‘Hunted by the Sky’ is a Stunning YA Fantasy Set in Medieval-Inspired India – Book Review
In Hunted by the Sky, Gul has lived her life on the run for her entire life due to the star-shaped birthmark upon her arm and she isn’t the only one who is being hunted. Girls with the same birthmark have been taken or have disappeared for years throughout the kingdom of Ambar. Gul’s parents did all that they could in order to protect their daughter. However, after her parents are murdered for hiding her their entire lives, Gul vows to exact her revenge against the king.
While she’s planted this seed of vengeance in her mind, Gul is not sure where exactly so begin her journey. But when she’s rescued by a group of women, known in secrecy and myth as the Sisters of the Golden Lotus, Gul is trained in their ways and is one step closer to her goal of revenge. But when a proverbial wrench by the name of Cavas is thrown into Gul’s plans, she needs to reassess everything, including her mission.
Facing danger at every turn Gul and Cavas find themselves in the midst of royal secrets that prove to be just as deadly – their entanglement with one another and their need for vengeance could cost the ultimate price.
Set in a world inspired by Medieval India, Tanaz Bhathena’s Hunted by the Sky has some of the best world-building I’ve read in a book lately. Intricately descriptive I was easily engulfed in the Kingdom and its cities including Ambarvadi, Jwala, Prithvi and Samudra. Bhathena made sure to create the kingdom with such a richness and it was one of the stand-out elements of the book to me. I couldn’t get enough of learning more about cities and loved the vividness with which the architecture in Ambar was described.
In addition to the world-building, Bhathena created compelling characters that I couldn’t get enough of. The main protagonist of the story, Gul, is smart, witty, stubborn and has a ferocity that has you rooting for her from beginning to end. There is also a vulnerability that shows whenever she speaks about her magic (and sometimes lack thereof) and in the way she thinks about the death of her parents, feeling guilt and grief that cannot fully dissipate until she’s completed her mission. While her thoughts are consistently consumed with her need for revenge, meeting a boy named Cavas one fateful night while in Ambarvadi’s bazaar.
Mistaking Gul for a pickpocket, Cavas pretends to be her mate in order to save her from certain punishment. The two share a passionate kiss and this marks a moment that the duo never forget – although they both wish to do so. While Cavas and Gul aren’t necessarily fans of one another in the beginning (aside from the lingering memory of their shared kiss), the relationship between the two blooms beautifully, creating a remarkable romance that many readers will latch onto.
With its striking backdrop and fascinating characters, coupled with political intrigue, class struggles between the magi and non-magi, an alluring romance and danger abound, Hunted by the Sky is certainly a book that should be on your self sooner rather than later!