It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.
I was really worried that I wouldn’t like this one as much as the first book, Trail of Lightning. Turns out my worry was for naught, yay! This follow up proved to be just as if not more so enjoyable as its predecessor.
After the events of book one, Maggie and Kai’s relationship has been left uncertain. Because Maggie is still somewhat closed off from people and Kai has been through some stuff, they’ve gone through a huge strain and Maggie doesn’t even know the state of things between them. Lack of communication and all that. But she’s let Kai have his space as she figures out her own stuff, and it’s only once she realizes that he may be in danger that she decides to go after him and do something about it. So, yeah, our friend Kai, one of my favorite characters, is absent for most of the book. I have to confess, having heard about this before picking up the book, it’s one of the things that made me most worried about whether I would like this one as much as the first. But, again, needn’t have worried! I did miss Kai, of course, but Maggie makes some other friends in this book and I enjoyed the relationships between them a lot. I was so busy having fun with these women that I was too busy to worry about missing Kai all that much. 🙂
So, characters. Maggie finds herself responsible for, and ultimately playing mentor to, a teen aged girl named Ben. Like Maggie, Ben has her own clan powers. Maggie sees a lot of herself in this young woman and I think their relationship that develops lets us see a side of Maggie that we haven’t before. At first she’s prickly as always, but then she realizes that this girl is like her and she doesn’t want her to be left alone in the world, the way that she was. Maggie has a soft side! I mean, it’s buried under all that monster hunter gristle and behind the wall that years of hurt and loneliness has built, but it’s there. It takes a while for them to warm up to each other, but watching their relationship progress was one of the most satisfying things about this book. Maggie is slowly learning to let others into her life, and that’s great. I can’t wait to see her progress in further books.
One of the other things I really loved about this story is that it’s about three women banding together and kicking some butt. They’re at different stages in their lives and they don’t all share the same priorities, but they’re united here toward a common goal and taking on this quest together. I loved seeing a mostly female cast of characters here. Oftentimes with women-led urban fantasy (and I hesitate to call this solidly an urban fantasy although it does have that feel to it) the protagonist is the only woman or maybe one of two women. I miss those friendships and other relationships between women! Here we get it in spades, so I really enjoyed it.
As far as plot goes, it was pretty good. It’s a bit of a quest story, with some side quests along the way. We meet up with some familiar characters, even if they’re not always familiar faces. And we meet some new gods! Anywho, this definitely had that quest feel to it, even so far as Maggie having to accomplish some tasks in order to move forward with the rest of the quest. For a monster hunting post-apocalyptic sort of urban fantasy, this sure had the feel of classic fantasy at some points. I really enjoyed that sense of familiarity, and yet this also has that fresh feeling to it. Maybe it’s the combination of elements that makes this world and story feel so unique. Either way, I really love that about it. The nature of the story made the pacing up and down, but the story moved steadily forward and I found it to be a pretty quick read.
Overall, The Sixth World continues to be a fun ride full of engaging characters kicking monster ass. Very much looking forward to the next installment. 4.5/5 stars.