Skyhunter by Marie Lu (Book Review)

Skyhunter by Marie Lu - Phantom Paper Book Review

Book Blurb:

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara. The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope. Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs. But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?


Tags: YA, Dystopian, Action, Sci-Fi, Slow-Burn Romance, Family, Found Family,  Adventure, Deaf Rep

My thoughts banner

(I received a free digital copy of this book, thanks to Roaring Brook Press(a Macmillan imprint) and Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.)

Skyhunter is my first foray into Marie Lu’s works, and boy, does she pack a punch! I’ve always come across readers talking about her Warcross series, and as a sci-fi enthusiast, it’s a little funny how it just made me not want to read her books. I think it’s because all I put it down as just another YA-Dystopian novel without layers. While Skyhunter isn’t mind-blowingly and vastly imagined, the solid foundation of its world-building and the explosive and adrenaline-pumping action scenes saved it.

This series takes place a few centuries after an apocalypse, where the survivors had to build everything from the rubble and things left behind. It’s like the world has reverted to the olden times, yet, mashed together with a high-tech side because of the scraps and what advancements in technology that mankind left behind.

Then the soldier turns his gun towards my mother. I pivot off the side of the shack at the same time. My body twists in midair—efficient and practiced—and my blades are instinctively in my hands before I can register what I’m doing. I slash out at him in a whirlwind. Once, twice—scarlet sprays against the ground. The soldier collapses. I land lightly on my feet and start running again without looking at the carnage I’ve left behind.

The plot and background wasn’t too original, I can see that now that I’ve taken some time away from finishing the book but oh my god, the ACTION. The fight scenes were sheer thrill in your bones and will make you go ‘YESSS!’ and ‘OMG, THAT WAS SO COOL’, it was impossible to contain my excitement. The Strikers remind me of the Assassin of Creed, the way they effortlessly and fluidly slice their way through the enemy was like a lethal dance you couldn’t take your eyes off of. And when they worked together?

Although, I’ll admit, some parts did seem a bit overboard.

I am death now, steel and sword and bullet. I am one with my weapons.

Honestly, this main character gives me masculine vibes.

Oh, and as for the slow-burn romance, I’m here for it!

If you’re not looking for something new or unique, I think Skyhunter would provide a good dose of kickass fighting. It’s slightly grittier YA sci-fi/dystopian fiction, leaning on the mature side(it could even be New Adult except for their ages). There’s not a lot of mystery(not much twists and I also guessed one of them), so I’m not too eager to keep reading. If the tone lightened some more I might read the sequel, I feel that that’s why I enjoyed All These Monsters by Amy Tintera more as I’m currently not in the mood for sombre stuff(though Skyhunter‘s writing is evidently of a more experienced writer).

Maybe his nightmares had triggered my own, his fears leaking through our bond like water from a dam, soaking the walls of our minds.


Your family can also be the poison in your life.

Review end banner

Parental Guidance: PG15+
Violence – Lots. Plenty of killing, slashing, and battles. (Not visceral gore though)
Sex – An allusion to a character having sex off-page, and a bit of sexual tension.
Religion – None
Profanity -Mild

Recommended for: Readers who like their YA grittier and more intense. Those who want a dystopian read with more serious tones and harsher consequences.

You can find this book on: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Goodreads | NetGalley | Edelweiss

8 thoughts on “Skyhunter by Marie Lu (Book Review)

Add yours

  1. It sounds like this one has a really balanced approach for the genre. I’ve been reading Dune with some co-workers and we are finding it to be hard to get through for the sheer amount of world building that is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, I’m not going to read it cuz I determined it wasn’t entirely something I’d enjoy based on some reviews. Too many other interesting books in the world to read so I have to be selective with my time 😜 But I’m looking forward to the movie!


    1. I feel like this one is more on the mature and serious spectrum of YA. One element of the story reminds me of Red Rising(didn’t finish that but read a bit of it) which I’m not sure if I should divulge for fear of mild spoilers.

      Ooh, Dune 😶 I’ve heard that it’s slow going. And, yes, the amount of words dedicated to the world building…yikes! I’m gonna just wait for the movie this time around(hehe, I know, that’s like uttering a blaspheme in the book world 😁 But I’m flexible with that rule, so!) Also, Chalamet is in it so I’m excited to see his performance!


  2. I’ve always enjoyed Marie Lu’s books, I’ve read a couple of other books although I haven’t read Warcross and a couple others. The rest of her books are on my TBR list. Thanks for this review, I wasn’t aware she has another one coming. I’ve been getting into the more gritty science fiction books and enjoying YA that is a bit darker. However I understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks for your comment! Even though this wasn’t exactly my kind of book(still enjoyed some parts) it has propelled me to check out her other works as I discovered that her writing is quite solid! I had previously dismissed her novels as generic YA sci-fi, I’m glad I crossed paths with Skyhunter or I’d have missed out!

      I always try to give both an objective and subjective review so different readers can tell if it’d suit them, so it makes me happy to know I managed to achieve that! Thanks a lot, Sareh!


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