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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Skyhunter offers the chance to discuss friendship, loyalty, and courage.
Even our enemies deserve compassion. We should express gratitude toward our allies.
Positive Role Models
Talin is loyal to her squadronmates, devoted to her widowed mother, willing to push herself to physical and emotional extremes. She no-longer speaks due to trauma, and communicates by sign language. She forges an intense bond with Red, and through him learns harsh truths about her past. In terms of representation, Talin has lost her ability to speak and communicates by sign language. Characters have a variety of skin colors, and two male friends of Talin's friends. form a romantic couple.
Violence & Scariness
Talin's life is centered on violence. She is a Striker, trained to kill the Ghosts and their keepers. The novel features lots of battles in which humans and Ghosts are stabbed with swords or shot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two of Talin's male friends fall in love, but no sexual activity is shown or referred to.
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A handful of instances of "hell," "damn," and "s--t."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Skyhunter is a dystopian science fiction/fantasy novel by Marie Lu (Warcross, Prodigy), narrated by Talin Kanami, a mute young woman whose vocal cords were scarred by poison gas and communicates by sign language. Talin battles bloodthirsty "Ghosts" -- humans mutated and modified to be murderous supersoldiers -- that threaten her family's last refuge. There are many violent scenes featuring battles between humans and Ghosts, with plenty of bloodshed as they fight with guns, swords, and knives. Rare strong language includes "damn," "hell," and "s--t" in one or two instances. There's no sexual activity or substance use.
Is It Any Good?
Warfare seems to be a universal activity, and this action-packed adventure set in a half-forgotten future raises issues of imperialism and xenophobia. Author Marie Lu can usually be counted on to serve up plenty of forward narrative motion, and she doesn't disappoint here, as her characters battle zombie-like Ghosts and deal with treacherous royalty. Talin and Red are a fascinating pair of main characters, with well-kept secrets and surprising abilities. This is the kind of storytelling Lu's fans clamor for. The surprise cliffhanger ending will annoy some readers, but Lu probably has a killer opening ready for the next volume.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate