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The Wrath of Ambar #1

Hunted by the Sky

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Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl—Gul—in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance—and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort... a world with secrets deadlier than their own.

320 pages, ebook

First published June 23, 2020

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About the author

Tanaz Bhathena

7 books629 followers
Tanaz Bhathena is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her books include Of Light and Shadow (forthcoming in 2023), the White Pine Award winning novel, Hunted by the Sky, and The Beauty of the Moment, which won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her acclaimed debut, A Girl Like That, was named a Best Book of the Year by numerous outlets including The Globe and Mail, Seventeen, and The Times of India.

NOTE: I don't use Goodreads frequently; please feel free to connect with me through my website.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 518 reviews
Profile Image for Elena May.
Author 12 books692 followers
Want to read
November 17, 2019
Tanaz Bhatena is writing fantasy now? Sign me up!

I've had a great experience with this author's work so far:

A Girl Like That: ★★★★★

The Beauty of the Moment: ★★★★☆

I loved both books though they're not in a genre I usually read. I can only imagine how much I'd love a book by Tanaz Bhatena in my favorite genre!

Also, I'm so happy to see an India-inspired fantasy by an author actually born in India. US authors have been dominating the scene, so it's great to hear from some more varied, authentic voices.

If anyone wants to give me an ARC, I'm right here! *waves*
Profile Image for Tanaz.
Author 7 books629 followers
June 23, 2020
June 23, 2020:
Hello readers,
HUNTED BY THE SKY is out in the world today! I hope you enjoy this book of mine with its medieval India-inspired setting, its fantasy world, which is inspired by Indian and Persian mythology, and its fierce women warriors. This book brought magic and ferocity back into my life when I thought I'd lost both. I hope it does the same for you.

May 15, 2020:
Hello readers! Here's ANOTHER excerpt from the book: https://www.tor.com/2020/05/14/read-a...

Apr 16, 2020:
Hello readers! I'm happy to share an exclusive excerpt from the first chapter of the book: https://www.denofgeek.com/books/hunte...

Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews506 followers
June 26, 2021
This book 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.

Hunted by the Sky is an Indian and Persian mythology inspired fantasy romance where tyrants are thrown.

Prophecy of the chosen one never gets old and 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.

consider reading this review on my blog!

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 desi readers happy and for the others 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.

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 and the pacing slightly 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.

↣ an early digital copy received via netgalley

➵ finished buddy read this with lili! in the acknowledgements, tanaz bhathena said something to shveta thakrar in bengali and that's the cutest thing. anyway, the book's pacing kind of let me down but the world-building, the cultural representation, and the many familiar words from my language is amazing. i also liked the plot; there were quite a few surprises and it ends on a pretty strong note so the sequel is definitely on my mind. rtc.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,962 reviews485 followers
July 5, 2020
 Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

I chose this book merely for the cover, but I stayed out of curiosity. In this YA fantasy, Tanaz Bhathena weaves Persian and Indian mythology and history to create a fantasy world like no other. Gul, our main character watches in horror as her parents are killed at the hands of a ruthless ruler. Vowing vengeance, Gul joins a rebel group of women who help her understand her magic but will she be able to complete her plan when it comes time? Along the way, Gul meets Cavas, a young boy with his own story, and the chemistry between the two is undeniable.

Well, actually I may be stretching that last sentence a bit. I wasn't feeling the Gul and Cavas relationship at all. Honestly, I felt it was a bit boring. I was really interested in Gul getting her vengeance and fully embracing her magic. Anything else ( in my eyes, at least) was a bit of a distraction. However, love relationships aside, I would certainly continue on with the series to see what lies in store for the characters.

#HuntedbytheSky #NetGalley

Publication Date 23/06/20
Goodreads review 05/07/20

Profile Image for Kristen Ciccarelli.
Author 7 books1,439 followers
January 18, 2019
Get ready for this gem! It's everything you want in a fantasy novel: intricate worldbuilding, beautiful mythology, lush prose, fiercely complex girls, and a tender-hearted romance. I loved every bit of it.
Profile Image for Ashley Haas.
198 reviews26 followers
June 30, 2021

FINALLY!! Thank you!
I have been in a moody reading slump and every book I read just wasn’t doing anything for me, I would have to push myself to finish them and that’s never fun. But then...



I was SO sad when this book ended, it was THAT good! This book has everything I love in a book; enemies-to-lovers, fated mates, political intrigue, royal secrets, plot twists, morally gray characters that you can’t help but love, many different types of magic, great world building, amazing character development and I could go on and on.

I am eagerly looking forward to the next book! I needed it like five minutes ago... let the waiting begin. 😩😩
Profile Image for ana ~ (dvrk.sappho).
74 reviews89 followers
August 17, 2020
1.5 stars precisely.

God, dear g o d ! only heaven knows what the author tried to do with this book or why she even bothered to write one, because repeat after me : THIS BOOK IS AN AMALGAMATION OF SEVERAL CLICHÉS PUT TOGETHER. and i am not even talking about the general vibe in it, but about the subtle rip-off she did. minus the Indian rep, everything written is similar to the stories we've already come across.

first off are the most clichéd tropes that we find in almost every other books (???) including : the chosen one but magic lying dormant, love triangles, i-am-not-like-other-girls, brawny guys with soft hearts, bitches letting out breath they didn't know they were holding (yeah, it apparently became a trope i guess).

the writing was awfully juvenile, bland and unoriginal (like lyrical, who?). the narration was all about telling and telling and telling and telling and telling and... i mean someone better inform the author there's a thing called "showing" which likely makes the story more enjoyable to read (!!!) i was info-dumped like nobody's business. 🤷🏻‍♀️ everytime the characters saw something, they went on to narrate an epic about it. like, there were times (i swear!!) when a character came across a mirror on the wall, and i simply held my breath ™ waiting for them to rant about that piece of glass which has nothing to do with the story whatsoever. yeah, NO SHIT.

the novel actually starts from the second half of the book (really sucks!) because the first half was all about fact-telling and reminiscing. and very painfully did i wade through paragraphs after paragraphs, and pages after pages. And this phrase : "A chill/heat that has nothing to do with the temperature . . ." is repeated in every other sentence, which i think is the peak point of lazy writing.

below, are some of the lines which successfully boiled the entirety of my blood and fried the last two of my brain cells, because honestly i LOATHE the trope 'i am not like other girls'. please, that shit's repetition is whacking and real fucked up. get over with it!

"i've seen many a serving girl paused at the sight of princes, stare at them with open longing. Gul's face however looks the way it might if a levta in all its slimy glory leaped out of the mud and onto her lap."

— duhh not like other girls!!!

"Now, i steal another quick glance at Gul. She was not Bahar. If Bahar were a gentle breeze, then Gul is a hurricane, a storm . . ."

— Yes, weather reporter, i get it!

"Another girl might have let me go. Might have even sent me in herself . . ."

— hmm, but Gul did not because she is your mother in disguise.

another thing that makes me angry—like really really angry—is when kids don't listen to their elders or their warnings. listen child, there's nothing badass-ery in it, it's plain disobedience and zero respect towards ur elders. there's a difference between oppression and revolt, and restrictions and rule-breaking.

here's a quote that this dumb girl thought :
"Why does it matters if he's lying? I tell myself. He saved me selling myself. From possible abuse at the hands of some unknown minister for years on end."

BITCH ARE U SURE YOU'RE NOT HIGH ON SOME KACHORI CRACK SHIT???? you literally knew this right from the beginning. and before your handsome crush said it, every other soul in the world had hammered these warnings into your dumb head. But no, our gurl Gul gotta flex her impatient ass.

Cavas was another idiot. Like the rest of the characters, his existence was almost non-existent to me. So I'll pass thanks.

[Below are some mild spoilers in which i will discuss a bit about the plot and why i think it was a subtle rip-off of several stories we read in the past. it is entirely in my opinion.]

so . . .

this story had several weak points, and one of them almost had me wheezing. Gul's fighting with the mammoth was the dumbest part of this book—which in turn was very badly executed. Firstly, i don't know about Gul's dumb ass, but i figured who that beast was right from the beginning. Besides, why would she fight an animal if she had the power to control animals itself????? very weak plot.

anyway. like i said, somewhere i felt this novel was a rip-off of too many stories. see, i know nothing is orginal; every story ever written is inspired by some stories that were priorly written to them. but things become ridiculous when the inspiration turns into a blatant copy. i'll give u few instances:

first comes, Shadow and Bone (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo. i think the character Amira from Hunted by the Sky is an exact copy of Zoya from the Grishaverse. i don't mean they share a common vibe but that they share an UNCANNY SIMILARITY. they have the same story : own parents sell off their daughter for money. daughter escapes and turns into a contemptuous dicc-head. i would've loved Amira's character, had i not come across Zoya's previously.

then we have the scene from Siege and Storm (again Grishaverse), when Alina passes a grave danger, lands safely, and finally meets her sun-summoner army (which she didn't know existed). similarly, the character Gul from this book, goes through the exact thing. Her army was awaiting in a deserted place, with similar tattoos all over their faces, and she had no fucking clue that they even existed. the entire vibe was a close resemblance.

next was that stupid fighting for freedom which Gul had to do out of nowhere. What is this? Throne of Glass? why would she even be given the chance to fight in the first place if she was a threat to King Lohar's life???? then there was this Gul chanting names of the people she wanted to kill before sleeping . . . Arya Stark is that you??

there were more actually. Like a friend of mine (who equally agreed that this book was a clichéd piece) pointed out that it shared certain similarities with An Ember in the Ashes too.

besides these subtle rip-offs, there were LOADS and LOADS of clichés incorporated. nothing original was found in this book (again, minus the Indian rep). i expected it to be an amazing read with an indian feminist angle, as the Sisters of the Golden Lotus was really intriguing and unique, but somehow despite all these "said" brilliant plot points, the author easily managed to fall flat on the execution. i am awfully underwhelmed; i just wish, this book was rewritten. i can go on to rant more and more about how bad this is, but i don't think it deserves anymore of my energy.


i yawned and rolled my eyes throughout the book except for the last few pages. huge ass review coming soon.
Profile Image for nitya.
366 reviews271 followers
June 4, 2021
Give me ALL the desi fantasy books written by desi people (and NOT white anthropologists/white saviors) please!!!!

The pacing was a little rough, especially at the beginning, but the ending scenes definitely made up for it. And the instalove might not appeal to everyone but I didn't mind it here. The use of Hindi and Urdu worked so well (even for the words I didn't know - thankfully there's a glossary).

I can't WAIT to dive into the ARC for the sequel!

Content warning: parental deaths (by murder), chronically ill parent, violence, animal cruelty, classism, sexual slavery, discrimination
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 31 books4,630 followers
October 19, 2019
Official comments:

Filled with magic, prophecy, and ancient goddesses, HUNTED BY THE SKY is an engrossing novel that will keep the reader up long past bedtime. Tanaz Bhathena's fantasy is perfect for fans of thoughtful worldbuilding and fantastical mirrors to our own reality. A whirlwind of heartfelt storytelling.


Profile Image for CW ✨.
644 reviews1,695 followers
April 3, 2021
My goodness, this was such a sweeping and intricate YA high fantasy! I felt totally swept away in the adventure and magic and dangers in the story. Loved this.

- Follows Gul, a girl born with a star-shaped mark on her arm and is thus prophecised to save the kingdom of Ambar from tyranny. When her parents are killed, Gul seeks to avenge them, and murder the king that is abducting and murdering girls with star-shaped marks everywhere.
- This story is inspired by medieval India and it is glorious and rich. I absolutely loved the setting of this book.
- Hunted by the Sky is perfect if you want a sweeping adventure with a small romance subplot too. I think if you love the An Ember in the Ashes series, you'll love this.
- I loved how tangible the motivations and emotions in this book felt. Gul's ache for revenge felt so real and I enjoyed following her journey.
- Badass women warriors! I enjoyed the subtle discourses of feminism and freedom as well.

Content warning: death of loved ones (parents), murder, physical violence, imprisonment, eerie supernatural-like scenes
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,033 reviews207 followers
August 11, 2020
Definitely a 4.5.

I was initially pretty disappointed when I got rejected for the ARC, but I guess that ended up being a good thing because I had one less book to feel guilty about for missing the release date. And then I was pretty excited to get to it because all my friends loved it so much and now I know exactly why.

This book is so fast paced that it starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. The plot does have some quieter and somber moments where the characters get to show their softer or vulnerable sides, but otherwise this story is relentless and we as readers are on our toes for most of it, wondering eagerly what’s gonna happen next. The prose is easy to follow, just how I like it and I got through it in just a few hours.

And coming to the desi elements, this world was so steeped in them that I was completely lost and absolutely gleeful about it. The medieval India based kingdoms, their customs and traditions, the gods and goddesses bearing so much similarity to Hindu mythology, the delightfully described food and clothes and setting - it was all utterly perfect. But ultimately what really made me emotional was the abundant use of mostly Hindi language vocabulary - sometimes explained, sometimes not - and I just loved the author for doing that.

Gul and Cavas are such amazing characters to follow. Gul is defined by what happened to her parents and wants revenge, prophecy or not; on the other hand, Cavas is shaped by the prejudices of this world which keep his father ill and himself unable to do anything but survive despite being capable of so much more. They can feel like impulsive teenagers at times, but we also understand where they are coming from and root for them every step of the way. And right from their first meeting, their destinies feel connected and I think the author captured that push and pull between them very effectively. The story is also about them coming to think beyond themselves and concentrate on the big picture, and take actions for the sake of the greater good.

There are many other side characters here and I really enjoyed every one of them. Whether it’s Juhi with her strategic mind and motherly concern, Amira with her sharp tongue, Kali with her soft strength, Xerxes with his secrets, Amar with his mysterious actions in the shadows, Malti with her delightful disposition or ultimately Shayla with her pointed cruelty - every single character leaves a mark on us and I can’t wait to see what happens to each of them further in the story.

In the end, this was an action packed YA fantasy based on a medieval India filled with gods and magic, with a chosen one trope executed very well, an excellent ensemble of characters, and a story that wraps up nicely while leaving enough breadcrumbs that we crave for the sequel. If you are an ownvoices desi reader and haven’t read this yet, I promise you are missing out.
Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews506 followers
May 17, 2021
Tanaz Bhathena mentioned The Gulabi Gang in her acknowledgements and that is another reason why I love this book so much. I'm all ready for the sequel, eep—
read the full review here.

↣ time to reread before the sequel and also, I miss my babies― gul + cavas.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
596 reviews815 followers
January 23, 2021

Sweeping, magical, and with a heroine foretold to change the state of the kingdom of Ambar, Hunted by the Sky dazzles with its rich world and romantic nuances. I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel!
Profile Image for Ciea✨.
93 reviews14 followers
February 4, 2021


Wow, this book felt so much like home. Though the glossary in the end made me crack up!

There are plenty of things I loved about this book, one of them being a magic system which is very conveniently sprinkled on the story in the beginning and made to look very natural and non-descriptive.

The prose-worthy writing is an instant pull-in, and even though the first half of the book is a bit slow, you get sucked in pretty fast because of how fascinating the whole setting is.


Gulabi Gang is a vigilante group which works against the physical and mental abuse of women in India. It consists of women between the ages of 18 to 60. This group has rightfully earned all the respect in the minds of people. A small step which turned to be an internationally famed organisation has saved many lives, and taught many women and girls to fight back.

The Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus is no less. The author has taken inspiration from the Gulabi Gang to craft this amazing group of rebellious and ambitious women who show kinship to the ones that the world doesn’t even accept. You need the perfect dose of compassion and strength to weave such an important aspect, and the author does it perfectly.


From tyrant rulers to graceful but deadly queens to vengeful commoners : women have taken a step ahead in this fantasy. They are fierce, they are magical. They are warriors, no matter which side they fight for.
There is something stunning about seeing women play their own game instead of being treated like pawns.


I’ve seen people grow quite ecstatic seeing themselves being represented in a piece of literature. I finally understood what it feels like seeing a story you can easily absorb, and feeling the characters who’ve grown up listening to the same tales of myths and legends as you. Who have names like you. Who eat things like you do! The representation is something which needs to be handled with a lot of care and caution, and the author does not disappoint.

Cheers to badass heroines and political, fantastical dramas!
Profile Image for dovesnook.
473 reviews107 followers
December 28, 2022
Having such an incredible opening sentence can be a double edged sword, hooking the reader instantly then losing them immediately if the rest doesn’t deliver. Tanaz Bhathena doesn’t have to worry about that. I’ve been hooked, lined, and sunk. 👏👏👏😌

The book is set in medieval Indian, which is already fascinating in and of itself but there’s also a whimsical and clever mix of both Indian and Persian mythologies as we follow Gul’s journey to avenging her parents in a world where girls born with a star-shaped birthmark are hunted down for the king’s protection, where there are magi and non-magi alike (people with magical abilities and not) who sometimes have to sell themselves at the flesh market for various reasons, and a badass group of warrior women called the Golden Lotus.

This story had action, heart, a little bit of fated romance, and even some commentary on the treatment of those deemed “lesser” class citizens. It’s an incredibly engaging story and I’m pumped for the 2nd book!
Profile Image for Lisa Andres.
303 reviews9 followers
June 3, 2020
I finished this book. That's important to note. I *am* capable of DNF-ing a book -- as evidenced by the fact that there are 27 books in my Currently Reading List -- usually because I find the book boring (and sometimes because life just gets in the way, and it's not compelling enough to return to).

So the fact that I finished this book is a testament to the premise: I was intrigued enough to request an ARC from NetGalley, and I was hoping for a lush, rich fantasy that I could just lose myself in. And, to be fair, it was lush and rich, but I just couldn't get absorbed in it -- I would pause every few pages asking questions (to my dog who, sadly, couldn't provide any answers) and venting my confusion. I just get so frustrated when I want a book to be so. damn. good and it doesn't deliver. Because, ultimately, there were just a few major things that I couldn't get past:

- First and foremost, I *cannot* abide by this troubling "suffering-is-strength" premise. There's a passage about a 1/3 of the way through the book:
"Amira went through even more [rape, torture] than I did,” Kali continues. “She resents you for it—which is her problem entirely, not yours. But you need to also start toughening up.”
Then, a few pages later, Gul concedes that she hasn't suffered enough which...I can't. She's not a particularly round or likable character, but the girl did watch her parents get murdered. If that's not suffering...if suffering is deemed "physical violence" or "violation," I don't know what the message is supposed to be.
Add in the Flesh Market and this cage fighting...the violence just seems like a sensationalized plot device, rather than any sort of weightier commentary -- and one which doesn't do existing stereotypes of exotic-but-barbaric Middle Eastern lands any help.

- Another thing I just can't get over is the world. It's a richly detailed world, don't get me wrong, but as fantasy worlds go, it's...not tightly built.
For example: one of the basic premises of this world is that there are people WITH magic (magi) and people WITHOUT (non-magi). The basic rules of magic -- how it works, what types there are, what determines whether a person has it or not -- seem largely irrelevant to the story, and Bhathena doesn't seem interested in them. If it's convenient for a character to have (or not have) magic, so be it. Their type of magic also seems a matter of plot convenience. Apparently there is life magic, death magic, and earth magic? Maybe more? I don't know?
But if it's hereditary -- and it seems to be? I don't actually know, because it's not a matter of concern -- then why are any of the magi lower-class? If a person has a strong magic, why are they a servant, or a slave? Because if the prejudice against non-magi is so strong, then why aren't they in the positions of servitude? Isn't it dangerous to have a powerful magi as a servant? Couldn't they attack you? Obviously those sorts of power structures are wrong, but in the world that Bhathena has created, they seem like fair questions. I know that a well-built world is a pet-peeve of mine with fantasy works, but if the world isn't solidly and tightly built, I find myself getting distracted by those questions rather than following the plot. Because if they're not integral to the story, why even make it a fantasy? Why not just make it a medieval historical fiction, with the typical class divide of rich and poor?
Near the end, Gul thinks, "Magic doesn't work the same way for everyone." and that line just seems to sum up Bhathena's approach to magic in this story. Which is fine, but it just doesn't make for strong fantasy, IMHO.

- The plot seems to revolve around big moments of contrived action. Chapters can be spent in daily life events and then BAM! Plot point! Gul trains with Amira -- there's exposition! and minimal action! Then BAM! She decides to run away and sell herself at the Flesh Market. BAM! She crosses the rekha and is caught and is branded a trespasser! The action doesn't flow naturally or smoothly -- it seems to be linked by big contrived moments.
Hardest thing for me to deal with: the Raj impulsively (I get that it's supposed to be a calculated move, but...c'mon.) betroths his ELDEST SON AND HEIR TO A SERVING GIRL. No. I just can't. Why would he do this?! Politically, it makes no sense. Even though we don't see any of them, there have to be courtiers, rich families, politicans, landowners, merchants who sell something that keep this economy going. And royal marriages are political alliances. There is no way that any King would marry his heir to a serving girl just to make some half-baked point. Because she'd be the First Wife, which is always a big deal. I can see the King marrying her, maybe, as his Fourth wife. Sure. Giving her to his son as a concubine, sure. Maybe even marrying her off to one of his younger sons, because they're not going to rule, so what does it matter who they marry -- especially since one of them seems halfway decent. But it was all so convenient -- especially when said youngest son came in all, "Look! There's this obscure ancient law no one's heard of that says you can challenge the king to a death duel to protest you being engaged to some guy you don't want to marry!" WUT.

- I also don't...understand (?) these characters.
Everyone reacts out of strong, negative emotions: usually anger, defiance, etc. Tempers flare, there are misunderstandings...which makes it very difficult to connect with characters and care about them. There are very few moments of actual kindness, and even fewer where characters just talk, calmly and neutrally. Everything seems to be an argument or a fight, and by the end, it just has the result of making the characters seem flat and one-dimensional. Especially Shayla -- there's a strong arc potential there -- even for a complex villain like Regina in OUAT, but when we finally get her POV near the end, it just seems like a soap opera villain.

For one--Gul is obsessed with killing Major Shayla (at first, this seems to be her primary goal) and the king (this is the goal that takes up much of the focus of the book, even though Shayla was the one who actually did the killing). In theory, the desire for revenge is understandable -- they're responsible for her parents' deaths. But in actuality, it just seems to come out of nowhere. Not to mention she is *terribly* ill-suited for the role of assassin: she has no patience and seems bothered by the idea of training and working for her goal. She shows no ability to blend in or take on a role that would put her in proximity to the people she wants to kill. She just barrels through life, and things "happen" to work out for her. (Compared to _Six of Crows_ which is a delightful heist novel and shows the planning and prep that goes into pulling something like regicide off.)
Two--characters either have strong reactions or...are minor side characters with no personality. For some unfathomable reason, Amira *hates* Gul -- calls her princess, thinks she's spoiled, etc. For the life of me, I don't understand why. The girl had a nomadic childhood, watched her parents get brutally murdered in front of her, and Amira is just so...mean. (Perhaps this bugs me so much because the organization is literally called a Sisterhood. I was expecting a tribe of strong female warriors -- like the Amazons in Wonder Woman. Even in Fireborne, where competition was built into the Guardians, the female characters still supported each other.)
Same thing with Cavas: he's instantly smitten with Gul -- he's crushing hard on her -- and then, the next time they meet, he calls her a privileged brat. Like...WUT. If this was supposed to be because he learns she's a magi or because she's not from the tenements, like, okay, maybe. But it was a compelte 180 to go from reliving a kiss to privileged brat.

- At times, it is just so glaringly derivative. Look, I'm not saying every great story has to have a 100% original idea and can't borrow from, or pay homage to, great fantasy that came before. That's not possible. But in a great fantasy, the allusions are subtle -- or inserted with a unique spin that you go, "Huh. I like what you did there." Half of my notes are comments like, "Major Occlumency vibes" or "Amira is Snape, hating Harry/Gul and abusing their teacher position." But the biggest one had to be Gul chanting the names of people on her kill list -- which, by itself *might* have been okay -- had she not been immediately taken in by a secret organization of shape-shifting mystics (i.e., the female equivalent of the Faceless Men).


First Impressions -- 10% done:
Eh. It's fine -- but I'm not hooked yet.

+ Diverse Book -- I appreciate the "inspired by Medieval India" setting, as fantasy can be a genre dominated by white, medieval-Europe characters and settings.
+ No Love Triangle Yet!
+ Sisters of the Golden Lotus -- This is a promising concept, although I can't quite get a read on the women. They seem helpful and kind one minute, but then scornful and callous the next.

~ I have got to stop reading books which open with the murder/deaths of parents.
~ It's hard not to compare this to the last book I read (Fireborne), since there are (1) orphans with murdered parents; (2) a questionable male leader in charge; and (3) a similarly questionable government with a designated Ministry for determining "Truth" and spreading it through propaganda.

- WORLD BUILDING. I know I'm a stickler for this, but there is more to *good* fantasy (and science fiction) than just making changes to what's known and familiar. In the first few chapters, you get hit with things like "Sky Warriors" (what are they? what do they do? We only know they're bad -- at least from the protag's POV), "atashbans," magi (and non-magi), thanedars, something called a Code of Asha, and Prophets, Gods & Goddesses. I recognize that this is a pet peeve, but just dropping those into a story isn't effective. What is a thanedar? Why are there prophets? How are they connected to these gods/goddesses? I hate having these questions and I usually get increasingly frustrated if they're not answered fairly early on. Devices like "Prologues" or "excerpts from the History of..." are great at providing your readers even a little bit of exposition so they understand what's going on. [Google just told me that this is Bhathena's first fantasy novel -- she's published two romances previously -- which may explain this.]
- It's coming off a *little* derivative at the moment. By which I mean,
"Major Shayla. King Lohar.
I repeat their names over and over, memorizing them the way I would a lesson. A prayer.
Kill Major Shayla, I whisper. Kill Raja Lohar."

First off, it's two names. Not much to memorize. Not like, say, ARYA STARK'S LIST, which has like a dozen people on it. Second of all, yah. TOTAL Arya Stark vibes here. A fact which is not helped by the description of the Sisters of the Golden Lotus:
"Of women with shadowy faces and daggers glinting in their hands. Women who wear their saris like fisherfolk, who knock down doors and slash into enemies with knives and swords and spells.[...] No one is quite sure if the Sisters are legends or common brigands, and no ever quite remembers what they look like. Appearing and disappearing from villages and towns with a stealth that rivals King Lohar's Sky Warriors, the Sisters have no permanent home, successfully melding into their surroundings like color-changing lizards."
Again, TOTAL Faceless Men vibes here.
Not necessarily a bad thing, but it does lessen the "WHOA" factor for me.
- Gul, our protagonist. I know her parents just died, and I should feel sympathy for her but...she's a little flat for me right now. I'm not really connecting.
- Plot Quibble: "hundreds of magi girls with star-shaped birthmarks have been taken or killed over the years." WUT. Is it common for every magi to have a birthmark? Is it common for those birthmarks to be star-shaped? Is having a birthmark a sign of magi powers? Because, if so, that's not clear. If not, then...why are birthmarks so common?!

**I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for em.
166 reviews53 followers
July 5, 2021
I am getting Indian vibes from this one. Hindu Mythology. Say no more.
Profile Image for A Book Shrew.
599 reviews135 followers
May 19, 2021
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!

Full review at A Book Shrew

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 Indian with a mix of Persian in the mythology, 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 gorgeous 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 this 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.

Gul 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 really 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.

Cavas 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 not 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 how 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 ending, 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!
Profile Image for Mridu  aka Storypals.
505 reviews103 followers
September 24, 2020
I think I have read enough fantasy novels now to actually be shook by the twists!

This somehow very much reminds me of Ember in the Ashes and Red Queen... very weird... but it does, yet I did like the writing and was engaged with the story through out!
August 1, 2020

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via Penguin India as part of the Bookstagram/Blog Tour. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

OMG! OMG! OMG! How do I even begin to describe the beauty that is the Hunted By The Sky – the representation of Indian/Persian themes had my heart and soul singing! All the white cishet readers would never understand how it feels to be seen, to read the language and the traditions that you grew up with; on paper for the world to acknowledge.

There is a reason why every single minority has been screaming about realistic representation of their community – and if you are a Desi/Indian reader of fantasy; and still have no idea why the clamouring for representation has shook the publishing industry – THEN READ THIS BOOK! See yourself on the pages, the language you speak in; the dresses and the traditions we have always taken for granted being put on page in black and white – I promise you the feeling of joy and happiness is indescribable!

You can also check out the Posts by Uma  (@books.bags.burgers)and Fanna (@fannatality) for more information! <3>

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Now on to the actual review – Gul sees both her parents murdered at the hands of Major Shayla, a soldier in King Lohar’s army; Star Warriors who has made his life’s mission to kill any girl with a star birthmark fearing a prophecy that predicts that he will die at the hands of a girl with the star birthmark.

This just fuels Gul’s need for revenge – for it is her birthmark that was respeonsible for her parent’s death and it will be for them, she will kill King Lohar. She flees the Star Warriors and is the given refuge by the Sisters of the Golden Lotus.

A few years later, she crosses paths with Cavas; who on the face of it looks to be a mere stable boy in the palace. Bit he has his own secrets; his own reasons to even think of committing treason!

But is his passionate encounter with Gul that will change the course of both their lives, in ways they couldn’t have ever imagined. Reluctant throughout, Cavas still ends up helping Gul infiltrate the Palace for his mission!

If ya’ll think that the only thing working for is the beautiful and realistic Indian/Persian Rep – then read this book for the slow burn, enemies to lovers romance that builds in the background to the wonderful world building of intrigue and suspense of revenge against a tyrant!

Though this is the first book in the series; so I knew I have more of this deliciousness to look forward to; but darn it if I don’t want to have the next books in the series immediately in my hands! LIKE RIGHT NOW!  

For more reviews visit For The Love of Fictional Worlds :)

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Profile Image for Simant Verma.
246 reviews87 followers
May 22, 2021
August 6, 2020: Can I say how much my #desi heart is happy after reading one of my most anticipated reads of the year? I.LOVED.IT.SO.MUCH ❤️ I always wanted to read an Indian inspired fantasy, by an #ownvoices author, as an ownvoices reader and this book fulfilled that wish of mine.

Content & trigger warnings: murder of parents, chronically ill parent, sexual slavery, classism & discrimination, animal cruelty, blood, and violence.
Representation:Indian mythology, ancient Indian setting, desi culture, sapphic side character

Hunted by the Sky is a fantasy inspired by medieval India. The large part of the story is based on the age-old prophecy in Svapnalok that promises a girl with star-shaped birthmark to overthrow the tyrannical ruler of Ambar, King Lohar. Gul's parents were killed by sky warriors, who came to kill Gul because of her birthmark, while saving their daughter. Juhi, the head of The Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus, then takes Gul under her protection where Gul gets her training to wield magic and forms her plan to take revenge from king Lohar. On the other hand, Cavas is struggling to survive by making a secret deal that can cost him his life. But a passionate encounter between Gul and Cavas, changes the course of their lives in a way they never imagined.

World-building certainly is one of the strongest aspects of this book. Svapnalok, or the 'world of dreams', is divided into four kingdoms: Ambar, Prithvi, Jwala, and Samudra; clearly inspired by the four elements of nature: sky, earth, fire, and water. The authentic mention of things like outfits (sari pallu, ghagra choli), food (prasad, kachori), salutations (didi) and greetings (shubsaver, anandpranam), made my desi heart super happy 😃 It was like that world is my own. There is different faiths and religious beliefs, different skin colors, different classes (magi and non-magi)- in the world that Tanaz created and all that clearly shows the discrimination prevailed in the society.

The first scene between Gul and Cavas was lit. At first, it might seem like insta-love, but their banters later on and their palpable attraction made them a really good pair. I loved the side characters and how each of them had their own importance in the story. Juhi and Amira were my favourites. I feel that the magic system was a bit tricky, and I am hoping to understand it more clearly in the sequel.

A times you may feel like some things are pretty convenient, but Tanaz has done a beautiful job with the various plot twists which keeps the readers hooked to the story. And that cliffhanger???? I need the next book like NOW? I would really recommend this book to every desi reader to have an amazing experience 💞

And would you look at that brown girl on the cover? This is one of my favourite covers of this year and I sort of tried to recreate it on my Instagram 🙈

July 29, 2020: I have finally started reading one of my most anticipated reads of the year and oh boy, am I loving it! All the food descriptions are making me hungry.

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Profile Image for Allison.
164 reviews127 followers
June 10, 2020
3.5/5 - Read the full review at www.universewithinpages.com
Note: While this is an ARC, I was given a copy of this book from a giveaway, not for review purposes. All reviews and thoughts are my own.

I won this ARC a couple weeks ago from YallWest (or YallStayHome) and I’m excited that I got a chance to read it! It is a fantasy inspired by medieval India, which I thought was unique and interesting. The story focuses on Gul, a girl who is born with a star-shaped birthmark, who has spent her life trying to kill the King out of revenge for her parents’ murder. Her path eventually crosses with Cavas, a boy willing to do anything for his terminally ill father. Together, they explore the king’s domain as they uncover new secrets.

I thought that the actual world and world-building was a strong point for the story. There are very few books set in an India inspired world, and I really enjoyed the representation. I did wish that the magic system was more structured though. The pacing of the story was a little slow for me in the beginning, and I wish that it didn’t take such a long time to get there.

The characters were just okay, but I felt like there wasn’t anything special about them. I didn’t connect to either Gul or Cavas as much as I would have wanted, but I didn’t dislike them either. Gul was kind of just your average female heroine looking for revenge, and I wished Cavas had more of a presence in the plot of the story. I felt like he was just “there” at times, with Gul leading the story. The only interesting thing about him was the reveal of his heritage at the end, which I guess can be a plot-point in the sequel of this story. I also didn’t like the romance as much as I thought I would.

Overall, there were elements I wish could have been better, but I am satisfied with the novel as a whole! The Indian inspiration gives it a unique spin, with the magic-system playing a central role in the story. I would recommend this book especially if you enjoy the “chosen one” and “star-crossed lovers trope.” I’m excited to see what happens in the next book, and I’m grateful that I got a chance to read this one early!
Profile Image for J.
682 reviews67 followers
July 27, 2020
Actual rating: 3.75 stars

There were many familiar YA tropes in this novel like "the chosen one", "you killed my parents so prepare to die (even though my revenge plan suffers from a glaring lack of foresight)", "our fates are intertwined" type of romance, etc.

However, despite all those tropes, I still found myself truly enjoying and devouring this book. It's the type of immersive and exciting read that made me feel like time sped up while I was reading it. "Wait, what? I just started! It's been hours already?!" That's a compliment. Usually it's hard for me to ignore outside noises while reading a book. I did not have that problem while reading this.

As I expected, I had a wonderful time learning more about the Indian culture by reading "Hunted by the Sky". It's an #ownvoices novel, so I didn't get the feeling that the author was making things too easy for me by simplifying and filtering all the information. I loved the descriptions of the history, folklore, places, clothes, food, etc. They were detailed enough to feed my imagination, but not to the point of info dumping.

I would have given this a solid 4-star rating if I didn't find the MCs so frustrating. I find it hard to love any reckless, selfish, impulsive heroine who's hell-bent on revenge even though she's clearly not ready for a dangerous revenge mission and other people would pay for her mistakes. (I'm looking at you, Gul.) Cavas was smarter and more responsible, but even he did some foolish things that made me want to shake him with the hopes of clearing his head! Maybe I should just bump those two heads together and clear both of their heads so I'd be less frustrated when I read book 2?

Now I'm VERY worried about the supporting characters that I did like - Juhi, Amira, Malti, and Amar! Argh, I am going to send you my therapy bill, Gul!
Profile Image for Gayatri Saikia   | per_fictionist .
476 reviews68 followers
August 15, 2020

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙠𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙡,⁣
𝙖 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚.⁣
𝘼𝙢𝙗𝙖𝙧 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜’𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙚⁣
𝙃𝙚𝙧 𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙘 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙪𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙙 ⁣
𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙣𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙗𝙮 𝙖𝙡𝙡.⁣
𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧,⁣
𝙨𝙝𝙚’𝙡𝙡 𝙗𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙡⁣

~ hunted by the sky✨⁣

hunted by the sky is everything your desi heart needs and so much more!⁣
set in the fictional land of Amber, and heavily inspired by Indian and Persian mythology, hunted by the sky brings to us a tale of revenge and a prophecy that is bound to change the rules of the kingdom.⁣

this is what feels to be represented! tanaz bhathena bought 'home' to us desi readers and in whaaat way! ahhhh! from the refrences drawn from medieval India to the Indian delicacies, this book had it all. the bazars, the streets, the relationships were so perfectly documented that i couldn't help but find myself being sucked into the story and be a part of the sisterhood.⁣

i absolutely love when fantasies have a interwoven magical system with a bit of history that binds everything together and this one had it all. everytime i read something familar, i felt this tiny pang in my heart (in a good way)⁣

i absolutely loved Gul, and her recklessness and normally i abhor when a YA heroine acts too mature for her age. but with Gul, her rebellious side and at times her questionable decision balanced it out.⁣

Cavas, is a heartthrob and his dedication to his father left me in awe. i am so excited to see what the next book has in store for him.⁣

my favorite however was Amar, ofc because *ahem* first impression is sometimes the last impression and gosh! did he manage to sweep me off my feet? yeeeeesss!!😌⁣

i am so very excited to see what the second book brings to us because aaah so many questions and the climax of the first book was *chef's kiss* filled with so many twists and YES I NEED A SPIN OFF SERIES for the SISTERHOOD pls😌👌⁣
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,344 reviews304 followers
December 18, 2020
I thought this book was interesting, but very slow and tropey. In an attempt to not be quite so tropey, the people without magic are the ones that are oppressed, rather than the ones with magic, which just made it blindingly obvious that it was trying not to be... tropey. I'm not even sure that's a word but I've used it three times, fight me.

Gul is a very annoying character. Shaming a girl who seemed to have been raped at a young age as if she sold herself and this was something she should be ashamed of was pretty unforgivable, and her constant naivety about the world she lives in made little sense to me. It felt like she wanted to just walk into the Ambar Fort and stab the King with little to no training.

The romance could have been okay but it was just frustrating. Gul and Cavas do work well as a couple, I can understand why they would be together and the romance was not forced, except they literally refused to do anything that throw insults at each other and both felt they were above sitting down and hashing out their feelings.

What was really great about the book and kept me reading was the world building, Ancient Indian setting and Indian Mythology. It was a really immersive experience, that felt authentic to me and checking reviews of Own Voices reviewers, felt authentic to them too. Despite some weak points, how rich the story was kept me reading and made me excited for a sequel.
Profile Image for Renae.
1,013 reviews264 followers
October 31, 2021
Hunted by the Sky is an amazing, well-plotted fantasy debut, based on medieval Indian culture. After her parents' brutal murder, Gul has sworn to kill the emperor. In order to do that, she'll have to infiltrate the imperial complex, sneak past magic barriers, and...somehow, convince her dormant magic to do its thing. Alongside Gul are a group of fellow outcasts and renegades (some alive, some dead), plus unlikely help from within the royal family. Altogether: good stuff. Stabby girls out for revenge is one of my favorite plots.

📌 . Blog | Review Database | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Profile Image for Owly&HerBooks.
374 reviews70 followers
June 15, 2020
3.5 Stars

Okay, it's not often that I give a book a half star... this just called for it. There was so much in this book, so many great things, but also so much that had me wanting different outcomes, or change in pace, or in emotion. So, I couldn't quite get to the a full four, but there was no way I could place it right there at a three either. Because, if you've heard (or read) this book by now, then you know how much is filled up in those pages.

Now, here's my reasons why it's all a mix of feels... and there's a lot. We have Gul, whom at first gives me that kind of "I don't quite know what to do with you" feels. That has to do with her character kind of being all over the place, but it also helps with how she's been brought to the us, with the loss of her loved ones and the craziness surrounding her youth. And though I feel for her, sometimes I wasn't the biggest fan of the way her character came off.

Again, a mix of feels. I can't take from her though that she's resilient, a fighter, and "the chosen one", because yes, she's Neo in here (well, not all Matrix style, but def changing history). The one with the star-shaped birthmark that will bring an end to one of their most darkest times in history. With that said, those first lines in this book are shocking and telling of what this world is all about. And yes, it was intense. What a way to start a read!

That definitely kept me going, wanting to find out more about those called Sky Warriors and why they were bent on destroying lives because of a chosen one. Or, the Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus with all their secretive ways and magical abilities. They were my absolute favorite group in here. I wasn't always a fan of how some of their stories were portrayed, but it made for a bigger impact (in why the chosen one needed to end all of it).

Then came Cavas, which cannot be forgotten because his role is just as important in here. So yeah, again... sometimes I was all about who he was and where he was going, then the other half I was not that drawn by him. Which, caused me to be uninterested at times. See what I mean, it's really a roller-coaster in here. That brings me to the relationship between himself and Gul. At times, it was on fire, then it fell a bit flat, and then I was not sure how to feel. But, the in-between of it all was pretty great.

But, what had most of my attention was the magical aspect of the this world. There are Truth Seekers who can tell if you're lying (a dangerous gift), those called Whisperers that can talk with animals (that plays a big role), others that can do future readings, wield dead magic (you've got to read this to find out more), and it goes on. Plus, the truth of Gul's lineage and why her abilities are far surpassing. Yeah, no matter the mix feels, it's definitely worth having them. Good read for sure!

***I received this ARC from Fierce Reads, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Haadiya.
147 reviews74 followers
June 22, 2021
OMG I couldn’t be happier to be on a book tour! Get ready all of you who haven’t dived into this world yet because you’ll fall in love with the intricate worldbuilding and beautiful mythology this story holds.

Based in medieval India where a revengeful young woman named Gull finds herself beneath the claws of royalty while a young man called Cavas, struggling to survive finds a destiny for himself;

Amidst the classism stemming from the magical abilities and lack thereof and bashing of societal standards, a tender romance reluctantly blossoms. Gorgeous prose, fierce, complex girls, and a tender romance. I loved it all so much.
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