Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Hunted by the Sky book cover

Information

Goodreads: Hunted by the Sky
Series: The Wrath of Ambar #1
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: June 23, 2020

Official Summary

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.

Star Divider

Review

Hunted by the Sky is a complex, exhilarating story about a girl who skirts the lines between prophecy and free will as she seeks to repay the powerful people who murdered her parents — and still seek to murder her. With rich world building and determined characters whose agendas are sometimes the same and sometimes in conflict, the book will keep readers immersed.

Granted, there are a number of YA tropes here. If you want to be reductive, you could summarize the book as: “A girl with unique magic abilities and a vendetta sneaks into the palace to murder the king, while befriending a stable boy.” And it sounds like A LOT of other books. Yet the world building, characters, and details in the plot make it seem fresh. It’s exactly the type of story one would enjoy if they like books about people disguising themselves to sneak into palaces.

The magic system is satisfyingly complex, as well. There are magi and non-magi, but magi have a wide variety of talents, and characters are willing to admit there are things about magic that are not yet known. In some books, that might seem like a cop out. “Ooh, the special main character has a wild ability never heard of before. Must be because we don’t know everything about magic!” Here, however, it comes across as a sincere admission that . . . the scholars of magic simply don’t know everything yet. This makes sense, just as it would make sense for a world based on medieval India to not yet know everything about science or technology or medicine yet because there’s just so much to discover.

The characters themselves are hit-or-miss for me, in the sense that I don’t think I like many of them. However, l found them interesting, which is what really matters to me. Gul is headstrong and impetuous, but she’s determined, and the Sisterhood who trained her has some weird ideas about training and strength and their purpose, but they’re just trying to figure out their places in the world, as well. It’s fun watching everything come together, or come apart, even when I don’t agree with everything everyone is doing.

If you’re a YA fantasy fan, this is a solid pick.

Briana
4 stars

6 thoughts on “Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

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