Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina #BookReview #excerpt #thriller #horror #mythology

Part gripping thriller and part mythological horror, a young Native girl hunts for answers about a string of disappearances, all while being haunted herself.

Anna Horn is always looking over her shoulder. For the bullies who torment her, for the entitled visitors at the reservation’s casino…and for the nameless, disembodied entity that stalks her every step—an ancient tribal myth come to life, one that’s intent on devouring her whole.

     With strange and sinister happenings occurring around the casino, Anna starts to suspect that not all the horrors on the reservation are old. As girls begin to go missing and the tribe scrambles to find answers, Anna struggles with her place on the rez, desperately searching for the key she’s sure lies in the legends of her tribe’s past.

     When Anna’s own little sister also disappears, she’ll do anything to bring Grace home. But the demons plaguing the reservation—both old and new—are strong, and sometimes, it’s the stories that never get told that are the most important.

     In this stunning and timely debut, author Nick Medina spins a tale of life as an outcast, the cost of forgetting tradition, and the courage it takes to become who you were always meant to be.

 photo credit – Ashley Suttor 2022

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Nick Medina appreciates blues-based music, local folklore, and snowy winters. He has degrees in organizational and multicultural communication and has worked as a college instructor. He enjoys playing guitar, listening to classic rock, exploring haunted cemeteries, and all sorts of spooky stuff.

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Thank you to Berkley for the free digital ARC to read and review.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina is much more than a crime thriller. It’s also a poignant portrayal of the current life of Indigenous Americans in the US, particularly the women. In the author’s notes, Medina states that over 5000 Indigenous girls and women were reported missing in 2021. The murder rate in some counties is up to 10 times that of the national average. The story exemplifies the conditions that make this a reality and the personal challenges faced by female members of the Indigenous community. It’s a story that touched me deep down to my very soul with the sheer abundance of harsh realities that the characters in this story faced.

My Reading Experience:

The mystery of the missing girls is riveting as Anna races to figure out what’s happening in Suite 808 and the connection to her missing sister and other presumed runaways. The local police department won’t help the reservation law enforcement, whose resources are limited, so Anna takes it upon herself to aid them at her own risk. The way the story is told, jumping from the beginning of events to a month later when a body is found, keeps the pace up from beginning to end. This doesn’t sound very clear, but it is.

I loved the Indigenous lore and mythology included in the story. I’ve never heard these tales and found them so imaginative and compelling. I’d love to learn more as I’m sure there’s a lot as the different groups must each have their own stories based on the part of the US they lived in and their unique experiences.

I also found exploring Anna’s world very harsh, particularly eye-opening towards the challenges faced by people of two spirits, and also heartwarming learning about how this particular tribe felt about such people. Unfortunately, her non-indigenous classmates did not share the reverence. They looked at it as a reason to bully and sexually harass.

The writing is so vivid and immersive, instantly pulling me into a world that is very new to me. The detailed descriptions, though slowing down the pace at times, also helped set the atmosphere that I needed to feel the story’s full impact.


Anna is of two spirits – both a female spirit and a male spirit. She is kind and worries about friends, family, and her tribe’s rapidly disappearing stories and lore. Anna cares deeply about life, whether it be animals or people. She has been bullied and harassed daily in school, which the administration will do nothing about. Still, she keeps looking forward to the day she is done with high school and done with that daily reminder that she is looked at as being different.

Narration & Pacing:

The narration is in the third person but focuses tightly on Anna throughout the story. And the pacing runs at varying speeds, going fast as the danger picks up and slows down during background information and world-building. I was so invested in the story that the varying speeds didn’t bother me.


The setting is a fictional reservation with a hotel and casino in Louisiana. The world-building is detailed and immersive and enhanced by different stories from mythology and lore.

Read if you like:

  • Riveting mysteries
  • Thrillers that offer more than thrills
  • Indigenous mythology and lore

Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

18 Replies to “Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina #BookReview #excerpt #thriller #horror #mythology”

  1. This is a bit different than I expected it would be, but I like that it includes both mystery and folklore. I’ve read so many articles on Native American women who disappear and are written off. More relatives are taking stands and fighting that injustice.
    Great review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all so disturbing for so many reasons. You would love the lore in this story. There’s one tale in particular that starts, ends, and threads itself through the story which is very creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Over 5K in one year – that’s both mind-boggling and profoundly sad. Like Mae, I’d also enjoy the blending of mystery and folklore. Great review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. High school can be the absolute worst for some people. This sound riveting, I love your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. It’s so disturbing for so many reasons. I’m wondering if it’s a problem here in NC too. I would think that it very well might be though I’d like to think there are states that do a much better job of effectively supporting Indigenous populations.


  4. Excellent review, Tessa. I listened to this book last week and also learned a lot from it as well as enjoying a well written story. It is hard to believe that this was a debut.


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