Maggie Hoskie is supernaturally gifted by her clan ancestry to kill monsters in the former Navaho reservation, now a refuge in a post-apocalyptic water world. The Sixth World has begun, and in addition to monsters, gods and heroes of legend walk the land again. Against her better instincts, Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, a medicine-man-in-training to learn about a witchcraft that is creating a new breed of flesh-eating monsters, one of which kidnaps a little girl.

Squarely in the YA fantasy genre, Trail of Lightening is a fun and exciting read that will keep you up past your bedtime! Maggie is a hard and mean fighter with trust issues, and her growth is well deserved and satisfying, especially with such good companions as Kai and Tah, and frenemies as Ma’ii (aka Coyote) and Neizghani (her former teacher and a god). I could easily read a book from the perspective of any of these characters.

And speaking of Coyote, I am thrilled to see Native American myth teamed up with fantasy. This mashup seems so obvious yet there is deep well of opportunity in the fantasy genre. Most of the magic is in the form of clan powers, super powers that only manifest for a few individuals who experience a traumatic event. Plus there are also mythological monsters and gods. Upon seeing Coyote for the first time, I was nervous about his role and portrayal in the story, but I am very happy with the result.

There are a few lines that ground the Native American perspective to modern times (which I love), including the oral stories about elders who lived in residential schools or survived the Long Walk. One of the local gang leaders was one of the original protesters at the Transcontinental Pipeline. And whereas the Navajo reservation may seem like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the level of poverty rings true for today’s standards.

Add in some terrifying action, characters you want to cheer on, and a dash of romance, and you’ll be reinvigorated with the young adult urban fantasy genre!

Thanks to Netgalley and Saga Press for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

“My body stills, and I feel it. Feel K’aahanaanii rising to the surface. On cue, my senses sharpen and I see it. The quickest way to kill the Law Dog.

It would go like this. A punch to the throat, and as he gasps and instictively reaches for his neck, I unholster his pistol. Turn into his body, using him for cover as I raise the gun to take out his partner, whose reaction time is slow enough that he won’t even see the bullet coming for his forehead. Tap, tap and then the pistol’s at Longarm’s temple and I tap him, too. Four seconds, tops, and they’re both dead. The thought makes me smile.”