26 September 2023

Storm of Locusts

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Reviewed by Robert Goodman.

By Rebecca Roanhorse, Hachette, $22.99.

Rebecca Roanhorse follows up her award winning debut Trail of Lightning with a sequel that is just as frenetic, attitude filled, violent and fun. Starting a few weeks after the events of the first book, Storm of Locusts, extends Roanhorse’s post-apocalyptic, god-filled world and puts her only sometimes likeable protagonist Maggie Hoskie through more trials now she has progressed from monsterslayer to godslayer.

After an abortive attempt to track down a shadowy figure called the White Locust who seems to be gathering followers, Maggie adopts a teenager with tribal tracking powers. Not long after she learns that her still estranged partner Kai has gone with the White Locust, taking Caleb, the youngest of the Goodacre clan, with him. Maggie is asked by the Goodacres to help them track Kai and Caleb down, a journey that will take her and them out of the safe walls of the Navajo lands and into the wild lands beyond.

With plenty of preliminaries out of the way in the first book of the series, Storm of Locusts starts with action and does not let up with plenty of deadly situations, cliffhangers and reverses. Maggie and her crew are helped or hindered by gods and demigods but also by the worst that humanity has to offer. Violence is never far away but Maggie is handy with guns and knives and carries the lightning sword of a god she bested in the previous book, if only she could learn how to use it. But even among all the action there is time for character development as Maggie tries to look after a teenage girl and heal the rifts with the Goodacre family.

This is a great entry in what is promising to be an action packed and fascinating on-going series (a postscript cliffhanger makes it clear that Roanhorse has more to tell) based in Navajo mythology. While readers could jump on board with this book, given the amount of lore that Roanhorse is developing and the number of recurring characters, it would be best to start at the beginning.

This and 500 more reviews can be found at www.pilebythebed.com.

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