#bookeveryweek Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.
Maggie Hoskie is a wonderfully complicated character at the center of an epic struggle with cosmic implications. A fast and engaging read that left me wanting more without leaving me unsatisfied with the ending of this first book in the series. I hope it continues well!
The best part: a woman character with tragedy in her past who is realistically impacted by that and who grows through her relationships with others without finding that love is a miracle cure. Maggie is functioning in a difficult world despite her pain when the story begins and I found myself cheering for her from the get-go, hoping that she'd find her way to a better and fuller life on her own terms. Really liked a lot of the supporting characters as well.
The second best part: the mythological bits. Big Water and the Sixth World, Clan Powers, Coyote (Ma'ii), Neizghání, witches. This is not mythology I've read over and over again, so it felt fresh to me, and I really loved the way magical/mythological elements were commonplace and known to everyone without question.
The less good parts: the makeover scene (I think I'm too old for that "she cleans up so hot" moment to have the impact it might if I were actually a young adult), the wandering (I was never clear on what was guiding this journey, but they were always right about where they went next to look for a clue), and. Neizghání.
When we finally meet Neizghání, Maggie's former mentor, "in person" he is NOT AT ALL what I was expecting based on what we'd heard about him up to that point. He seemed, well, stupid (as in un-intelligent, brutish, no subtlety) and I had trouble parsing that with Maggie's obsession with him, even given the rescue angle. I like surprises, but only when they fit in with what I do know. He didn't fit.
So, I would read more, but the story is not without its flaws.
Helen tossed off the covers. She couldn’t sleep. It had only been a few hours since Cindy had dropped her off, after yet another all night session testing the limits of her abilities, tipsy on wine and drunk on power. She had stumbled to the bedroom, thrown away her burnt-up clothes, and flopped into bed. She fell into sleep like a diver into a pool.
She hadn’t expected to resurface again so soon. She checked the bedside clock. Four-thirty a.m. Too late to be called night and too early to be called morning. But her eyelids were up, and she shook with a restless energy. She knew this feeling. It was excitement.
The round of experiments with Cindy last night had shown her what she could do. And she wanted to do more. It had been a long time since her limits had been stretched, since the world had seemed new and exciting. God, what a rush! It was like being in love.
She sat on the edge of the bed for a moment and then padded to the closet and pulled on a long T-shirt. It had been her husband’s and proved more durable than he had. She wondered if it were possible to buy fireproof clothing.
Moving quietly through the apartment, she made her way to the kitchen and to the patio doors at the back. She stepped through into the patch of grass that had sufficed as a yard for Mary’s barbecue party a week or so ago.
Helen looked around. The windows of the two apartments above Mary’s overlooked the yard, but they were dark. The back of the yard was bordered by some kind of industrial strength hedges, probably to protect the homeowners behind from having to see the seedy, little apartment dwellers smoking their cigarettes and drinking their beer.
Helen willed a ball of fire into her hand and made it roll. She tossed it from one hand to the other, rolling it across her arms and laughing. She balanced it on one finger like Wilt Chamberlain and made it spin, first one direction and then another. She made a second and a third ball and tried to juggle them. Whenever she dropped one in the grass, she stomped out the small fire with her bare foot and made a replacement.
When she tired of fire juggling, she decided to try other shapes. She made a sort of spear, a long thin flame. She bent it around itself until it was a ring. She spun it in the air and then around one wrist, like it was a hula-hoop. She thought about spinning it around her waist, but knew the shirt would never survive it. She didn’t want to end up naked in her daughter’s backyard.
God, this was fun. She hadn’t had this kind of fun in years. She lined up a couple of beer cans and soda bottles in various parts of the yard and, making her finger into a gun, shot them with small blasts of fire, leaving smoking piles of melted tin can and broken glass.
She was trying to decide what to do next, when she froze, stopped by a small squeak. The sliding door squeaked in its track. Helen turned, just in time to see her wide-eyed daughter poking her head out the small opening she had made. Her voice sounded almost childlike, like she was afraid. “Mom?”
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I had triplets today. Three brain children.
Three of my book babies were sent out into the world to seek their fortunes. Hmmm . . .may have to work on that metaphor. Makes me sound too much like the mother in the three little pigs, and I'm hoping to avoid the wolves.
It really is such a lovely feeling though, getting your work out there into the world. So grateful for all the help I've had getting this far.
It's time to celebrate so the youngest and I made cupcakes. :-)
Today, I sent out an author newsletter announcing the re-release of my novels through a new publisher. I also changed all my pictures and banners on all the different social media platforms I play on so as to stop using the picture of me holding that first book with its old cover and the old covers.
It felt really good. Like fresh coat of paint or complete makeover good. That new beginning feeling like I get when a new semester begins and I get new students and the possibilities are all still on the horizon. Such buoying optimism!
Despite the signed contract in my hand (or really, on my hard drive), the thing that made this rebirth moment for my novels feel real was getting my new covers and knowing my release date (February 7). So, one more time (then I promise I'll stop sharing my new covers . . .for today at least): Meet the Menopausal Superheroes for the first time all over again.