When monster hunter Maggie Hoskie is called in to hunt down a missing girl, she doesn’t expect to encounter a kind of monster that she’s never seen before. Concerned, she takes it to a medicine man that she knows to hopefully find answers. She gets answers. But unfortunately she also gets a partner, in the form of the medicine man’s grandson, Kai. Together they try to track down the source of this new monster that threatens the very lives of everyone living in the Dinetah.
I’ve had this book on my radar for a long time. And I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner, because I really enjoyed this post apocalyptic tale featuring a Navajo monster hunter who is Anita Blake, Kate Bishop, and Katniss Everdeen all rolled into one. I loved Maggie. She was strong but also vulnerable. Hard but with a heart of gold. Intelligent but not infallible. She was flawed, and I loved her flaws as much as I loved her ability to take names and kick butt. But as much as I loved Maggie, my favorite character far and away was Kai. I never expected to want to cuddle this absolute cinnamon roll of a man. A cinnamon roll who has some massive hidden depths. Like so massive. Hugely massive. Spoilery massive. Kai reminded me in a lot of ways of Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games series. And well, that’s not a bad thing. Kai was the balm to Maggie’s burn. A healer and a diplomat, Kai complemented Maggie… and he could stand on his own in a fight. I love cinnamon rolls like that.
It was also really wonderful to see the native peoples being portrayed as modern living and breathing human beings. People who have quirks and foibles and don’t automatically get shoved into the harmful stereotype of the mystic native. Oh there’s magic and there is mysticism in this book–because the story is very deeply rooted in Navajo traditions and Navajo folklore–but it isn’t the kind of story that implies that the people are dead and lost to time. There’s a lot of call outs to the trials and hurts that the Native American people have endured and are enduring currently. But the story isn’t about the struggle. It’s very much a “we need to save the world and find out where these monsters came from" kind of story. You know… pure urban fantasy post apocalyptic kind of stuff. So while the pain and the history of the Navajo people is part of the color that brings the story to life it isn’t the whole story. And what a story it is. In a weird way, at its core it's a “Coyote thought this was a good idea…” kind of story, which a lot of Navajo myths are.
But it’s also more than that. It’s a love story that promises to be fully romance in the next book. It’s a hunt to save the world. And it’s about finding and being true to one’s self. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was well crafted. I did not see one of the main points of the ending coming. But looking back at the story I do see it was foreshadowed well. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing more of what the author has out there. Five stars.
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