Review: Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Review: Skyhunter by Marie LuSkyhunter (Skyhunter, #1) by Marie Lu
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 374
Series: Skyhunter #1
Published by Roaring Brook Press on September 29, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.
The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.
The legendary Strikers, Mara's elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.
Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.
Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.
When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

I general like Lu’s books but I don’t think anything will quite match The Young Elites for me. Skyhunter was good but I kept waiting for something to surprise me.

Skyhunter follows Talin, a refugee who has lost her voice and her home. She’s part of an elite force that defends her new home from the Karena Federation. After losing her partner, she is pared with an escapee from the Federation who has been enhanced. Together, they try to destroy the Federation. 

Plot: There’s a clear forumla for these type of YA novels/series and Lu definitely follows that to a “t”. A number of things are just a little too convenient and for a group of teenagers in charge of keeping the territory free of Ghosts, they can’t envision the bigger political picture. Everything is a little too predictable and easy for the team of rebels. There is simply too much that relies on the main characters not being aware of what is going on around them. 

The world building is solid here – a post-apocalyptic world built upon the remains of an ancient society. 

Characters: The characters are all great. I especially enjoyed Talin and Red throughout the first part of this story.  I wish we got to see more of the effect that losing her first shield had on her. It felt like she moved past that rather quickly. His impact is felt in the first few chapters before his death and I wish we got to see more of that relationship throughout as Red and Talin become partners. 

Lu does a good job of presenting different sides to the enemy. No blind demonization of the Federation nor the Maren side. It makes things a little more interesting when choosing a side the be on. 

Pacing: Lu truly excels with the pacing. The story kept moving, even when it needed to slow and explain. It stopped at all the right places and the action was well timed and written into the story.

Overall: Fans of science-fiction YA who don’t mind things being to typical or cookie cutter will probably enjoy this. If you are looking for something a little smarter, skip it. 

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