Synopsis: 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.
“As he stands there, he begins to vibrate. His wings open wider. The lace-like lattice ripples, begins to shimmer and flow, and a thousand locusts drop free, plopping thickly to the floor. They mill over one another before lifting into the air. He opens his mouth, and more pour out from his throat, crawling over his cheeks, his eyes. He raises his arms, and they rise from his hands. Locust song fills the room. Thick and warm and bilious, a physical thing. Like drowning in a vat of molasses.”
Goddamn. Tommy Arnold strikes again! LOOK AT THAT BADASS COVER!! I love it even more than Trail of Lightning, which is gorgeous!
I read the first installment in the summer of last year & dug the hell out of it! It was this unique, brutal, diverse post-apocalyptic urban fantasy with monsters & magic! It was truly a breath of fresh air.
This sequel? Unfortunately, not so much. For the most part, it felt like just another typical urban fantasy novel.
Storm of Locusts follows shortly after Trail of Lightning. Maggie is still shook up from the prior events & the fact that she is now in possession of a lightning sword. She is searching for Kai & soon learns that he has fallen in with the mysterious White Locust, a Navajo legend. The White Locust has gained a devout, dangerous following. Along the way, Maggie becomes the guardian to Ben, a teenager with unique clan powers.
I’m not even sure how to review this, to be honest. It was a mixed bag for me. I didn’t love it, nor did I absolutely loathe it. It would be easier to write a review if that were the case!
There was something different about Storm of Locusts, something I clashed with that wasn’t a problem in the first book. I just wasn’t fully vibing with it. For sure one of the standout issues was the dialogue.
Just one example of the cringey exchanges that took place throughout the book:
“You look good,” I say stupidly. Because he does. He’s taken off his blue jacket and the sleeves of his black button-up shirt are rolled up to his elbows, the collar loose and open despite the cold. His familiar rings glint in the light, the big turquoise one I like so much. Everything about him is elegant, even the way he holds the softly glowing cigarette between his long fingers.
“You look good too,” he whispers, perfectly sincere.
“Not like you,” I gesture to his party clothes.
“Your hair got longer,” he says.
“So did yours.”
I could feel my eyeballs rolling all the way back into my head. As I’ve gotten older, I have less patience for clunky, boring dialogue. It’s a surefire way to throw me out of the story. There just isn’t a natural rhythm to it, which is vital for me in enjoying a book.
What it comes down to is that the writing seemed off this time around. The conversations were herky jerky, the romantic relationship was lacking depth, the plot bordered on cheesy.. everything I loved about the first book was almost muted. The bones were there, but it was a shell of what it could have been.
There were still some delightful scenes & I enjoyed the addition of Ben, as well as the theme of female friendship that develops. Plus I’m still rooting for Maggie! I just didn’t connect with this one as much, although it does seem to be setting up for something big in the finale! At least.. I’m hoping that’s the case.
(Thanks to Saga Press for the copy!)
**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**