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Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1)
A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.
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.
Loyalty is life.
#1 New York Times-bestselling author Marie Lu is back with an adrenaline-laced novel about the lengths one warrior will go to fight for freedom and those she loves.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(5 / 5) Ah, Lu did it again! I’d heard this series is reminiscent of her Legend series and that is a favorite of mine.
What I loved about this one right from the start is that they live far in the future, but the Early Ones (aka: Us) have mysteriously died off but left technology and more. The leadership has turned it into a dystopian society and they’ve created mutant human monsters that are quite believable. Even their war machines are humans that have been experimented on and added to. The ideas behind these make it so much easier to grasp but also adds a level of creepy because, can that happen?
Talin is a fabulously flawed, loyal, tough, smart lead who is mute due to throat damage from poisonous gas. Lu incorporates her sign language beautifully into the novel and it flowed well. Not only that, but Talin and her mother are refugees that fought hard for their freedom and are continually looked down upon for it. All these elements combined make the novel feel so real because it is possible in many of our lives.
It’s full of action, adventure, intrigue and all the exciting descriptive words I can use. I highly recommend!
The content is high in violence for fighting. They are at war so they are fighting the enemy, there is blood and there is death. Intense themes was higher than most books due to the war and what has happened in the war.
Thank you to Macmillan Audio and Roaring Book Press for the copies in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Publishing, I have loved being on the Street Team!
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
After a battle, some are given a tonic (to kill them) if their wounds are too severe to recover.
A group laughs and drinks at a celebration, most getting drunk.
A young woman gives a prisoner ghost a shot of something that knocks it out.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Very minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young woman previously had a “fling” with a young man, “fooling around” for a few weeks.
A young man comes upon a young woman bathing in a bathhouse. She brings her body out of his view and tells him men go to another pool.
A young woman notes its been too long since she’s been with a man and has a hard time not thinking of a young man’s bare chest.
Two men act as if they like each other but no real details or relationship.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
Daily people search for “ghosts” and kill them. They are in the middle of war.
Two teens are out searching for ghosts. One shoots, another attacks with knives, blood is covering the forest floor. They fight with swords and more, killing ghosts, slitting throats. One attacks a young man, sinking its teeth into him. He thrashes and stabs at it but it’s too late.
A young woman has seen a woman shot in the head, and a person whipped to death.
The execution of enemy soldiers is looked forward to and is a spectacle. At one execution, cold water is dumped on the prisoner and then he’s kicked. The crowd cheers. He is whipped with a bladed whip, blood spraying.
Two guards lunge with swords, at a young woman, she swings and gets their swords, then she hits a gun with her sword.
A young woman remembers as a child when a soldier dragged her out of her bed, his grip like fire, a young boy then holds a gun to her head. She is shoved on the ground. A woman grabbed the man and snaps his neck, then grabbed the gun and pointed it at the boy.
Prisoners are tortured, screams are heard regularly.
A young man regularly has bruises from his father’s abuse. A man grabs his son’s hair forcefully.
A group of teens fight many ghosts. They slash blades across throats, and fight continuously. The ghosts fight back, throwing them and more. Blood is everywhere, soldiers are injured and bloody, decapitated. Blood soaks into the ground and the smell lingers. A fellow soldier is needed to be killed as she was bitten by a ghost. A young man comes up and kills her in one slash of his sword. His step falters afterward. Bodies are placed in a wagon, more are killed because of bites, others are given a tonic (to kill them) if their wounds are too severe.
A young woman has a dream that a soldier forced her to shoot herself.
A young woman tells of a prisoner ghost that they experiment on and starve. Two teens goad him and slice at him multiple times. A young woman stabs its arm.
Growing up, a young boy was bullied by his older brother. When he wouldn’t do what he wanted, he’d grab his hair and dunk him in a water trough til he choked. During winter, he’d break the ice with his face before being dunked.
A group of soldiers attack a group of teens. The teens fight with daggers and get a few cuts.
A young man is taken captive. He is knocked down and tied up, then drugged to stay asleep.
At a faire, many ghosts are locked in cages- however, most are still in the process of turning from human to ghost so they are grotesque and some are knowing.
Soldiers tackle a man. When they move, the man is on the ground and bleeding. They drag him.
A group of teens knock out guards with a small needle to the neck. One throws a knife into a man’s neck, then twists his neck, breaking it and killing him. A young man stabs a woman in the chest, into her lung so she cannot scream. She slides to the ground, dead. Two jump onto other guards, slicing a throat and stabbing. They slice another’s face and knock another unconscious.
Men tackle a young woman, she lashes out with her dagger then passes out. Another young woman is taken by the men, she struggles, they hit her and she slumps. A man slices the young woman’s arm. A young woman holds knives to two people. She slashed one across the chest. Another stabs two. She then grabs a woman around the neck and holds a knife to it. A few teens are fighting with the men, throwing knives and more. An arrow pierces ones side, they have many cuts. A young woman stabs a man, he gasps, she twists the knife and stabs again. A ghost grabs her by her throat, lifting her off her feet.
Four teens are taken captive and put in cells.
A man aims a gun but someone shoots it out of his hand.
A flaming rock has been hurled by catapult onto a building. Many are trying to put it out. More flaming rocks are thrown, they kill and injure many people. People are screaming and running. Soldiers are burning every house and shanty. A ghost chases a few, “Someone has stabbed clean through one of its eyes, leaving nothing but a ruined socket and blood dripping down the side of its face. Shreds of blue fabric hang from its fangs.” A young woman jumps onto a ghost’s back and stabs its neck all the way through to the other side “…The skin breaks with a sickening rip, and then I feel the blade cut the vein. Blood gushes in a torrent onto the ground.” Two soldiers grab a woman and hit her. One slides his sword into her back, killing her. In retaliation, a young woman shoots one in the chest and slices the others throat. The battle is fierce, many are killed. A soldier with wings is cutting multiple people “into pieces” with the sharp wings. A woman and young woman hit many with arrows, sword and gun. The young woman slashed at a soldier and blood sprays. There are explosions. A wall falls and enemy soldiers flood in. A young woman and young man fight a ghost with weapons, spraying its blood. Many fight the ghosts and soldiers, a man shoots a young woman in the leg, a young woman shoots him, a man takes the bullet, a young woman is hit with weapons three times and she pushes her blade through a man’s chest.
A young woman remembers a raid from soldiers, they were burning everything and a man gets shot in the face.
A woman and young woman are taken captive. Both are chained and bloody.
Potentially Intense Themes
Ghosts are creatures that used to be human, but because of poison they have white and cracked skin with rancid flesh underneath. They are taller and stronger than any humans. They smell of blood. They continually regenerate so to kill them, you cut off their head and make them bleed out.
A young woman breathed in a poisonous gas and it damaged her vocal chords. That night they were attacked, her mom has white hair from then on and the young woman has few memories of soldiers and burning houses, of running away toward freedom while her throat burns. When they reach their destination, many more are fleeing with them. The place that accepts them tries to shoot the soldiers that are following, and they break the bridge as refugees are still running, screaming and scrambling over each other.
A man has jawbones in his ears as earrings. They are from the ghosts that killed his friends.
**SPOILER**A young woman has to kill her best friend because he has been bitten by a ghost. She slices her blade (not looking) and hears a sickening sound then a sigh.
A hostage trade gone wrong ends up with a young woman’s brother killed. He was shot in the back twice but slowly, so he still had to run. His sister recounts this memory.
A young woman sees a young man with despair- having lost the will to live. She recognizes it because she feels it too.
A young man thinks back to when people cut him open and replaced his bones with metal. It was agony for him.
A young girl and her father are turned into ghosts. The brother/son is forced to kill them.
**SPOILER** Those that disobey orders or are family of those that disobey (or don’t fulfill expectations) are turned into ghosts.
A military insists a young man is to be bled to use his blood.
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