Publisher: Saga Press
Page Count: 311
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Series: THE SIXTH WORLD, Book 2
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked it
Note: I was provided a free ARC of this book by the publisher in return for my fair and honest review.
It’s been one month since the events of TRAIL OF LIGHTNING. Although Maggie was victorious over her former mentor Neizgháni, magically burying him alive in the desert. That victory came at a price: Maggie’s trust in her lover Kai was tested as secrets came to the surface, and in the end she fatally shot him to lower Neizgháni’s guard, trusting in his Medicine People powers to restore him back to life. Maggie’s gambit worked and Kai resurrected soon after, but Maggie hasn’t seen since that day. But when Rissa and Clive Goodacre come knocking at her door, claiming Kai has fallen in with a cult leader and kidnapped their younger brother, Maggie drops everything to hunt Kai down. His trail will take her and her companions outside the Dinétah and onto treacherous roads. Maggie can’t let anything stop her because one thing eventually becomes clear: if she doesn’t find Kai and this mysterious new cult and stop their plans, the world could be facing apocalyptic consequences.
THE SIXTH WORLD series is at its best when it is embracing its otherworldliness. It’s already an eerie setting in this post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, where so much seems familiar and yet just slightly off. Add in the moments when gods decide to intervene (for good or for bad) and there’s an almost dreamlike state to some of the scenes. As action-packed as Maggie’s adventures are (you have nothing to worry about on that account), I think my favorite moment in this book was when Maggie challenged a god to play the shoe game, an ancient Navajo guessing game where you try to choose which moccasin in front of you is hiding an object. There’s a whole extra layer of tension as both Maggie and the god try to distract each other by picking at their respective emotional wounds. And it’s those emotional beats that make these books sing. Add in a truly creepy villain (his weapon of choice is right there in the title), and you have a successful return to the world of the Dinétah.
STORM OF LOCUSTS also continues Maggie’s arc as she heals from the emotional abuse from her former mentor that left her craving solitude over companionship. Nothing challenges her isolated tendencies more than the arrival of Ben, a teenage girl entrusted to her care early on in the story. Ben is heading down a path of violent revenge, and Maggie finds herself trying to convince the girl otherwise, as she herself attempts to restrain her own more murderous tendencies brought on by her clan powers.
What made this book work slightly less for me than the previous installment was something I’m not sure it’s fair to critique for, and that’s that Kai was missing for so much of the book, delaying Maggie’s ability to reckon with everything they went through a month ago. When they do finally meet, it’s messy and weird and I wasn’t sure of Kai’s endgame and honestly, perhaps my whole reaction is exactly how Maggie felt and I am channeling exactly what the author intended! So much of my love for TRAIL OF LIGHTNING was tied into the emotional baggage that was being worked through in Maggie’s physical battles, and that didn’t resonate quite as much in this installment. It’s a minor flaw in a book that still has plenty going for it!
STORM OF LOCUSTS is an excellent return to Maggie Hoskie and the world of the Dinétah. If you enjoyed TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, you won’t be disappointed by this next entry in the series. On top of that, Roanhorse has an excellent flair for teasing the next books in her series – the last few pages will have you eagerly awaiting what comes next for Maggie and her friends!