingers”).

Though there is plenty of graphic violence with fists, knees, guns, knives, flamethrowers, and supernatural weapons like lightning blades, there is no sex.

Audiobook reader Tanis Parenteau is capable, but I didn’t care for her Holy People voices or manners (that may be down to Roanhorse’s writing of those characters, though).

People who like Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation or who are interested in a Native American hardboiled yet sensitive female protagonist driving around kicking monster ass would probably like the book. Will I go on and read the sequel? Hmm...

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rebekah
  • 01-10-22

A rich world but frustrating characters

there was so much to love about this novel. I reccomended it on the world building alone. unfortunately the motivations of the protagonist were a vague and I struggled to understand the leaps of logic she made, making the story a little unsatisfying. Still a rich and diverse world full of magic and danger.

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  • Beatrix
  • 08-26-20

Absolutely loved it!

Finished it in a few days, it's a great story with well written characters, will get the second book!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michela
  • 12-17-19

A slayer of monsters in a postapocalyptic story

The story intriguingly blends native American myths and beings, super powers (connected to clans), monsters killing people, and a main character who is a bad-ass slayer of monsters with abandonment issues, a background of grief and loss, and fears of becoming herself the monster, who reluctantly joins forces with a charming healer to find and destroy the monsters and their creator. Plot twists reveal lies and mischief on many sides, as everyone seems to play their own angle and nothing is as it seems. Hope for a better future is only hinted at in the end. Looking forward to the next novel in the series to find out how the story proceeds.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • paul sparks
  • 01-04-19

Thought provoking fantasy

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, I’ve come to be wary of books that all the so called critics rave about as most of these reviews are always postings and lack honesty, it’s a good book and I look forward to the next instalment for the characters developed

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  • Ruth
  • 08-29-18

Highly recommended

A great story & excellent narration. A post-apocalyptic American Indian adventure story where monsters & anti-heroes roam the desert.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristin
  • 11-10-19

love it!

I've got an exam in less than a week but I binged this instead of studying because it was just too good to stop listening to!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-28-18

Loved it!

Just so good for so many reasons. Looking forward to reading more from this author.