In June 2018, Rebecca Roanhorse put her stamp on the SFF world with Trail of Lighting, a post-apocalyptic saga about monster hunters. That was just the beginning. Since then she has ventured into middle grade, comics, the Star Wars universe, and short stories. Centering Black, Indigenous, and queer characters, there is no one doing it quite like Roanhorse. I’ve had the immense honor of working with several authors in my career as a colleague and as a short story editor, and Rebecca Roanhorse is one of them. With such an expansive body of work, there is a book for every reading mood and occasion.
Here is a guide on where to start:
For fans of Supernatural… Trail of Lightning, Book 1 in The Sixth World Series (2018)
I’m sure most generations have experienced The Worst Year Ever™ but between Covid-19, the fires raging through California, the looming election, and the deaths of beloved figures, 2020 takes the cake. Surely, the last thing anyone wants is to be reminded of the end of times. Why is Trail of Lightning different? Because it offers hope. In a world where rising waters of a climate apocalypse have drowned most of the earth, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. Monsters, gods, and heroes walk among each other. Among them is Maggie Hoskie, a supernaturally gifted monster hunter. She’s tasked with helping a small town find a missing girl, but discovered far more along the way. Maggie’s story continues in the sequel, Storm of Locusts.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
For the Star Wars fans… Resistance Reborn (2019)
The Skywalker Saga might be over, but the Star Wars universe lives on. Resistance Reborn is the prequel to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker following Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa, Rey, and Finn as they regroup following the massive depletion of their troops and escape from Crait. Roanhorse gives Poe the chance to reevaluate his choices in The Last Jedi. Rey gets to ask Leia about Ben Solo and why he is like this?! Not to mention the incredible moment where Poe helps Finn get dressed for his first big party. It’s the little moments that lead to the rebirth of the Resistance.
For the ultimate adventure… Race to the Sun (2020)
This one is perfect for the kid in your life, or in your heart. Rick Riordan Presents is an imprint serving up epic middle grade adventures from all over the world. Set in the American Southwest, Race to the Sun follows Nizhoni, her brother Mac, and their best friend Davery as they go on a Percy Jackson-style rescue mission and unforgettable quest, pitting three kids against the power of legendary characters.
For vampire friends and fiends… Vampires Never Get Old (2020)
Warning: as the co-editor of this anthology, I am more than biased in recommending it. Roanhorse has written in tons of anthologies such as A Phoenix First Must Burn, featuring stories of the Black experience through the lens of SFF edited by Patrice Caldwell. There’s The Mythic Dream, featuring myth retellings and edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. And, of course, there’s Vampires Never Get Old, which is all about, you guessed it, vampires, and edited by Natalie C. Parker and myself. Roanhorse’s story is the kind that keeps you out at night. Inspired by the Lost Boys, “The Boys from Blood River” is a haunting modern Western that deals with grief and immortality. Lukas summons a gang of cowboy vampires by playing their song, and they set before him an impossible choice.
For those who hunger for non-western epic fantasy… Black Sun (2020)
Still mad at the Game of Throne series finale and longing for big world fantasy? The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy is everything. Inspired by the Pre-Columbian Americas, this book has it all. Celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and, my personal favorite: forbidden magic. In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is a time of celebration. This year, it coincides with a solar eclipse, an event that marks the unbalancing of the world. Out there, is a disgraced ship captain with great power named Xiala, and her mysterious passenger, ready to arrive in Tova on the solstice. Let destiny begin…
For the superhero enthusiasts… Marvel’s Indigenous Voices #1 (2020)
November is National Native American Heritage Month, and this year you’ll be able to celebrate it with a marvelous cast of X-Men. There is some incredible talent on the roster. Rebecca Roanhorse and Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre bring to life Echo, AKA Maya Lopez from the Daredevil universe.
Among the others are Jeffrey Veregge, Darcie Little Badger, Kyle Charles, Stephen Graham Jones, and David Cutler.
Originally published in October 2020.
Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series, The Vicious Deep trilogy, and Star Wars: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning a new adventure.