Hunted by the Sky

Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Jun. 2020. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374313098.
Gr 7 Up–Ancient Persian mythology informs this novel set in medieval India, and it’s a breath of fresh air in the fantasy adventure genre. Gul is born during the reign of the tyrannical King Lohar, who has terrorized his subjects for years. A prophecy states that a girl with a star-shaped birthmark will be somehow a part of the fall of the king’s reign, so he has targeted any girl born with that kind of mark in an effort to escape his fate. As a result, Gul and her parents have been hiding from the king’s warriors her entire life. When the secret of her star-shaped mark is uncovered, and she is orphaned, Gul finds solace and protection within a tribe of women who take her in and train her to connect with the magic that courses through her veins. Gul only wants vengeance for her parents’ deaths until she forms an unexpected connection with Cavas, a poor stable boy, during a chance meeting one night. Cavas is secretly trading secrets about the kingdom to get money to treat his ailing father. The night his world collides with Gul’s, their stories become woven together and their fates are joined. Readers will be mesmerized by Bhathena’s vivid storytelling and the deeply felt connection between the two main characters.
VERDICT This fantasy adventure featuring protagonists of color will be enjoyed by fans of the “Legacy of Orisha” and “Ember in the Ashes” series, and is recommended for middle school collections.

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