Skyhunter by Marie Lu
In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.
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?
Ghosts travel in packs.
How amazing is that first line!? It really sets the tone for the rest of the story. Marie Lu is one of those authors who I adore, but I never feel compelled to continue on with her series. The first books are always great, but I never find myself prioritizing the sequels. I can tell now that that will not be the case for Skyhunter. I will be picking up the sequel as soon as it is released!
Skyhunter has a lot of the tropes that are common in YA fantasy, but I felt that the story itself was original enough and the characters were memorable enough to overcome the trap of becoming too cliche. I think it is a perfect blend of dystopian, fantasy, and SciFi.
There is the perfect amount of world building and action for me. I felt immersed in the world and the pacing kept me reading well into the night. I finished the book in one or two sitting, which is what I want in YA fantasy. All that said, it was the characters who shined for me. I know that I am not the only one who loves that found families trope, and Skyhunter has it in spades. I found myself deeply invested in these friendships to the point that it made me emotional. There was something so authentic about the relationships in this book. They lifted each other up but they also challenged one another- a perfect balance.
I also appreciated that there were hints of a romance, but that it is a slow burn. The chemistry felt authentic and the connection that is forced between these two characters adds another interesting layer to the story. I am excited to see how that plays out in the sequel!
Skyhunter is a book that I would recommend to someone who is looking to get into SciFi. It is fast-paced and not overly science or space heavy. It’s a great book if you want to get a feel for the genre.
- Characters: 9
- Atmosphere/Setting: 9
- Writing Style: 8
- Plot: 8
- Intrigue: 9
- Logic/Relationships: 9
- Enjoyment: 9
Overall CAWPILE score: 61/7=8.7
Thank you to Libro fm for the ALC of Skyhunter.