Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the sequel to last year's Trail of Lightning, and in reading this book, you can clearly see Roanhorse's improvement as a writer. The prose is smoother, the pacing better, the characterizations sharper. The protagonist in particular shows notable character development. In the first book, Maggie was a broken, depressed, bad-tempered misanthrope struggling with PTSD who trusted no one and just wanted to be left alone to kill as many monsters as possible. In this book, she has made up her mind to try not to kill, and she is slowly learning to open up, to trust, and ask for and accept help. She begins to assemble her own little collection of friends and allies, people who have her back, and it's gratifying to watch.
This book also opens up the world, as Maggie's quest takes her beyond the borders of her magical land of Dinetah. After the Big Water, the author's name for her future climate change apocalypse and governmental collapse, the outside world is rather reminiscent of the lawless Australian outback of Mad Max: Fury Road. The villain this time around is the creepy and shudder-inducing White Locust, and if you have any kind of phobia about insects, let me assure you this book will not give you a restful sleep.
New characters this time around include Ben, a sixteen-year-old girl just come into her clan powers who Maggie sort-of reluctantly adopts. Ben is adorable, and I hope we see more of her going forward. The book ends with the White Locust defeated and this particular storyline wrapped up, but there is a coda involving the villain of the first book that promises all sorts of trouble for Maggie in the next. Given the steps forward taken by the author in this book, I'm looking forward to it.
View all my reviews