Trail of the Dead
By School Library Journal
This second installment in this trilogy continues the series’ unique blend of Native American mythology, sci-fi, dystopia, and steampunk. Lozen, her family, and Huessien safely escaped from Haven, and the one Overlord intent on their destruction is now dead. The remaining Overlords have sent Four Deaths, an assassin who cannot be killed, after them. Lozen pushes her family forward and is soon joined by Guy, Luz, the Dreamer, and Lorelei. Her powers are growing, and she can now communicate telepathically with more people and creatures, and members of her group begin to share her abilities. However, she becomes overwhelmed by a “blackness” that comes from all her killing, and causes her to doubt herself. Hopes of finding refuge in her old home dashed, Lozen moves her family ahead on the advice of Big Foot and Coyote. Eventually, they encounter members of other tribes, who have gemod hoses, a safe place, and a healer to help Lozen remove the darkness. The heroine has to face Four Deaths on her own. The assassin’s pursuit of the team is told from his point of view, providing a strong counterpoint to Lozen’s take. Filled with tense moments of fending off creatures and battling inner demons, the dynamic story is filled with energy and emotion, but the writing feels rushed. Lozen’s need for a healing ceremony will resonate with teens who have dealt with depression or trauma. VERDICT For fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s “Life as We Knew It” series (HMH); purchase where the previous title is popular.