Book two of the Killer of Enemies trilogy
By Joseph Bruchac
Available now from Tu Books
Lozen and her companions are on the move. They're all getting better at fighting gemods (genetically modified monsters) and Lozen's abilities are growing, tying them tighter together in unexpected ways. But Lozen is also getting sick, and a new and powerful enemy has been set on her trail.
Lozen is a member of the Apache and Chiricahua tribes, and the mythology she grew up with informs how she battles monsters and keeps her humanity. I've always loved stories that blend myth (or legends) into the story, and TRAIL OF THE DEAD is very satisfying on that account. Her people's history is also very important to her.
In this post-apocalyptic future, few people have access to books or other pop-culture relics. Lozen travels with the Dreamer, who it turns out has managed to save some books. It is interesting to see what recovering a bit of written history can do for some people. Lozen's crush, Hussein, is eager to read the Koran. Still, oral tradition keeps alive many things that writing has failed.
I wasn't a fan of passages through the point of view of the villain, Luther Little Wound. I found that they became repetitive as the book went on, because he doesn't have many interests aside from violence. His point of view also didn't add much that we didn't learn, or couldn't have learned, through Lozen's point of view.
Apart from that quibble, TRAIL OF THE DEAD is a fun adventure story. It has plenty of action, but still questions the consequences of violence. It has a diverse cast of characters who are learning that they too might have their own prejudices to overcome. It also has a tough heroine who has shouldered a heavy burden and is managing the weight. I look forward to her final adventure.