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Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

In Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, Maggie the Monster Slayer fights for her life. Are the gods on her side? Sometimes. But her shotgun always is. (transcript)


19 Trail of Lightning Rebecca Roanhorse cover


In today’s episode…


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse begins the saga of The Sixth World. In this post-apocalyptic landscape, the Dinétah have survived the rising waters of climate change and are shaping the world anew. Gods, heroes, and monsters walk freely in the new world. Maggie, a monster hunter with supernatural abilities, has been called in to find a missing child, and what she finds is more horrifying than anything she’s encountered before. The plot thickens and Maggie must team up with a young medicine man, Kai, to try and solve the growing mystery.



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Episode highlights…



*1:49 “I’m no hero. I’m more of a last resort, a scorched earth policy. I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.”

*2:31 We loved Rebecca Roanhorse’s wonderfully unique reimagining of Navajo folklore.

*4:37 Fantasy, or clairvoyance?


Things We Like A Latte

Leila – “Let’s Treat Violence Like A Contagious Disease” A TED Talk by Dr. Gary Slutkin

Danielle – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman. (Amazon affiliate link)



*13:23 “More gun than hammer”

*18:23  What is means to be “genre savvy”. We throw it back to our episode on The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert 

*20:53 We want a TV show!

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More ideas and resources for teachers and librarians…


The Navajo nation is so large and extends over four states, and different regions have slightly different myths. Rebecca Roanhorse decided to standardize her own references by using the versions found in Diné Bahane’: The Navajo Creation Story by Paul Zolfrod. She calls this a “poetic reimagining” of traditional myths. Additionally, Roanhorse was careful to use myths and stories that had already been ‘cleared for public consumption.’ In other words, she’s not sharing anything deemed ‘secret’ or ‘privately sacred’ by the nation. If you want to learn more about Navajo myths and legends, check out this website.


If you want to read more from Rebecca Roanhorse, you can check out her award-winning short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience”. And of course, check out Trail of Lightning and stay tuned for the rest of the Sixth World quartet.


Get in touch with us on Instagram and Twitter at @yacafepodcast or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!




Hosts: Danielle Hall (who blogs at

          & Amanda Thrasher (a booklover extraordinaire)


Guest and producer: Leila Hobbs

Music: Matt McCammon


Thank you to Saga Press for the review copy.


  • Cassandra Hepworth
    July 4, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I’m very interested in teaching this book for my grade 8s and 9s and just wondering if it’s age appropriate and if the language is appropriate for grade 8’s and 9s.

    • Danielle Hall
      July 4, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Hi, Cassandra,
      They definitely use the s-word a few times and at least one f-word. There is one steamy scene. I would definitely recommend that you preview it for your students. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to high schoolers, but middle school would really depend on your students and community. I would say it’s on par with tons of other YA books, but sometimes even those get contested [like Looking for Alaska, etc.].

  • […] to your students or include in your classroom library, you should check out our episodes on Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (indigenous futurism) and The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon […]

  • […] featured another example of indigenous futurism in episode 19 of the podcast, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, book one of her Sixth World series. We […]


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