Scifi Dystopian Fantasy Mash-Up

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
melsmagicalreads Avatar


"Because right now, we are all just young souls in identical sapphire coats, fighting to hold back the darkness."

Skyhunter by Marie Lu
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.25/5

Synopsis: Talin is a refugee who fled her country after the Federation invaded when she was 8 years old. Though it is unclear why, she has been unable to speak and now signs to communicate. When Talin's fighting abilities are noticed by a member of an elite fighting force, the Strikers, she becomes the first refugee permitted to join and fight. The primary weapon of the Federation are Ghosts, essentially zombies with super-human strength, speed, and bloodlust. The Strikers are the only things standing between the Federation and their country of Mara.

This book was really great. While I see it shelved as Scifi, it had significant dystopian and fantasy elements as well. I loved the little bits and pieces we get about ruins of the highly technological society that existed previously and hope we get a lot more in the future. I did find it a bit difficult to believe how disparate Mara was compared to the Federation in technological advancements. Talin had no idea what a light bulb or a train was, yet Mara had pretty complex technology when it came to fighting.

Talin is awesome. She's a badass fighter. But I read in an interview with Marie Lu that she thinks her biggest strength is her compassion, and I love had. We get a few scenes where Talin chooses compassion, even with people who have treated her poorly. I love that this is where her true strength lies. There is also something special about Talin as being disabled, and her inability to speak actually being a huge strength for her. The entire striker force communicates in signing because the ghosts have great hearing, and Talin is able to be the stealthiest among them.

This book does contain one of the more popular tropes right now: the unbreakable bond. I often find this trope corny but really liked how Lu did it.

There is a lot of commentary into the life of a refugee, racism/xenophobia, and colonialism. I think this was all handled beautifully. Talin really struggled with the idea of home and why she fights for Mara, a country that treats her and her people as second class citizens, forcing them to live in slums.

Really a great read and I'm looking forward to the next book!