Kai and Caleb Goodacre have been kidnapped just as rumors of a cult sweeping across the reservation leads Maggie and Hastiin to investigate an outpost, and what they find there will challenge everything they’ve come to know in this action-packed sequel to Trail of Lightning.
It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.
Roanhorse's second Sixth World apocalyptic fantasy novel is less emotionally charged than its predecessor, Trail of Lightning, but dives deeply into the characters, introduces a great new one, and continues weaving Navajo beliefs overtly and subtly into the story. Maggie Hoskie, monsterslayer, learns that Kai, the powerful young medicine man she loves, may have been kidnapped by a cult leader with powers of his own. Maggie is forced to venture into the ravaged world beyond Din tah, the Navajo's protected land, to save both Kai and Din tah itself. There's plenty of tension, particularly with Maggie cut off from her homeland and trying hard to keep from killing anyone. She's joined by teen girl Ben, who displays a perfect balance of strength and vulnerability, and her effect on the otherwise distant Maggie is a high point of the book. The depiction of North America in ruins is a dark treat, including vivid scenes of women saving enslaved women and supernatural locust swarms descending. Readers who enjoyed Roanhorse's first book will eagerly blaze through her second.