*I received an ARC of SKYHUNTER in exchange for being a part of the SKYHUNTER street team. This has in no way influenced my review. Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for giving me the opportunity to read this book early!
This. Book. I made the mistake of reading SKYHUNTER by Marie Lu while on what was supposed to be a relaxing trip to the cottage…but wound up being SO STRESSED and ANXIOUS while reading this book!
A quick synopsis: the Karensa empire has been invading other countries, destroying their people and landscapes with their advanced weaponry and genetically mutated abominations called Ghosts. Just one country remains standing, though with enemy soldiers at their door, only an unstable ceasefire prevents their annihilation. SKYHUNTER is written from the perspective of Talin Kanami, a Basean refugee who fled to Mara with her mother as a child after their country was invaded and burned. Despite the laws banning refugees from joining their ranks, Talin works as a Striker, an elite group of killers, trained to kill enemy soldiers and their monstrous Ghosts, all without making a single sound. Against her instincts, Talin saves a prisoner of war, a mysterious deserter from Karensa, from execution and soon finds out that he just might be the key to ending the war.
SKYHUNTER is a dark, action packed adventure that had me constantly stressed out as I read it. I adored Talin right from the get-go and really appreciated her strength and courage in what was essentially a hopeless situation for her. She knows what she stands for and is willing to die to protect Mara, despite how people treat her for her ethnicity and disability. This willingness to sacrifice herself of course meant that there were many times throughout the book where I was so worried for her life, regularly checking the page count since there’s no way an author would kill off their main character part-way through, right?
The book’s world strongly reminded me of a video game called Horizon Zero Dawn, in that the society Talin lives in was built on the remains of a previous iteration of humanity that wiped itself out through war and technology. But where Horizon Zero Dawn had robot dinosaurs, SKYHUNTER had mutated science experiments like the horrifyingly mutated Ghosts with their twisted limbs that will likely haunt my dreams for the next little bit. It’s bleak and dark throughout the book, but the characters (and the reader along with them) hold tight onto the slightest glimmer of hope. It’s a story that’ll likely be on my mind for quite some time and I desperately can’t wait to read what comes next!
SKYHUNTER comes out on September 29, 2020 and if you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend pre-ordering SKYHUNTER and adding it to your TBR! You can pre-order it from Indigo, Amazon, or from your local independent bookstore.