Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)

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Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 29, 2020
ISBN
978-1250221681
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A broken world. An overwhelming evil. A team of warriors ready to strike back. #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marie Lu is back with an adrenaline-laced novel about the lengths one warrior will go to fight for freedom and those she loves. Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara. A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts. But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara's capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding? Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left . . . with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save―or destroy―them all. Loyalty is life.

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lush and compelling YA sci-fi
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
SKYHUNTER is an enthralling and lush YA fantasy. Lu really paints the story with her words, and this new novel is every bit as enchanting and captivating as her earlier works. Talin is a refugee in a land that barely acknowledges them, leaving them to fend for themselves outside the walls. She is a Striker for the last country left standing against the Federation, Mara. As a Striker, she hunts and kills Ghosts, the twisted and poisoned former humans the Federation uses as a militia to destroy the lands it invades. This is a position that requires elite levels of skills and a lifetime of training. They are celebrated but also tend to have a short lifespan.

Strikers work in pairs and call their partner their Shield. The pairs are as close as humanly possible, living and breathing together so that they can always anticipate the other's moves on the battlefield. When Talin's Shield dies, she is set adrift in her grief. Then, she sees a Federation prisoner who is being sentenced to death unless he provides information about the Federation. As she watches his execution, she sees something that causes her to unexpectedly intervene. After she does so, she is set on another path to really discover the Federation, its machinations, as well as her own desires and goals.

What I loved: The storytelling here is really masterful and the landscape, and characters really come to life throughout the book. The characters were the strongest part of the story, and Talin, in particular, is multifaceted and compelling. Through her, we are introduced to some intriguing themes of external and internal motivations and the many reasons which may compel us to choose certain paths. These themes are repeated in the other characters. Other themes such as the right of decisions over others, treatment of refugees, and the power of psychological injury resonate throughout the story.

I also really liked that there are deep and fulfilling relationships without overt romance (though with space for them to develop). This is really a sci-fi/dystopian novel with fantastic world- and character-building. The story moves relatively quickly, and I appreciated the fast pace combined with just the right amount of explanations.

Final verdict: Overall, this is a lush and compelling YA sci-fi/dystopian told in Lu's lyrical and enchanting style. Highly recommend for fans of her earlier books - this is a new series not to be missed.
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Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
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Fast paced sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I really enjoyed Skyhunter, another winner from Marie Lu. Talin is a refugee and is mute. She is a Striker, a special type of fighter, for the country of Mara. Mara is under threat from the Karensa Federation, which has invaded every other country except for Mara. Talin and her mother fled to Mara when the Federation invaded their own country Basea. Mara does not treat its refugees well. Even though Talin risks her life for Mara, she is mocked and called a "rat". The Strikers are trained to fight "ghosts", dangerous genetically modified people turned into monsters created by the Federation.
The story gets going when an unusual prisoner from the Federation is captured by Mara. He is slated for execution. Sensing something important about him, Talin advocates to spare his life.
Skyhunter is a fast paced sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian. The Federation is truly chilling in its treatment of people. There are references to an ancient society that met with an apocalyptic end, which makes the reader to want to learn more. The characters are interesting and well developed. Talin's character offers the unique perspective of that of a refugee and a mute person. Skyhunter is the first book in a series. I look forward to future installments.
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