I love this book, I love it, I love it!
The Lightning Trail is absolutely one of my favourite books of 2018. It is also a debut, by an author who has a whole heap of stuff in the pipeline (lucky me!) and I don’t even know what to say, except I just FREAKING LOVED THIS!! It was just perfect.
So, I am not even really sure if this is classed as YA fiction, however, I discovered it randomly as a new release on Goodreads, where it was definitely being shelved as a YA novel. I just really loved the cover. I am such a sucker for illustrated book covers, they are my absolute favourites if I’m honest, and for me, this one was just gorgeous, that kind of internet art I just adore.
So I wrote down the name, and a couple months later finally bought the book.
Took a couple months after that to actually read it, but when I started I just could not put it down, I basically ate it up over one day. Didn’t do anything else at all, just read this book.
And I LOVED it.
Getting back to whether or not it is YA, I guess it does have some YA vibes to me, in the style it is written, the voice, and some of the feel of the characters maybe, but it is also very dark and edgy too (which loads of YA is anyway) but I guess the characters could read as very late teens / early adults.
So let me break this down:
What did I Love the Most about this book?
Oh the worldbuilding. (And the characters, but more on that later.)
My absolute favourite type of worldbuilding is when stories just begin, and little by little they drop little crumbs of worldbuilding, usually through obscure references to confusing things that the characters' make in conversation or inner narration, but NO ONE EVER EXPLAINS ANYTHING.
The writer just leaves you to collect little threads of information and leaves you to tie them together yourself, eventually creating a rich tapestry. Instead of, you know, just chucking a fully made tapestry right in your face and shouting ‘this is how it is’.
So I just adored that aspect of this novel.
The world is INTERESTING and constantly references things I don’t fully understand, which just made me fascinated by everything, as I slowly started to figure out when it was set, where it was set, what had happened in this world’s history.
The key for me is when the author is very sparse with details, but refers to things, instances in history and people that all sound rich enough to have their own entire books written about them.
But then they don’t write entire books about them. Instead they leave it be.
They let the reader’s mind fill in those gaps, let us wish for more!
So a great example of what I mean, is the introduction of a new character in this novel, and the mention that he’s twitchy, and the rumours say he was a frontline soldier for some certain war that’s just a throwaway comment, but just sounds insanely deliciously interesting. So instead of over-explaining what happened in the past during this war, and what happened to this dude when he was there, we just get some vague references to what sounds to me like an entire story of it’s own.
So for me, that is the absolute key to world building!
I Just Love and adore this kind of storytelling.
So yeah, the worldbuilding was gritty and vivid, the setting was dirty, sweaty and felt so completely real, everything was written so well, and the history of the world was absolutely mouth watering. Oh, and the mythology was incredible. I loved the idea of weaving myths and legends and heroes into this dusty dangerous place, where guns exist and everything feels only too real, and yet magic exists too, but in a different way, an earthy real and scary kind of way.
I just adored it. It was vivid and rich and perfect.
Aaah, I loved her. She was super prickly and very strong, a really interesting character. She has a super strong personality, which I loved, and has some pretty negative views on herself, which created an awesome character arc.
Tell me about the Plot?
Aaah. Nah. I can’t be bothered.
Also, the less you know the better I reckon, and besides, read that blurb! The plot is excellent!
Man, what can I say, I am a total sucker for romance. It is basically my catnip.
I really liked the other main character in this novel, he is a smart mouthed charmer, fast talking and very interesting, and a great foil for the prickly heroine who doesn't want to open up to anyone.
I think the romance in this really kind of takes a back seat for most of the story, but it is there, which I liked, and man, I barely know what to say about it except I really liked this element of the novel, it really worked for me. The author took a lot of time building things between all the characters in the story, making sure they all felt like real people with issues, and so the romance elements really worked for me.
So final thoughts?
I ADORED it.
Definitely a new favourite for me. It was just one of those books that you read and feel it was written specifically to suit all your personal tastes.
Reading and stories are just so subjective.
To get that perfect right fit for you is just so damn hard. And so often you might love the writing but not the story, or the characters but not the romance . Or whatever.
It is just so freaking rare, to find that perfect book just for you.
So yes, please, anything this author writes, I am there.
Especially the sequels to this book. But also another whole fantasy series she has in the works.
An absolute new favourite writer and a new favourite book series for me.
Have you read this book? Love it or hate it?
Or have you read anything lately that really excited you and was perfect?
Let me know what you've been reading!
I'd love to know!