Cover Image: Hunted by the Sky

Hunted by the Sky

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Member Reviews

This book completely swept me away! Romance, magic, intrigue. I could not put it down and need more now! The storytelling was so vivid and lush.

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I’m in awe of Juhi, Kali and Amira. They all have so much character and personality and well-developed pasts! A common mistake while writing strong women characters or warriors is to make them sorta two-dimensional or make them ultra masculine but the author didn’t fall into the trap of either. All these women learn to fight in saris tied dhoti style and let me tell you, walking in a sari is a struggle, let alone fighting!

I especially love how our feisty main character Gul seems to think she’s worthless but Cavas* takes one look at her and says who am I to rescue her, she never needed my help!

I love watching historical dramas and mythology inspired Indian movies and shows so same goes for reading about those themes in books as well. And let me just say, India was thriving in medieval times, it’s hands down my favourite era ever and the beauty with which the author writes about it almost reduced me to tears.

If you’re a desi, this book will feel like home to you with the free use of hindi in names and titles and just everything, I can’t even describe it. Also love all the clothing of the characters described and the fact that these women were fighting in saris and heavy lehengas – I STAN. I also saw some parallels to modern India as well. Maybe it’s just me reading into it but the tenements reminded me a lot of the Mumbai chawls and I swear my heart was breaking the entire time.

I’m honestly in awe of the entire storyline and the wonderful pace at which it progresses, giving us enough time to learn about and get attached to the characters while not lingering too much. There are so many fascinating sub-plots woven in and some really interesting characters that I’m dying to read more about in the next book.

Although I wish the magic system was explored a bit more, I’m hoping that will be happening in the next books. I think my favourite part was how the story progresses in a manner that yo can guess what might happen but in the second half of the book everything is chaos and there’s so much going on and a lot of new aspects are introduced, ending the book in a way that left me reeling and craving for a lot more.

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Hunted by The Sky is a YA fantasy inspired by medieval India. It explores class struggles, identity and romance. This book has been recently released and its sequel is expected to release in 2021. It is also a highly anticipated read for me. So I was definitely excited to receive an E-arc for review.

Trigger Warnings: implied sexual slavery, death of parents, murder, animal cruelty, a chronically ill parent, and violence

Introduction To Hunted By The Sky
Gul has a star shaped birthmark, but girls with similar ones have been disappearing for years. After the murder of her parents by King Lohar’s soldiers, Gul is forced into hiding but is soon taken in with a group of women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus. Although with grief, Gul is desperate for revenge and so the Sisters train her in warrior magic.

Cavas is struggling, living in tenements with his chronically ill Father. He meets Gul and is roped in an adventure where romance is found and magic is discovered.

The Plot of Hunted By The Sky
Medieval India and the descriptions used in this book is beautiful. I felt at ease reading this and coming across familiar terms in my own culture, being Indian myself. This is probably the first fantasy I have read where I’ve felt represented! However, I’ll admit that I found the pacing off in this book. It was hard to get into, but once I was hooked- all was good! The magic system definitely intrigued me too, with people being either magi or non-magi. Or as Gul is, the chosen one. I just found that it it would have benefited with some rules so that the reader could be clear on what was wrong or right in this world. Although, there is space for growth in the sequel!

The Characters
Gul is a fierce woman, one that I felt represented the chosen one trope well. As much as I admired these qualities, it would have been nice to see some other personality qualities too to separate her from falling into the stereotype of a strong heroine. On the other hand, the Sisterhood represented the name fully and although at times certain characters frustrated me for not having any empathy for Gul, I did like them as a whole. Cavas added humour to this book and his relationship wasn’t exactly insta love or slow burn, but I would have liked to see more chemistry between them.

Overall, I’d rate this 3.5 stars! I wish I could rate this higher because I loved the uniqueness of it and the feeling of being represented, but unfortunately there are some minor issues. I will continue on to reading the sequel and I would recommend this for those of you who are looking to diversify your reading and are into the chosen one trope.

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This was a great story! The characters were interesting, the plot was compelling, but above all: the world-building. The world-building was what really intrigued me, and it has to be my favourite thing about this novel. Can highly recommend!

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Hunted by the Sky is a fantasy set in a world inspired by medieval India where a revengeful young girl finds herself right beneath the claws of royalty while a young boy struggling to survive finds a destiny for himself; all amidst the classism stemmed from magical abilities and lack thereof, bashing societal standards, and a romance reluctantly blossoming.

Representation: Indian & Persian mythology; ancient Indian setting; desi culture; sapphic side character.
Ownvoices reader for: Desi & Indian.
Trigger warnings: murdered parents, chronically ill parent, sexual slavery, classism, discrimination, name-calling, animal cruelty, anxiety around hidden identity, blood, and violence.

Prophecy of the chosen one never gets old & destiny always brings them together.

A large part of this story is based on an age-old prophecy that promises a girl with the star-shaped birthmark would overthrow the tyrannical ruler of this world. It forms the foundation for the journey that Gul starts on and everything that gradually unfolds. The birthmark she adorns is a secret she holds close, both because it reminds her of the dreadful fate she has lived through and because it's an easy signal to call for death at the hands of the King.

Destiny and fate are prominent ideas that compel the two main characters, and even the side characters, to live their purpose—which, at first, is all about Gul avenging her parents' murder by sliding a dagger into the King's heart and Cavas looking after his sick father while surviving in the tenements.

Svapnalok is realistically flawed, yet beautifully cultural and diverse.

The 'world of dreams' or Svapnalok, is divided into four kingdoms: Ambar, Prithvi, Jwala, and Samudra—easily inspired by the four elements of nature: sky, earth, fire, and water. World-building is one of the strongest aspects of this book as it not only creates hills and deserts or fortresses and castles, but also gives authentic attires and vernacular to actually step into the story.

There are mentions of outfits like a sari pallu, and ghagra and choli; words like prasad, samarpan and salutations like didi or greetings like shubhsaver, and foods like kachoris, which are bound to make the ownvoices readers happy and for the non-ownvoices readers to understand this world in more depth. Different sexual identities in this world is normalized and while classism is an issue, the story is refreshing for gender equality.

There's abundant diversity depicted through different skin colors and religious beliefs. Everyone's faith or atheism is held at the same bar—some pray to the Sky Goddess, some to Sant Javer, some to Prophet Zaal, and some to no one. Though, the world highly discriminates between those who show magical abilities (magi) and those who don't (non-magi) by separating the latter through gates and restricting them to live only in the unclean, not-equipped-with-all-facilities tenements set up outside the kingdom.

A sudden kiss sparks interest and these opposite poles attract each other against all odds.

Gul and Cavas meet on the day of an annual festival which is celebrated all the more for young people finding their one true love—their neela chand literal translation of 'blue moon' which prefers to one's mate. Yes. So romantic. Even more since this first scene of them together involves pick-pocketing, public accusation, nervousness, and swooping in for a kiss. Now that's a start to a romance that does go through a lot of ups and downs later on in the book.

Strong and fierce females need a separate applause.

Not only is the main protagonist, Gul, a determined and hardened young girl who is set on seeking revenge, but even the side characters are rooted in their ideologies. Three women—mysteriously famous as The Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus—wish for the torturous king to be admonished and thrown off too. A lot of weapon and magic yielding by these ambitious women is worth appreciating.

The magic system might be clearer in the sequel & the pacing disappoints.

Different types of magical abilities are presented in this story, like death magic & whispering, but there's quite some confusion as to what the essence of all magic is. While the start is surprisingly slow, the story picks up its speed towards the end and wraps up on a high note that is bound to make you anticipate the sequel. Quite a few sequences are convenient but when something seems a little too predictable, the plot pleasantly surprises with each passing event.

Make sure you pick up this fantasy debut by Tanaz Bathena it'll introduce you to something refreshingly new yet nostalgic for ownvoices readers.

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It took some time for me to gather my thoughts for this one. Hunted by the Sky started off really slow, in fact, I felt like the actual story only started around the 50% mark. This book just dragged on for me. It picked up some speed around the end, and I was really intrigued by Cavas' story.

Writing & Worldbuilding
I really enjoyed the worldbuilding. Hunted by the Sky is inspired by medieval India and I just got completely lost in it. The descriptions were so rich and amazing, especially the food descriptions. I was hungry the whole time while reading it.

The mythology of the world is also amazing, I loved the story of the two moons. I do wish that the magic system was more structured and had some more rules. It was hard to follow along at first and I hope it becomes more developed in the next book.

To be honest, I didn't really like Gul. I don't want to be "that" kind of reviewer, but the characters were just way too young for me. Especially at the start of the book when they're both 16.

I really did enjoy Cavas' character, although I will admit that I didn't feel the romantic connection between him and Gul. Shayla is also a super interesting character. I don't want to give too much away because spoilers, but I really hope we get more of her story in the next book.

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This fantasy is inspired by medieval India and is full of complex systems of magic, prophecy, warriors, and fated romance. The story takes a lot of the YA troupes I enjoy and puts them together in a beautiful setting in new ways. While this book did also have a lot of first book in a series problems (lots of world building makes for a slower pace with all the action at the end), I enjoyed finding out about the magic systems and getting to know our main characters, told in their alternative dual POVS. Gul watched her parents' murder as they tried to protect her from the king who executes all born with the star birthmark after a prophecy foretells one with that mark will be his downfall. She is adopted and trained as a warrior my fierce women working against his oppressive rule. But when she comes of age, she defies their caution and sneaks into the palace with the help of a boy she just met to try to assassinate the king. Cavas reluctantly helps Gul and the two are soon bound together as they try to keep their secrets while fighting for justice. Gul can "whisper" to animals but also has uncontrollable death magic that explodes when she loses control of her emotions. Cavas doesn't think he is a magi but find he can speak to beings that are like ghosts back from the dead. The magic system has a lot of layers and I think this book just gives us an introduction of what it can do. I found it hard to follow at points, but appreciated how it was so inspired by the religions and mythology from this region. The setting was detailed vividly and it was a welcome change from the European medieval settings you see too often in fantasy. I look forward to reading more in this setting as these characters are given a chance to do more in following books.

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The story focuses on Gul, a girl born with a star-shaped birthmark in India. The plot cneters on her journey wanting to avenge the death of her parents by killing the evil king of her land. Gul then meets Cavas, a boy who will do anything to save his ill father from dying. It is then that their unfortunate circumstances bring them together, and will hand in hand uncover secrets and explore the King’s mysterious land.

First of all, I will say that the world-building in this book was very well done. The magic system was good and I enjoyed reading a book from a different culture. Sometimes it got a little confusing? Thankfully there was a glossary at the back of the book that helped you not get lost :)

There were many ”categories” so to speak, of magic. I wasn’t a fan of the ”seeing the un-dead” on, though. It was a little too dark for me.

I did like the interactions between the gifted and not gifted. It was a very intriguing concept as you read the struggles and tensions between them.

The plot itself was interesting, maybe a little cliche because of the chosen one trope, but it was good, nonetheless. The book has multiple POV and that did help stir the plot forward because sometimes it dragged a tiny bit.

Overall, it was a good read with intriguing characters and an interesting plot.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ✨3.5/5

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Hunted by the Sky is a beautiful book that starts out being about getting revenge but develops into so much more. From the moment I started this book I could not stop reading and can’t wait for the next book. We follow Gul who as a character develops throughout the book along with so many other amazing strong females. All the characters have unique back stories that make each character multi layered. Plus all of this takes place is a vivid and unique world. I didn’t want this book to end.

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Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for an ARC of this book! All the following opinions are my own!

When I say that Hunted By The Sky is by far the BEST, and I actually mean the motherfucking BEST Indian mythology/history/culture inspired fantasy that I’ve read in all my almost-23-years on this planet, I am not lying! If you know anything about me at all, you will know that I am obsessed with my country and its culture. Not as it is right now, because that kind of scares me a bit, but as it is the history books and epic mythologies. My culture is not without its flaws. There has always been oppression and dissonance in society, but there are also some incredibly beautiful parts to it. Capturing this paradoxical phenomenon, while also not pandering to an audience, is incredibly hard, and Tanaz Bhathena did an amazing job of it! She showcased the good, and the bad, and she showed you the beauty that there is in a culture so rich and flawed and human. And that is what captured my heart and soul!

Hunted By The Sky is set in the fictional kingdom of Ambar under the tyrannical rule of an usurper king. He hunts girls with a star-shaped birthmark on their bodies in an attempt to thwart a prophecy that has predicted his fall. Girls like Gul, who lose everything and everyone that tries to protect them, once they’re targeted. After seeing the Sky Warriors of the king murder her parents, Gul swears revenge, and when she is taken in and trained by vigilantes who call themselves The Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus, her thirst for vengeance only deepens. Things take off when Gul comes across a non-magi who works at the palace by the name Cavas, and now they must work with each other, by the decree of their destinies...or something much more odd, if they wish to accomplish what they want to.

I know I suck at summaries, but I really don’t want to give anything away and that’s the best I could do SORRY! But like I said, the depiction of the cultures in this book are phenomenal and that’s what won me over almost instantly. The book draws its influences for the settings from medieval India and also the Rajput kingdoms, if I’m not wrong. And it does a very good job of creating this atmosphere that draws you in completely. I usually prefer writing styles that are flowery, and while it wasn’t so in the book, it still managed to have a similar effect on me. Whenever I picked up this book, I felt myself drifting into the story and the world so easily that I didn’t even realize that I was actually reading words and sentences. The world....enveloped me, to put it simply. It had the ability to create a sensory reaction for me and that added so much character to the book!

Coming to the actual characters in this novel, I LOVED THEM ALL SO MUCH!! Not gonna lie, it took me a minute to care about these people, but again, like everything else, it happened so seamlessly and I only realized it when one of them was in danger and my heart did a flip because I was terrified of them. Gul and Cavas are deeply flawed human beings. But they are also incredibly loveable. The thing about the characters in this book is just that - you will probably call them dumb and foolish and cowards and what not (i know i did), but you will love them, still. You manage to develop a relationship with them, in a way. That’s how very real they feel. I mean, yeah their dynamics are great and yeah, even the side characters are very intriguing and yes, some of the side characters aren’t as well developed obviously, and OF COURSE, they have amazing arcs, etc., but what stood out the most for me was definitely how I was able to feel like I was actually living this story with the MCs and how it felt like I could reach out and touch them and feel an actual human beneath my fingertips.

Gul and Cavas, for a couple whose first meeting is them smooching each other, give you a pretty damn amazing slow-burn romance. I would’ve liked a little bit more development when it came to their relationship because they don’t spend as much time “on-screen” as I would have liked, but they work really well. There’s this really cute chemistry between them and it doesn’t completely make sense, which is kind of how it is for them inside the story as well so I guess it does make sense in a way?? If that makes sense?? XD

Then there’s the story. OOF! Not gonna lie, I was really confused for a while there with the plot because there was this ominous tone to it all along and I simply hate no knowing what is going to happen, but, without giving too much away, I’ll say this - it pays off. About as well as you can expect it to. There’s a slow beginning, but once it picks up pace, **it picks up pace**! The last 5-ish% of the novel is like this huge set-up for the upcoming books in this series and its exposition heavy and a little info-dumpy, but that, personally, didn't bother me. A lot of the book is very high-stakes action because of Gul’s very identity being a danger to her and those around her, so it didn’t lack in creating this tight tension within me. Because I was so invested in everyone and everything from the beginning, the end didn’t seem like it dragged because I wanted to know all that stuff anyway. Side note, the whole tyrant king looking for a child through the kingdom and causing mayhem because his death is prophesied bit was so reminiscent of the Kamsa/Krishna story for me and I LOVED IT!

The book addresses a lot of themes that are interesting. There’s the whole bit about segregation and oppression with Magi and Non-Magi. There is the rampant sexism and patriarchal oppression and exploitation of women. There’s so much about personal growth and acceptance and self-love. These are things that are written into the story beautifully and if you’re someone who comes out of a story, pulling parallels between its world and yours, you’ll find that this is an important one. I simply cannot wait to see what the sequel will bring us!!!!

All in all, this was easily my most favourite read of the year. It brought me all the things I love on a platter and left me to feast. I enjoyed the writing, the plot, the characters, the world...everything! And I CANNOT recommend it enough!!!

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I liked the story from the very beginning. You are thrown right in the middle of the action and kept at the edge of your seat from the first chapter. The world is very well developed and we learn a lot about its history. However, I did not feel particularly attached to the main characters, and overall the book was very plot-driven for me. Gul is a typical angry teenager, she is very irrational and her main motivation was revenge. There is a growth to her character throughout the book, and it felt like a realistic portrayal of someone in her situation, even if I personally found annoying sometimes. Her motives are very real and believable. Cavas is very loyal and devoted to his father. I really liked this aspect of his character. In the beginning, we get some understanding for the world, which was again very well developed, meet a lot of interesting characters and then in the last third the story takes a big turn. Things escalate quickly and the book leaves you awaiting the next one impatiently. Overall, the biggest plus of this book is the world-building and action-filled plot, that will keep you turning the pages.

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Inspired by two different periods of Indian history and Indian and Persian mythology, Hunted by The Sky by Tanaz Bhathena introduces readers to a lush, dangerous fantasy world of magic that features the journey of a girl with a star-shaped birthmark who is destined to end the rule of a tyrannical king.

Prophecies were a huge element in the plot, and I never get tired of stories filled with them. It made me more curious and surely thickened the story since prophecies can surely be tricky. Gul, the protagonist, was always running for her life because, in their Kingdom, girls who had star-shaped birthmark were hunted by the king. This caused her parents’ murder, and she was rescued by a group of women who called themselves the Sisters of the Golden Lotus. Ever since then, she trained and hones her magic to avenge the death of her parents. Eventually, she met Caves, a stable boy who struggled to meet one’s end for his ill father. Their destiny and fate intertwined in an unexpected way to fulfill each other’s purpose.

From the first page, I could truly say that this book would be bloody and unforgiving. I immediately became aware of the injustice in the kingdom of Ambar. The pacing can be slow sometimes but not too long that it became dull. I think the strongest point of this novel was the world-building and magic system. I like how the myth creatures were blended into the story; how the four kingdoms were the elements of nature. The setting, from the places, food, clothing, and even the language, gave an authentic feel of the culture infused in the story. Various magical abilities, from harmless ones to dangerous ones, were present. I also appreciated that there was a glossary in the book. Moreover, the book was diversified. Different people, from races and colors to beliefs, were mentioned and briefly discussed.

The characters were just okay for me. I didn’t connect to the main characters fully, but I didn’t dislike them either. Gul was the chosen one who was searching for revenge. She was stubborn most of the time and impulsive. Although she was cautious when trusting people, she didn’t think twice about the consequences of her actions. On the other hand, Cavas at first seemed like just an ordinary boy who would become Gul’s love interest. However, there was a mystery in his heritage that could become a major player in the plot. I like their chemistry, and I found the romance quite entertaining. I am looking forward to how their characters would be fleshed out more.

Overall, Hunted by The Sky is definitely an entertaining read! The conclusion was intriguing, and I cannot wait to read what will happen next. I recommend this to those who enjoy “the chosen one” trope.

4/5 stars!

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Guys. GUYS. Why don't you have this book yet? There can be no excuse now that it's out in the world. This is a tale overflowing with magic and revenge and girls taking the world into their hands and I couldn't get enough of it!

This is the second medieval Indian fantasy series I've started reading this year and I have no intention of letting HUNTED BY THE SKY be the last. To be fair, this one is actually a mix of Indian and Persian, which I thought gave this world a very unique feel. In this story, girls are kidnapped from their families if they have a mark in the shape of a star on them. All because of a prophecy that says the girl who bears this mark will be the end of the king. And the Sisters of the Golden Lotus, a female rebellion group with some interesting connections, believe that Gul, the girl starring on that <I>gorgeous</I> cover, is the chosen one. Now, hang on, don't go walking away because you think you're tired of that trope. Don't go, because you haven't seen what <I>this</I> book does with it. And it does not disappoint! I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn't even realize that was the trope until writing this review.

People in this world are divided by whether or not they have magic. Magi and non-magi. And, as you might be able to guess, one of these is more valued than the other, which is a real shame. Those without magic are shoved into tenements, which are essentially slums where they all struggle to get by. Over the years they have been stripped of many rights, like education. Magi, on the other hand, are not always much better. They still find themselves forced to sell their services at the flesh market for the opportunity to work. I loved the variety of magic in this world. Some people can whisper slash control animals, others can suss out the truth with a touch, wipe memories, conjure water and fire, and so on.

Now, we get a taste of either side. The magi and the non-magi. Girl and boy. Gul and Cavas.

<b>Gul</b> is introduced to us by watching her parents be murdered as Sky Warriors hunt for her. All on account of her star mark. When she is taken in by the Golden Lotus rebels, Gul spends the next two years plotting her revenge on the Major and the King who took her family from her. But there's a tiny problem in that she has no idea how to work her magic. It never showed like other magus children's and she struggles with figuring out how to bring it forth. She does have the ability to whisper to animals, which plays nicely into her character. I <I>really</I> liked Gul. She is a fierce young woman who knows what she needs to do and will do it, come hell or high water. I have no choice but to admire.

<b>Cavas</b> is a non-majus who works in the palace stables. But that is only his day job. His other task is sharing palace information with a mysterious stranger in return for the money to buy his father medicine. Together, they live in the tenements I mentioned earlier, and Cavas' father has contracted tenement illness. This lives him sick and weak, leaving Cavas to do what he must to keep him alive. I didn't like Cavas as much as I did Gul, but he's impossible to <I>not</I> like. He has a big heart and often thinks more about others than himself. When it suits him that is. Magi aren't too high on his list.

Which makes the relationship between Cavas and Gul so entertaining at times. Neither of them seems to like the other, but they are drawn together by what could best be described as fate. And when you consider <I>how</I> they meet? Wowee, it was inevitable. There is a grudging agreement on Cavas' side to help Gul get into the palace so she can enact her plans of revenge, and what transforms was really sweet.

Speaking of wowee, there were a lot of WOW moments throughout this story. The plot is surprisingly unpredictable. I thought I had it pegged a few times, and I love when I'm proven wrong. The events once in the palace, the <I>ending</I>, didn't see any of it coming. Now, while I really did enjoy this book—I finished the last half in one day and definitely see myself re-reading this in future—I did struggle to follow along sometimes. I don't know if I just wasn't paying attention or things weren't explained in a way that clicked for me, but there were a few people and a few action scenes I had troubling remembering or understanding. And of course, with how action packed this book is, you miss one thing, it makes a few things confusing after.

I really did love this book, and cannot wait to see what the sequel will hold!

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This book is spool good!
I'm surprised because I was giving nothing for it. Thanks to Tanaz Bhatena, I was wrong.

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Hunted by the Sky tells the story of Gul, whose parents were killed by Sky Warriors while protecting her from a horrible fate, as she carries a star-shaped birthmark on her arm. She wants revenge more than anything, and so it’s trained by the Sisters of the Golden Lotus so she can kill the king someday.
I’m going to say that at the beginning, the pace kind of throw me off. It was a little slow for my taste, and I couldn’t quite connect with the characters immediately. But fortunately, that quickly improved and I just couldn’t stop reading!
The two main characters are Gul and Cavas, but I definitely preferred Gul. She’s fierce, determined with her goal to avenge her parents’ deaths, and her development throughout the book was one I really enjoyed. I think he was a great love interest for her, though I would’ve like if their first encounter wasn’t so… rushed. Hunted by the Sky does not qualify for “insta-love” in my opinion, due to the way the situation develops, but still I would’ve preferred a romance that was more on the slow-burn side of things. I really want to see more of them in the next book.
This is a very intriguing story set in medieval India. I’m a big fan of medieval fantasy books; they have an interesting touch that you just don’t get with urban fantasy, and this one definitely fulfilled my expectations with the amazing worldbuilding it had. Bhathena made an amazing job with her descriptions, and the whole time it felt as if I was watching a movie. The food, the places and the clothing descriptions blew me away, and I felt like I could know the Indian culture a bit more through this culture, which is one of the main reasons why I wanted to read it.
The magical system is also great, perfectly built, and I loved how Gul didn’t start off being perfect with her magic but rather the quite opposite. It added to her development later on, and made her have a more realistic approach.
I also need to make a special mention to the Sisters of the Golden Lotus. We ALWAYS love an empowering squad of powerful and fierce women and that’s exactly what this book gave us, with this sort of found family Gul got to be a part of.
All in all, this is a book with many strong points. Featuring strong characters, a magical worldbuilding and great magical system, but also tackling topics like identity issues, this is a book that An Ember in the Ashes and We Hunt the Flame fans will definitely love.

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Gul was born with a death sentence. When the current king of Ambar took power, it was foretold that he would die at the hands of a girl with a star-shaped birthmark. Since then, many girls have died--both those with and without magic. Gul's parents worked hard to prevent her from that fate, ultimately sacrificing their lives. Gul wants revenge for her parents' deaths, and she has spent two years training with the Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus. Now, her opportunity has come. But is she ready to pay the price? And what of the strange stable boy, Cavas, whose fate seems to be tied to hers?

This lush first book in a brilliant fantasy duology inspired by Medieval India and Indian culture is gorgeously written and everything feels nearly tangible. And then that vibrant world is completed with a fascinating magic system, compelling characters, and a page-turning plot (full of surprises you didn't see coming!). Perfect for fans of "Children of Blood and Bone" and "The Star-Touched Queen", "Hunted by the Sky" is a brilliant escape from the reality that is 2020 and a can't-miss book of the year, and will have readers eagerly anticipating the sequel, "Rising Like a Storm".

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hunted by the Sky is a lush Indian-inspired fantasy that perfectly engrossed me in this world, being simultaneously beautiful and intense, with Bhathena taking the familiar hero’s journey and injecting her own flavor into it.

Of the two main characters, I was definitely drawn more to Gul, and felt for her and the tragedies she faced early on in the book, as well as admiring how she chose to dedicate herself to getting revenge and taking down the king.

While Cavas wasn’t as interesting to me, he still has his good points, particularly his love for his sick father. And the romance element wasn’t my favorite, due to it feeling a little rushed.

Nevertheless, it’s a fairly solid first entry in a series with a lot of potential to grow over the course of the next couple books. If you love fantasy and are looking for more stories with Indian-inspired worlds, this is a good one.

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I love this book it is the first book of what might be a series and it carries a feeling of almost magical realism. I love the shifting points of view that keep happening between Gul and Cavas the main characters of the story. Gul is a girl born with a magical mark. There was a prophecy that such a girl would kill the ruler of the kingdom and Canvas is a stable boy working to help support himself and his ill father. Gul's mother her only parent is killed and she gets taken in by a cadre of warrior women. She wants to end the terrible rule of the king that is responsible not only for the deaths of her parents but many other girls in the kingdom as well. Cavas is doing a bit of spying to help supplement his income to help look after his father. When their paths cross it's the first step in their finding their paths to a destiny that can bring down the rule of a vicious king. This is such an amazing story full of magic and intrigue. I can't wait to see where this goes in the next book.

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I just couldn’t get into this one. It might be timing, it might be burnout, it might be entirely me and not the book. But, and this is the same issue I’ve had with a lot of YA fantasies lately, nothing about this one hooked me. It felt like so many other books out there and the writing was stiff. Im beginning to think it’s a genre thing for me and not a book-specific thing, but either way I just wasn’t enjoying this one and DNFed. I do like to think that it’s one I could come back to later on, maybe one of those books that I try to read five, ten, twenty times before it sticks and I end up happy I finally pushed through. But right now, it’s just not for me.

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THIS is the YA fantasy I've been waiting all month for. Hunted by the Sky has rebels, magic, Indian culture, a slow-burn romance, politics, and prophecy—what's not to like? Once the plot starting really moving, I couldn't put it down. It's been a looong time since I've read and finished a book in a day. This book deserved all my attention today and all my love in the future.

First of all, this book is set in medieval India. Need I say more? By now, you probably know about my obsession with India. I loved all the descriptions of Indian food and saris. Bhathena creates such a vivid world with her descriptions and details. Second, Gul and Cavas are such wonderful characters with high goals. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing their relationship grow more in the second book; I felt it was a little lacking in this book. But I think that's due to the plot that has a lot of intricate details going through it. I can't wait to see how things develop in Rising Like a Storm. Overall, this was a solid YA read that I'll be recommending to everyone, especially those who like The Tiger at Midnight, We Hunt the Flame, and Dance of Thieves.

Writing Aesthetic/Style: 5
Plot/Movement: 5
Character Development: 5
Overall: 5

Thank you, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley, for the review copy!

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