I fell in love with Coyote through books in grade school, continued that love through Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, and developed it a bit more through American Gods and such. But in those books Coyote, while a trickster, ultimately was on the side of humans.
Here in Trail of Lightning, we meet Maggie Hoskie. A woman who is in bad shape. After surviving a traumatic childhood event, she was adopted by Naayéé’ Neizghání, a monsterslayer, and learned to fight and use the clan powers that activated during her trauma.
But now she lives alone in a trailer in Dinetah– the walled in lands of the Dine after Energy wars and water shortages have completely transformed the U.S. Maggie is waiting for her mentor, who abandoned her a year ago, to come back. But what find her in the trailer is a plea for help. Something kidnapped a little girl and Maggie is drawn into the greater machinations of Coyote and military bands in order to find out how the monster appeared in the first place.
Coyote is not to be trusted in this story, and there’s a keen sense of danger that surrounds all of Maggie’s conversations with him, despite her seeming acceptance of his ability to rub salt in all her wounds.
The world is super-cool. Not only the Dine mythology, but also characters like Grace, who is a bad-ass woman who owns a bar where Maggie has to go to recover several times. There’s also a love interest named Kai, who has clan powers of his own and seems to be the catalyst for Maggie to realize she’s been influenced to see the world in only one way.
And yes, there’s a bit of fuzzy character motivation and a bunch of unanswered questions at the end for me…which usually would make a story lose half a star. In this case– I totally didn’t care. I devoured the story. Maggie is awesome. Following her around on red herring chases was super-fun. Her clash with Neizghání was delving into some pretty deep emotions.
And Coyote. Totally surprised me. Even though I knew he was a trickster. Anyway, an excerpt of the next book in the series has me already pre-ordering that one, and not just because there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, but also just because I loved this book.