Skyhunter / Marie Lu / Book Review


The Federation is on the brink of conquering the world. Only Mara remains free. Each day, Mara's elite Strikers fight off the mutated experiments the Federation sends to test the borders. Each day, the borders shrink. Every day, a bit of freedom is lost to the Federation.

Talin, a refugee from the Federation and one of Mara's Strikers, knows that they are losing the battle, that Mara soon will fall.

But when the Strikers capture a deserter from the Federation named Red, Talin knows there is more to Red than meets the eye, and she will do whatever it takes to discover his secrets and save her new home from the war.



Post-Post-Apocalyptic Worldbuilding In a world that, at the moment, feels just a little bit too close to the edge of "apocalyptic nightmare," it is fun to escape into an imagined reality that is solidly post apocalypse. That is to say, Marie Lu creates a world in this book where civilization rose and fell a long, long time ago. Pandemics and politics of the Ancient Ones are long forgotten. There are ruins, the markers of an age long dead, but the people that have grown up out of those ruins see them only as a landscape. The world has moved on. Humanity persists even after the demise of the world as we know it.

Science Fantasy Though in actuality this story is solidly science fiction, Lu seamlessly blends in elements of fantasy that make this story fun to read. Horseback-riding ranger-type warriors and genetic experiments gone awry: what's not to love?

Scrap Metal Protagonist In this novel, Lu creates a main character who is scrappy and tough, feminine and flawed. Her main character is imperfect both physically and emotionally: a solid lead. The worldbuilding, too, compliments the character. Lu creates on the page towering heaps in scrap-metal junkyards, refugee slums of spices and poverty, and bent-and-twisted ruins from a long-ago age that may or may not be our own contemporary day.


Without spoiling the first few pages for any would-be readers, I will say that as soon as the scene was set, I said to myself, "I bet X is going to die." And behold, mere pages later, my prophecy was fulfilled. To start with a cliché isn't a big problem, as the narrative refocuses. The book becomes stronger and more original. Nevertheless, it is disappointing to be greeted with an obvious opener. Clichéd Opening

While I don't personally have any problem with a first-person present-tense narration, I have discovered that there are quite a lot of people that do have a problem with it. Good narration, whatever form it takes, doesn't call attention to itself. I often don't notice it. I did notice the narrative style here, for whatever reason. If it was noticeable to me, this choice will be noticeable to those who hate it, too. First Person Present

I hate to judge a book by its author, but sometimes, that is unavoidable. I generally love Marie Lu. I have found her books to contain great characters or detailed worldbuilding--or both--and everything I have read from her thus far has been, at the very least, better than the average YA book. That is what makes this book particularly disappointing. It isn't a bad book. It is an average book, and an average book coming from an author who can, in my opinion, produce much better is just that much more disappointing. Comparison Trap



Fans of Marie Lu's Legend series will enjoy the banter and wit between her protagonists in this novel as well. Those enchanted (and disgusted) by the fantastically apocalyptic world of Julianna Baggott's Pure will enjoy the humanoid experiments that roam these pages as well.


Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date: September 29, 2020
Series: Skyhunter Duology
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  1. I would hope this book would be better given Marie Lu's other books.


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