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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Strikers are loyal. With unparalleled, deadly fighting skills. With a willingness to do anything—including sacrifice their own lives—to defend Mara, the world’s last free nation. But to the very people she protects, Talin is seen as an outcast first and a Striker second. No matter what others think, Talin lets nothing distract her from keeping the evil Federation and its army of haunting, mutant beasts at bay. Until a mysterious prisoner shows up and disrupts Talin’s entire world. Is he a spy? A product of the Federation’s sinister experiments? The clock is ticking for Talin to unravel the prisoner’s secrets and discover whether he’s the weapon that will save—or destroy—them all. Explore the chilling realities of war and the power of hope in Skyhunter, with slow burn romance and nonstop action that will have you racing to the end.…


by Marie Lu

Overall Book Review:

Skyhunter is a story about struggling with grief, trauma, and hopeless situations, but finding light even in dark circumstances – a story that feels relevant in our day and age. Marie Lu successfully combined an interesting premise with a few unique elements, including a mute main character and zombie-like monsters called Ghosts. She also did an excellent job writing character relationships; not just the romance (of which there is only a smidge), but also the family relationships and friendships. The characters were distinct, and the plot was fast-paced. Skyhunter is a solid addition to YA dystopia and does a great job balancing its more serious themes with an interesting story.

On the other hand, Skyhunter didn’t do anything new. Marie Lu successfully wrote a story about characters finding something to fight for even in the midst of despair. However, this pulled the focus away from some of the other story elements, resulting in a predictable plot and unremarkable worldbuilding. Marie Lu effectively accomplished her goal, but a few of the story elements were lacking.

Skyhunter is the first book in a duology, and the sequel, Steelstriker, has already been published.

Content Analysis

Profanity/Language: 21 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore: Description of “Ghosts,” monsters that were originally humans, and it’s mentioned that their throats must be slit for them to die – if a Ghost bites a human the human will transform into a Ghost; two instances where a character kills an injured comrade who been bitten by a Ghost, according to protocol; report of a character having to kill family members that had been transformed into Ghosts; a girl’s vocal cords were injured by poison gas when she was a child; extended scene where characters fight and kill monsters, some detail; a character remembers seeing guards kill citizens for breaking rules, no detail; a character calls for a character on trial to be executed; a captured enemy is flogged almost to death; report that a captured enemy was starved for days; a character remembers fleeing her home and nearly being shot by soldiers when she was a child; a character remembers seeing a character break another’s neck, little detail; report of enemy soldiers being tortured; a character thinks about killing another; a character is seen with bruises inflicted by an abusive family member; extended battle scene includes deaths of both humans and monsters; a character remembers being cut open for a scientific experiment; a character has a nightmare about an incident that traumatized them as a child, involving nearly being shot, poison gas, and deaths of other characters, some detail; a character has a brief nightmare where a soldier tells her to shoot herself, and she does so, no detail; characters provoke and injure a monster that has been captured, starved and mistreated, some detail; characters perform a scientific experiment with blood, not gory; a character cuts a captured monster to distract it; a character tells a story about the death of a family member, no detail; characters are shot at; characters fight hand to hand; a character is shot with a drug; people at different stages of being turned into monsters are put on display; two instances where characters knock another unconscious; several characters are killed with little or no detail; monsters and people being deliberately transformed into monsters are kept in a lab; characters fight briefly; characters fight resulting in injuries or death for some characters, not graphic; a battle takes place; three instances where a character kills a monster; soldiers kill a civilian woman; 4 instances where characters are injured; a character remembers watching a family member killed by soldiers, some detail; a character shows signs of having been beaten; a character threatens to slit another’s throat.

Sex/Nudity: a character makes a sexual joke about a race of people; a few mentions of a male character having a crush on another male character; characters hold hands twice; a few instances where a character thinks another character looks attractive; characters leer at another character; character suggests another character slept with a number of people to achieve her position; a character develops a crush on another character; a female character bathing in public baths is approached by a male character – nothing is seen and no descriptions, but the female glimpses his bare back and thinks it’s too long since she’s been with a man; a male character implies he is in love with another male character.

Mature Subject Matter:

War; trauma; death (general); death of family members; death of friends; racism; social inequality; torture; grief; invasion; refugees; parental abuse; homosexual relationships.

Alcohol/Drug Usage:

Mention of characters drinking alcohol.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.