Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Storm ofWell, if there is a God of Good Books I need to make a prayer of thanks right now.  ‘Thank you for Storm of Locusts’.  I thought I loved Trail of Lightning, in fact I did love it, but Storm of Locusts blew my mind.  I am mush.  This continues with the fantastic world building, it explores further afield, it’s packed with imagination, the plot is intriguing, fast paced and absolutely compelling, the tension had me wringing my hands and the characterisation and friendships developed are just excellent.  I don’t even know how this could be improved upon to be honest – other than a third instalment that is.  And can I just say – check out that cover.

If you haven’t read the first book, I understand, I sympathise, we all have a lot of books to catch up with – however, I would strongly suggest you bump this series up to the top of mount tbr – you need this in your life – also beware of spoilers for Trail of Lightning.

We pick up a few weeks following the conclusion of the first book where we find Maggie being called onto a bounty hunt.  Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan.  There is death.  There is an unexpected commitment and there is the uncovering of a strange new ‘monster’ known as the White Locust.  As if the day hadn’t been bad enough the Goodacre twins show up, their young brother has gone missing and Kai seems to be implicated – at least he’s gone missing too.  Pear shaped! Ha!!  This day has rapidly gone to hell in a handcart and Maggie, not believing Kai”s complicity in recent events, undertakes to uncover the truth.

The story here is fast paced, there’s no shortage of action and for those of you who like high octane drama there’s a little bit of everything.  I love the originality displayed, We are once more treated to a story soaked in Native American culture that is absolutely fascinating and breathtakingly original to read about but much more than that, not only does this take the strong foundation from the first book but it builds a whole new level on top by the attention to the characters and the connections they build.  I’m sorry, I’m gushing, but I’m just happy and so it flows naturally, and haphazardly onto the page.

So, how can I convince you to pick this up – beg?  I will do it.  I have no shame.  Please read this series. Pretty please.  There will be cakes.

Seriously, the characters here are just excellent.  I love Maggie.  Of course she’s not always the easiest person to get along with, she has a bad track record when it comes to killing people (although she is trying to control that impulse) and to be honest she can be a little bit scary.  Her reputation has grown somewhat and people expect ‘badass’ from her.

What I found really refreshing, at the same time as a little gut wrenching, was the almost complete lack of Kai in this story.  I loved him in the first book – who didn’t? Right?  But, I think Roanhorse made an excellent decision here to distance him a little from events for a large part of the story.  It created not only a feeling of loss and a desire for Maggie to succeed but also a slight hesitation and a question of doubt.  Maggie felt it and so did I when reading this.

On top of this, we have a new character, Ben, who has her own clan powers that are quite unique.  Maggie has found herself in the unusual position of ‘caring’ about Ben – not easy as she’s also a rather feisty teenager – but great in developing Maggie’s own personality and giving her something else to think about that she’d not previously had to consider – the welfare of another person.

And, Rissa. I loved Rissa in this instalment.  She plays a great role, she really steps up and it was great to see the development of what could be a great friendship between these two characters.  Now I’m totally scared that something bad will happen to her.  *I’m making puppy eyes at Rebecca Roanhorse right now.*

Additionally there are locusts, cats and tricksters too.

I’m not going to mention too much more – particularly about the ‘baddie’ of the piece.  The White Locust is an enigma and one that ‘fit’s the world here.   On the face of it he doesn’t feel completely evil – but, nobody wants a storm of locusts on their tail and there is an element of crazy here – real ‘lost the plot’ crazy.

Basically, there’s a lot of love from me for this book.  It has this wonderful Mad Max, X-Men, end of the world strangeness going on and it’s an absolute blast to read.  Entertaining, fast paced, original, great writing, conflicted characters.  Shut up and take my money.

I highly recommend you give this series a try.

No criticisms.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Edelweiss, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

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Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail ofThe short and sweet version of this review is that I really loved Trail of Lightning and I can’t wait to read more of Maggie Hoskie’s adventures in this post apocalyptic world.  For a debut novel this is most impressive, gradual and layered world building, great pacing and characters that really do jump off the page.  For me, Roanhorse manages to introduce myths and legends in a way that breathes heart and soul into this world and not only that she makes you like the characters.  There may be gushing.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter.  As the story opens she is enlisted to help find a young girl who has gone missing.  This is a world where Gods and monsters roam with abandon and when Maggie finally catches up to the girl, high in the mountains, her abductor is much worse than she had anticipated.  A golem like creature, terrifying and difficult to kill but on top of that is the realisation that a powerful witch created this monster and Maggie needs to find out why.

I’m going to keep my description of the plot to the above.  There are plenty of reviews for this book that already do a fine job of outlining the storyline.

Why I loved this?  Threefold.  (1)  Characters that are flawed.  They make mistakes.  They feel real.  The story slowly reveals their histories and that makes them relatable.  In a nutshell they’re not perfect, but then who is.  I loved these characters. On top of that  great chemistry, between the two central characters. I’m not a romance reader (not a judgement call just personal preference) and yet I loved the relationship that began to bloom in this book.  None of that instalove that I find so irritating but a realistic build up of feelings that can’t be denied.

(2) Great worldbuilding.  This is a world where climate change has devastated the world and a cataclysmic event known as the ‘Big Water’ not only raised the water levels but at the same time released magic, gods and monsters.  Some of the clan members found themselves with certain abilities, related to the heritage of the person’s clan, in this case Maggie finds herself with certain powers.  However, most people don’t consider these powers a gift.  They’re more like a curse and in Maggie’s case they’ve lead to her living a rather isolated existence, shunned by most of the clans.  This is a fantasy world inspired by Native American myth and culture and it’s a world that I found fascinating to read about.  I was literally hooked to this book and in fact I was really disappointed when I reached the end.  I wanted more.

(3) The writing.  I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say the writing here just works for me.  There’s a perfect balance of creativity and description.  There’s a light touch and an expectation that readers will go with the flow.  For example Maggie.  She comes across as hostile, frosty even – she pushes people away and I guess at the start it makes her something of a puzzle.  I love that Roanhorse doesn’t try to rush in with explanations to make you like her immediately but instead leaves things to develop at a natural pace so that you can make your own mind up gradually.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, to be honest, I’m so enamoured by this book that I can barely recall anything and I’m not overly anxious to scrabble around to come up with things.  I think that the plot played second fiddle a little but, honestly, I think this is near damn perfect for me.

People, believe the hype.  In this case it’s all well deserved.

An incredibly entertaining novel, and an introduction to an author that I will definitely read again.  A gritty and fascinating world and a tough and yet at the same time vulnerable protagonist that I can’t wait to get to know better.

I bought the audio version of Trail of Lightning and it was brilliant.  I practically spent two full days with earplugs in ignoring my family until I reached the conclusion.  The narrator was Tanis Parenteau.