Book review | Hunted by the Sky (Wrath of Ambar #1) by Tanaz Bhatena
Hunted by the Sky (Wrath of Ambar #1)
Author: Tanaz Bhatena
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
No. of pages: 384
Published by: Penguin Random House
Published on: 6th July 2020
My rating: ★★★★☆
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. In fact, it is this very mark that caused her parents' murder at the hand of King Lohar's ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding in order 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 but Cavas will do anything to save him. Sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl - Gul - in the capital's bazaar. As the chemistry between them grows undeniably, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance and discovers a magic he never expected to find.
Dangerous circumstances bring Gul and Cavas together at the king's domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Inspired by medieval India, this is the first in a stunning fantasy duology by Tanaz Bhathena, exploring identity, class struggles and high-stakes romance against a breathtaking magical backdrop.
When Gul sees her parents dying in the hands of Major Shayla, she makes it her life's mission to kill King Lohar, whose orders are to kill any girl born with a star-shaped birthmark. Her birthmark makes her life extremely vulnerable in the Kingdom of Ambar, as it has been prophecized that a girl born with a star-mark will bring the King down. In order to save her life she flees from the Star Warriors and is soon taken into refuge by the Sisters of the Golden Lotus.
A couple of years later, she comes across Cavas, a mere stable-boy in the palace. Neither of them know that their passionate encounter will bind their lives forever. Even though Cavas is reluctant, he helps Gul in carrying out her mission. Will they be successful? Do they fall in love? Grab your copy to read this stunning fantasy fiction.
This book legit made me feel butterflies in my stomach. The slow burn romance, the enemies to lovers trope, is everything! Even though the romance hasn't bloomed properly yet, it's definitely going to on the coming book in the series, and I just can't wait for the next book to come!
Tanaz Bhatena has stayed true to the nuances of the Indian/Persian themes in the novel. The culture and traditions very familiar to our world. Though it took almost half of the book to complete the world-building in this fantasy fiction, once you get to know about the whole setting, the plot flows smoothly.
I loved how the the narration goes back and forth from Gul's to Cavas' perspective. Both the characters have been given such excellent backstories that their character development arc gives me joy. Not to mention, the way they both dismiss or accept their feelings for each other. It make my heart thrive. Not only Gul and Cavas, even the secondary characters get their backstories and each of them are unique and original, and in turn help Gul's and Cavas' character develop.
You guys who are absolutely suckers for romance fantasy, must pick up this book. Even though the romance aspect of the book is lesser than the seeking revenge aspect, it's definitely going to develop more in the next book.
It's crisp and magical. Reading the book really gives you a desi feeling to it. Some of the dialogues, like the greetings, are in the Hindi/Farsi dialect and some in the made-up dialect that belongs to the book's setting. This wouldn't make it difficult for those who don't understand Hindi or Farsi though. The book follows a very simplistic dialogue setting between the characters and makes it an overall pleasant experience in reading the book.
Bhathena writes books for young adults. Her sophomore novel, The Beauty of the Moment, won the Nautilus Award for Young Adult Fiction and has also beennominated for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award. 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. Her latest book, Hunted by the Sky, (releasing June 23rd 2020) is the first of a YA fantasy duology set in a world inspired by medieval India. Her short stories have appeared in various publications including The Hindu, Blackbird, Witness, and Room. Born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada, Tanaz lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with her family.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.