Hello, hello! It’s the first Sunday of #WyrdAndWonder month, and that means it’s time to talk about Trail of Lightning!
NOTE: Potential spoilers follow for chapters 1 through 8 of this book.
First up, let’s talk about the setting/worldbuilding. What are your first impressions of where/when the story begins?
I was rather pleasantly surprised by these elements, first of all. I had expected an urban fantasy setting, and we get that, but (probably thanks to my inclination toward avoiding spoilery details) I was unaware that we’d also be getting something post-apocalyptic/verging on horror, into the mix. Normally these kinds of stories are something I need to be in a specific mood to read, but the surprise didn’t put me off this time – I found it very easy to get caught up quickly in what was going on!
What I did know about the book, and this was a fascinating selling point for me, was the ‘own voices’ approach to First Nations mythology and culture. That mythology is something I already found interesting, but it was something I didn’t know very much about. So when this book hit my radar I knew I wanted to read it.
The post-apocalyptic element, too, is one that I’ve become more interested in in recent years; I like fantasy stories that say something about the world we’re living in, and not much is more fitting for a modern post-apocalyptic world than the threat of climate change, and the dangers we face because of it. So I’m already very appreciative of all the setup that’s gone into this book, and I’m definitely interested in seeing how it affects these characters and their lives.
On to the cast of characters! We get a fairly no-holds-barred introduction to Maggie Hoskie, and some interesting interactions between her and other key characters (or so they seem). What do you think of her, and of Kai and Grandpa Tah?
I love an unlikeable heroine, and right away Maggie Hoskie is presented as someone whose skills are in demand, but who’s clearly not otherwise appreciated very much. And it’s clear to see why, in the scene where she negotiates her payment for a job that involves finding and hopefully rescuing a child. Maggie isn’t a hero; she does this because it helps her to get by in a world that’s broken. She’s not entirely cold-hearted, but this is a job to her, and the kind of reception she gets from the tribe who are asking for her help seems to be typical; she’s clearly gotten used to needing to have a thick skin around other people because of who she is. And on that note, Maggie may not be a hero but apparently she was trained by one? Or at least had one in her life that she looked up to? But then something happened and he disappeared? TELL ME MORE.
As for Grandpa Tah and Kai, I am definitely immediately interested in them both. Tah won me over immediately, both on account of the potential (much-needed?) father figure he could be for Maggie, and because I don’t believe for a second that he’s not sly enough to be up to something where she and Kai are concerned. I want to have coffee with him and hear his stories; something tells me he’s got plenty of them.
Kai, though. I’m not entirely sure if I like him yet – anyone who’s presented as being immaculately dressed while everyone else has holes in their jeans and dirt on their boots pings my radar as being untrustworthy somehow. It’s a Classic Villain thing, I think. I don’t know if I think Kai is the bad guy in this story (yet) but there’s just something about him that gets that knee-jerk reaction of “I’m watching you, pal” from me.
The plot’s afoot … Perhaps just barely, but still. Any thoughts/suspicions/predictions? Or are you content to be taken along for the ride?
I don’t feel like we’ve been given enough clues to start putting the puzzle together yet, but I like the mystery elements enough that I want to stick around for more, for sure! I’m usually on the side of “go along for the ride” until a story’s halfway point, and if by that point I’m working to put things together and come up with theories and take guesses at what might happen, then it’s safe to say a book has won me over. I’m pretty confident I’ll end up there by the end of next week, and I’m excited to see if I’m right!
That’s it from me for now, but feel free to comment below with your own thoughts! And if you’d like to follow the Goodreads group for future questions, you can join us here! We’ll also be on Twitter discussing these questions there, if that’s more your speed. Just remember to share your post links and tag us @wyrdandwonder (or use the #wyrdandwonder hashtag!) to keep all the discussion going!
See you next week…