Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Posted January 13, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments



by Marie Lu

Series: Skyhunter #1
Publisher: Roaring Books Press on September 29, 2020
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: New Adult, Young Adult
Representation: Disability, Gay, LGBTQIAP+, Mutism
Content Warnings: Death, Kidnapping, Suicide, Torture, Violence

Rating: ★★★★½

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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.


Skyhunter was everything I wanted and more.

There was something about the cover art for Skyhunter that caught my eye last summer – something about the neon, science fiction feel of it that drew me to the book.  Despite being authored by Marie Lu, who is fairly popular within the community, I haven’t heard any buzz about Skyhunter.  I stumbled it by chance, and to this day, I still haven’t seen a single review.  I’m ready to holler about this book, because I really liked it.

First, Talin is mute.  I have never read a book with a main character who is unable to speak, and it just flowed so easily.  The world building eased the path a bit, making signing a bit more natural, but there were a lot of language barrier situations (beyond signing) that I thought Marie Lu approached in creative ways.  I would really like to hear from an Own Voices reader on the success of this rep – from my perspective, it appeared flawless and I was so excited to see it, but I am not an Own Voices reader and I would love to link up and Own Voices review on the subject of Talin’s mutism in Skyhunter.

Storytelling-wise, Skyhunter kept me highly engaged.  The pacing was fabulous, and even though the characters were not in full action sequences all the time, there was enough going on to be interesting.  The battle sequences themselves were flawlessly done, pulling the reader right into the story.  Skyhunter‘s strong action sequences and crumbling dystopian world both screaming for a screen adaptation of the series – it would make strong visual material.

The characters I liked as well.  I enjoyed unfolding each of the main four characters’s stories and getting to know them a little better.  I loved Talin’s mom, who was completely badass (should have seen that coming from the dedication).  From my perspective, the trauma was dealt with well and sensitively, while not dismissing that each of these characters carried heavy individual burdens.  Additionally, this never felt like a YA book to me.  It differed from the type of sci-fi you’d read if you picked up an adult sci-fi book, but the characters in this didn’t feel like teens.  The writing was less dense than adult books, but the characters did not feel young.

Then, of course, there is the science fiction.  War covers most the aspects of the dystopia, from salvaging to experiments.  I can’t stop thinking about Star Wars when I think about this book, because even though the stage and scale is much smaller, the Federation has a very “Empire” feel.  On the other hand, the Ghosts reminded a bit of A Game of Thrones‘s White Walkers.  Some may call these things unoriginal, but I liked the familiarity of them and the ode to these iconic stories, intentional or not.

If you feel like hunkering down this year with a solid, familiar, engaging science fiction story, I can’t recommend Skyhunter enough.  From the character relationships, to the smooth action sequences, to the political intrigue, there’s a lot to like in this book.  There’s also an intense ending and no publication date (yet) for the next book in the series, so that’s also something to look forward to!

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★

4.5 stars overall rating


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Skyhunter Stays On The Shelf

I’ve enjoyed may books in the last several months, but Skyhunter is the first in a while I’ve looked forward to reading at the end of the day.  It had exactly the sort of science fiction vibe I personally enjoy, one I feel like I haven’t gotten from the genre in a while.

Skyhunter is a book I’d read again – I can definitely see myself, as a mood reader, picking this one up to enjoy just on a whim.  It’s earned a place on my shelf!


Is there anyone in your life you’d trust enough to be your Shield?  In Skyhunter, the Strikers are paired and they must bond and protect one another to the death.  Is there someone in your life you’d trust enough to do the same?  Let me know in the comments!

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