Hunted by the Sky
Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Tanaz Bhathena's Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
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.
Ambar's denizens peacefully coexisted until King Lohar relegated non-maji such as Cavas, 17, and his father, Xerxes, to polluted tenements. The conditions are killing Xerxes, who has contracted Tenement Fever, but royal stable hand Cavas can't secure new housing without becoming an army loadbearer a veritable death sentence. A prophecy presages that a powerful female magus "marked with a star" will effect Lohar's downfall, but while the prediction encourages some, it spells persecution for those with star-shaped birthmarks, like 15-year-old Gul. Two years ago, Lohan's warriors executed Gul's parents while hunting her. Gul doesn't believe she's the fabled Star Warrior she can barely control her late-onset magic but she's determined to exact vengeance. When revolutionaries ask Cavas to help Gul infiltrate the palace, Cavas refuses to get involved; fate, however, has other plans. This Indian- and Persian-inspired duology opener from Bhathena (The Beauty of the Moment) explores questions of faith via a fully fleshed, predominantly brown-skinned cast and a thoughtfully conceived mythology. Gul and Cavas's burgeoning attraction adds hints of romance, and after a dense start, escalating action catapults the tale to a thrilling close. Ages 12 up.