Series: Skyhunter #1
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published: September 29th, 2020 (Roaring Book Press)
Synopsis: The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.
The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.
Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.
Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.
When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?
Mara is one of the last free countries in the world as the Karensa Federation expands their borders and conquer everything in their path. Talin is a Striker, part of Mara’s elite fighting force trained to take out Ghosts, the once-human monsters that the Federation uses to attack them. An all-out invasion could happen at any moment, but when a prisoner, a defector from the Federation is captured at the warfront, Talin senses there is something different about him, maybe something that could win them the war once and for all.
As always, I love Marie Lu’s writing style, and with an innovative new world and some interesting characters, Skyhunter is one book this year you shouldn’t miss. Skyhunter is set in a sort of dystopian world, indicative of a past civilization that was technologically advanced. Mara, much to my disappointment, was not portrayed in much depth, and there wasn’t any time to get an idea of their culture, technological levels, society and more. On a side note, I get the feeling this would be great on audiobook. It’s mostly non-stop action, so it would probably be quite nice to listen to.
This is narrated from Talin’s POV who cannot speak, and so communicates using sign language and it is quite a large part of the story, including the events that caused it. Her arc is quite well developed and she makes for a strong female protagonist, brave and noble despite the early childhood trauma and discrimination she has faced in her years in Mara. Red on the other hand, while interesting was not given enough page time in my opinion – not nearly enough to justify how the trio trusted him so easily. Jeran and Adena were great side characters, but overall rather two-dimensional. There wasn’t much time spent on their arcs, only giving us a vague idea as to their pasts, but hopefully they’ll be more prominent in the sequel.
There are several deeper themes explored here such as discrimination and racism against refugees and I’m actually quite impressed that a book just under 400 pages managed to fit so much in. It was also nice that romance was barely an element and what little was there was very subtle and natural and didn’t get in the way of the main plot.
Skyhunter was such an easy read, and an entertaining one too. While I would say that this was not the author’s best work to date, especially when compared with Warcross, but this world has a lot of potential, and I’m curious to see what will happen next. This was an interesting blend of sci-fi and dystopian, and it looks like the next book is going to be set in the Karensan capital, which should be quite interesting from a world-building aspect. Of course, the ending was a little predictable but I’m really looking forward to the sequel and can’t wait to find out how it ends. I would definitely recommend this book for YA readers of all ages, even if you’re not a fan of the genres.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: