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review 2019-06-04 11:50
"Storm of Locusts - Sixth World #2" by Rebecca Roanhorse - Highly Recommended
Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) - Rebecca Roanhorse

I was delighted by Rebecca Roanhorse's first book in her Sixth World series, "Trail of Lightning". It was original, exciting, vividly told and finally gave Urban Fantasy a First Nation voice. "Trail Of Lightning" left me hungry for more so I pre-ordered the second book, "Storm Of Locusts". I devoured it when it arrived and was very happy to find that Rebecca Roanhorse has achieved something rare, a second book in a series that is better than the first.



"Storm Of locusts" takes place four weeks after the violence at Black Mesa at end of "Trail Of Lightning", where Maggie Hoskie reluctantly earned herself the title "God Slayer" and became estranged from her friend and ally, Kai Arviso.


Maggie isn't given much time to grieve, The Thirsty Boys turn up on the first page and enlist Maggie in fight that will bring her head to head with The Swarm, a new Locust cult, and take her outside the borders of the Dinétah into the post-apocalyptic chaos of the land of the Big Water where the white men struggle to survive.


The plot moves so fast that, by the time I was a quarter of the way through I already I had one unexpected death, one interesting new character, tension between all the old characters and a really spooky, creepy, don't-let-that-thing-get-in-my-hair kind of baddy.


As with "Trail Of Lightning", "Storm Of Locusts" is told in skillfully executed first person present tense style that is the perfect platform for the rapid action of the plot and for displaying Maggie's brusque, don't-mess-with-me attitude combined with the guilty exaltation she feels when she has the chance to kill and the joy she hopes for but doesn't quite feel worthy of. The opening paragraphs of the book are a good example of the writing style:


"Four men with guns stand in my yard.

It’s just past seven in the morning, and in other places in Dinétah, in other people’s yards, men and women are breaking theirfast with their families. Husbands grumble half-heartedly about the heat already starting to drag down the December morning. Mothers remind children of the newest Tribal Council winter water rations before sending them out to feed the sheep. Relatives make plans to get together over the coming Keshmish holiday.

But these four men aren’t here to complain about the weather or to make holiday plans. They certainly aren’t here for the pleasure of my company. They’ve comebecause they want me to kill something.

Only it’s my day off, so this better be good."


One of my few criticisms of "Trail Of Lightning" was that the plot was fairly simple and there were times when it wandered a little. "Storm Of Locusts" has a rich plot which Rebecca Roanhorse has completely under control. The pace is perfect. The action is continuous and spectacular but it's always used to drive the development of the character and the relationships between them.


In "Trail Of Lightning" it was Maggie, with some support from Kai, against the world. In "Storm Of Locusts" we have Maggie leading a group of fighters with the core being the trio of women on the dramatic book cover: Maggie, the fierce and vengeful Risa Goodacre and Ben, an eager teenager who has just come into her clan powers as a tracker. These three storm across the Big Water lands, encountering enemies and Gods (sometimes in the same person) and leaving destruction behind them as they chase The Swarm.


One of the things that sets the Sixth World series apart for me is that the attitudes towards death and violence and good and evil are not the ones I normally find in Urban Fantasy. The Sixth World is harder, less forgiving and less unambiguous than most Urban Fantasy. The violence is frequent, vivid and entirely functional - you kill for a reason and you do it as fast as you can. The Gods are neither good nor evil, they're just Gods doing what Gods do. There are definitely evil people in book, men who make their living off the pain and death of others, but there are no people who are entirely good. To survive in this world means getting your hands bloody from time to time.


As with the last book, there is a strong sense of place in "Storm Of Locusts". I've been to the spot where the final conflict takes place and Rebecca Roanhorse captures its scale perfectly. Part of the book is set in the Amangiri Resort and Spa and I loved that it became quite a different place when I saw it through Maggie's Dinétah eyes:


"The Amangiri Resort and Spa is bigger than it seemed from Aaron’s brochure. And colder. Not in temperature, although the desert has dipped to freezing with the sun down, but in architecture. All the buildings are built along sharp angles, the materials not adobe or even wood, but cold concrete. The place has none of the curves of the earth, nothing that speaks of Dinétah, of wooden hogans or warmth. It is entirely foreign. A place made by bilagáanas, for bilagáanas. That is a truth I feel deep in my bones. Bones that plead for me to turn around, that I don’t belong here, that this place has no love for a child of Dinétah."

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is resort.jpg
Amangiri Resort and Spa

I'm completely hooked on this series now. I've heard good things of Tanis Parenteau's narration of the audiobook version of this series, both of which are out now, so I've bought a copy to use as are-read in preparation for reading the third book next year. 



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review 2019-05-31 18:25
Trail of Lightning - Rebecca Roanhorse
Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World) - Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning is another book from my Hugo reading, this time nominated for Best Novel - it's also a book I've had on my TBR pile (at least the imaginary version of it) for quite a while, as it sounded like something that would be very much my cup of tea, even though my appetite for urban fantasy waned a while back. 


This is post-apocalyptic urban fantasy too, the apocalypse in particular being a massive flood which has devastated much of the US, leaving the Dinétah (the former Navajo reservation) a place of safety for some but also now populated partly by both gods and monsters. Within that setting, our protagonist (Maggie Hoskie) goes through the traumatic murder of her grandmother and is rescued/apprenticed to become a monster slayer, only to be left behind once more. Maggie has various powers, well suited to her new calling, but also which set her even further apart from everyone else and when we first meet her she's unsuccessfully trying her best to avoid getting drawn back to the slaying of monsters. 


It's a really enjoyable ride, with strong characterisation particularly where Maggie is concerned and some first rate world-building. It also avoids what a friend of mine has now termed 'the proximity fuck', where characters (usually a man and a woman) have sex without any apparent chemistry but rather because they are both just physically there. There's pointers towards a planned relationship in a future book or books between Maggie and Kai, who also has powers, but it's clearly not the A plot for this series. 


Trail of Lightning does what it does well, I enjoyed it a lot and very much want to read the next book in the series (Storm of Locusts) but it didn't grab that elusive fifth star because I can't see myself re-reading it. 

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review 2019-05-13 03:48
Storm of Locust by Rebecca Roanhorse
Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) - Rebecca Roanhorse

I just finished Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse and had to start and finish Storm of Locust.  That's the nice thing about finding a great book a year after it's been released and the second in the series has already hit the shelves.  I didn't take time to write a review that's how bad I wanted to read this book.  Between Rebecca Roanhorse's storytelling and Tanis Parenteau's performance as the narrator on the audiobook, it becomes a book you can't put down.


Rebecca Roanhorse's use of her Navajo life, re-imagined after an Armageddon scale major catastrophe of what is called Big Water wipes out the world.  All that is left in our protagonist's life is the land of her people, which is east and south, to the west of Big Denver to Burque (Albuquerque) which is south and west, and to the north is the Exalted Mormon Kingdom in the Salt Lake City area which would be north.  To the east is the tops of the Appalachians and then further east is the Swiss Alps.  Nothing else exists in this universe (as of this book).  Rebecca uses the Diyin Dine╩╝é (Navajo Gods) and clan powers that comes back when the sixth world is created (or brought back) after the catastrophe in her stories, bringing a fresh subject into the fantasy and science fiction genres that makes this series so good.


So go out and grab a copy of Trail of Lightning if you haven't read it and then start Swarm of Locust. You won't be disappointed.

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review 2019-05-13 03:17
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World) - Rebecca Roanhorse

I've seen this book and the second book of the Sixth World series by Rebecca Roanhorse reviewed here at BookLikes and I put it not only on my TBR list but to the front of the class and read probably one of the best books I've read this year.  Rebecca is an excellent writer and a better storyteller.  That's probably why she is a Hugo & Campbell award winner.  Her audiobooks are brilliantly performed by Tanis Parenteau, and she does this series justice!  Rebecca does a great job of writing science fiction, fantasy, and her Navajo heritage.


Our antihero is Maggie, a monster killer, trained by Neizghání who's Mother was a god and is known as a slayer of monsters.  Neizghání shows up in Maggie's life after she finds that she has a clan power, something that is rare in this post-armageddon life. The book starts up a couple of years after Neizghání abandons Maggie.  Now people come to Maggie and rely on her to kill monsters.  Maggie's first adventure in the book is to track down a missing little girl that turns out to have been taken by a monster.


That's all you'll get from me. a poorly written review but hopefully you will believe me when I tell you this book and series is worth your time.  It will be one of the series that will fill in for Hearne's Iron Druid series now that it is finished and also Jim Butcher's Dresden Files since he's probably decided to enjoy life for a while.  Rebeca Roanhorse's Sixth World series is that good.

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review 2019-05-03 01:11
Storm of Locusts (Sixth World #2)
Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) - Rebecca Roanhorse

In my opinion this is one of those rare unicorns: the sophomore sequel that's better than the first in the series. If you've read Trail of Lightning you already have an idea of what to expect. Roanhorse remains a master at world building, and her characters are complex and multi-layered. This book builds on that, and I think also improves on the first. The pacing is better and I actually enjoyed Maggie more in this book, and felt like she had more depth. I also applaud Roanhorse for writing a teenage character that managed to feel authentically youthful and rebellious, but I didn't want to smack. Quite the trick.


Of course one of the core concepts that stole my heart was the lady's road trip from hell. It's right on the cover in full shiny glory. I mean, hell yes to that. But wait, there's more! This book also has creepy locust people. And magic. And post-apocalyptic wasteland dwellers. And leveling up, both in powers and in self-growth. And a super epic lightning sword. And mysterious Gods that may or may not have your best interests in mind. And pages and pages about learning to trust and be softer when life has taught you to be hard. And found families. And all around badassery. Just yes to this book. If you aren't reading Roanhorse already, and you like urban fantasy, or just fantasy in general, then get your butt in gear and pick this series up.

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