November is National Native American Heritage Month, so we’d like to pay tribute to our Native American friends and family by introducing you to the next Rick Riordan Presents novel. Written by Rebecca Roanhorse, Race to the Sun is a thrilling adventure drawing on the rich traditions of Diné (or “The People,” as the Navajo call themselves).
Seventh grader Nizhoni Begay must connect with the powers of her ancestors in order to rescue her father from a shape-shifting monster. Here’s a rundown of the basics you need to know before diving in.
The Hero Twins
The two sons of Changing Woman were the boys you called if you needed monster extermination ASAP. For generations now, the twins’ incredible strength and enchanted weaponry have been passed down to their descendants, usually a pair of young siblings. Unfortunately, they haven’t always been able to share their most impressive superpower: the ability to save the world alongside your brother without consistently feeling the urge to rip off his head.
Rock Crystal Boy
Or RC for short, this “young” man is the guardian of the sacred mountain Sisnaajiní. A better name for him might be Rock Crystal Geezer, because, despite looking like a 16-year-old boy, RC is actually hundreds of years old. He says his youthful appearance is due to a rigorous skin care routine. We say it can’t be that hard to hold on to your youth when your body is literally made of glistening crystal.
Na’ashjéii Asdzáá often served as an invaluable advisor to the Hero Twins, and she has been known to provide aid to their descendants as well. She is the only one who can guide Nizhoni to the House of the Sun, where Nizhoni will be able to request the magical weapons she needs to rescue her father. Spider Woman is wise, powerful, and accomplished. She also may or may not spend most of her time in her trailer watching telenovelas. Don’t judge–you haven’t earned that right.
AKA Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé. The big cheese, as it were. She is the Holy Woman who created the clan system of the Navajo people. Some believe she is even responsible for the formation of the earth and the sky. Needless to say, she’s someone we should all be grateful for. Though Nizhoni and her brother Mac may feel differently. After the trials they have to undergo to learn about their roots, odds are they might not live to see high school.
But hey, if a talking animal (stuffed or otherwise), tells you you’re descended from the Hero Twins and you must go on a life-changing quest to save your loved ones . . . you shouldn’t expect it to be a walk in the park.
We’ve barely even scratched the surface of Navajo lore. Want to find out more? Be sure to pick up Rick Riordan Presents’ Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, on sale 1/14!