Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2020
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Trigger Warnings: slavery, death of parents, murder, animal cruelty, a chronically ill parent, violence, implied sexual slavery, murder
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bathena is a revenge story about Gul and Cavas which is set in a world inspired by medieval India and is unapologetically desi in its world building and setting.
The story of Hunted by the Sky is about Gul who is born with a star shaped birthmark on her arm. The kingdom of Ambar hunts down girls with these marks because of a prophecy. After her parents are killed while protecting her from King Lohar’s soldiers, Gul is rescued by a group of rebel women called Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus and they take her in and train her in magic and she is bent on taking revenge from King Lohar who orders these killings. Through this she crosses path with Cavas, who is a non-magi living with his sick father in the tenements. By meeting Gul, Cavas discovers things about him and his past while also getting more and more involved with Gul’s journey. It’s a story of revenge, loyalty and romance.
The main characters of the book are Gul and Cavas. Gul was a resilient and fierce character. Her passion to get revenge for her parents and her love and loyalty for people around her is really good to read. There is also a vulnerable side of her shown and how sometimes she is all over the place. But as a reader you will be able to understand where that part of her comes from.
Cavas as a character was genuine. He tried to do the right thing and loved his father fiercely. Although I think his character got quite repetitive at times. I wish we could have seen him in a more dimensional lens. This happened more towards the end of the book and in a hurry so I wish the next book explored Cavas’ character in more depth because he is an interesting character.
The other characters were also good. There was Juhi, Kali and Amira who were part of the Sisterhood and rescued Gul. I loved how their parts were portrayed and I hope to read more about them in the next book. The romance between Gul and Cavas had yearning and reluctance and honestly I can’t wait to read how they move forward in the next book.
The World Building
The world building was my favourite part of this book. It was set in a world inspired by medieval India and it was unapologetically desi in its setting. There were women wearing saris and ghagra cholis and fighting and men with turbans. The food descriptions were heavenly and definitely made me drool. The names of the characters and the places too were desi and honestly I LOVED IT. It’s always amazing to read a book with your culture and food so well described and since it was ownvoices it was more fun to read. I also liked the magic system though it got a little vague at times and not enough description was given.
The Plot and Pacing
The plot was good but the pacing was quite..off for me. It was slow at the start and then it picked up in the middle and again got slow and then became fast. So it was confusing and this affected the plot and I also couldn’t fully enjoy the book as the pacing made it difficult for me to do so. There were also times when I thought the plot fell flat. This was the biggest problem I had with the book.
This book discusses a lot of social themes. It focuses on class indifference and the way lower class people are mistreated and ignored for basic necessities. It talks about the injustices and problems faced by them. I loved how well it explores all these themes.
Overall, Hunted by the Sky is a fantasy filled with adventure, exploring social themes, romance and an intriguing plot. It’s a world inspired by medieval India and I love how desi it was. So I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and to everyone who loved revenge plots and romance with reluctance and yearning.
Thank you to the publisher and author for providing me with an eARC through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
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