In the final part of Trail of Lightning, I had some suspicions confirmed – but I also had some nasty surprises to deal with…
Let’s discuss Trail of Lightning (spoilers for the final chapters).
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Coyote is a Trickster and Kai has been keeping secrets. What was your take on the final act?
This is the part that didn’t surprise me, at least not entirely… I knew that Coyote was going to turn out to have some hand in the problems Maggie was trying to solve, but I wasn’t ready for the reveal of just how much of a hand he’d had in making sure she would be able to do what he wanted. And I have to say, I’m not okay with it. The same goes for Kai, though to a lesser extent, relatively speaking. I had high hopes for the relationships she seemed to be building, and this ending seems to have torn all of them to pieces. It’s kind of a lot to take, and even now I’m still not sure I enjoyed this result.
I am sure, however, that Neizghani can die in a fire, come back to life, be kicked in the nads and die in a bigger fire.
Maggie has gone on a hell of a journey since we first met her. Are you happy with where she has ended up? How do you feel the various (predominantly men’s) attempts to influence her? Do you think she/Kai have a chance at a future together / do you want them to work it out?
As I said, I’m not entirely satisfied by this ending. To be fair, given the character setup that was done for Coyote and for Neizghani, it isn’t terribly surprising now that I’ve time to consider it all. But the grim truth of how abusive Neizghani (die in a fire, Sparky) turned out to be, and how manipulative Coyote really was being where Maggie was concerned, were reveals I was not ready for. It’s darker than I was expecting, and while the revelation about Kai’s own manipulative actions perhaps don’t seem as bad as the rest, it still struck a bad chord for me.
Will Maggie and Kai work out the problems they’ll face (assuming, of course, that they both survive to face them, and can I just say that I really did NOT see the Kai twist coming at all!)? I honestly don’t know, and getting those answers will depend on whether or not I pick up the next book…
Time for closing thoughts! What was your favourite / least favourite aspect of Trail of Lightning? Will you be reading the sequel(s)?
This is a tough question to answer definitively, for me.
I think this book is very important in terms of the problematic issues that it highlights, both in terms of ‘own voices’ representation and the representation given to people who are or have been in abusive relationships. I just wish I’d been more prepared for its focus on the latter, and when I finished it my initial thoughts were that I was honestly unsure if I wanted to continue with the series. I’m still not sure, even now.
All of that said, I can’t deny that I engaged with this book pretty deeply, however conflicted my final take on it all is. I think that there’s an important difference between raging because a book is badly written, and feeling rage/shock/horror on behalf of a character or because of a plot twist. I definitely do not think Trail of Lightning was badly written; a lot of the reactions I felt, even the more unpleasant ones, were provoked by plot twists I didn’t fully see coming, or descriptions and building of tension that genuinely made me uneasy or had me hooked. However I might feel about the subject matter, I can’t deny that those reactions are a credit to the author’s skill with words.
And in the purely positive column, I won’t pretend I wasn’t deeply satisfied by Maggie’s response to the revelation of Coyote’s manipulations. On top of being perfectly in character for her, it just felt like the only answer. I just wish she’d done the same to Neizghani. (Seriously, he should have died in a fire. Covered in acid and fire ants after being kicked in the nads.)
So, I’m undecided on my future with this series, at least at the moment. Maybe I just need more time to be prepared, as much as I can be, for whatever the next book has in store. Maybe I’ll change my mind and give it a chance. I hope I do! But at the moment, I need more time to process it all.