Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Skyhunter Book Poster Image
Silent warrior fights supersoldiers in exciting sci-fi.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Skyhunter offers the chance to discuss friendship, loyalty, and courage. 

Positive Messages

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. 


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.


Two of Talin's male friends fall in love, but no sexual activity is shown or referred to. 


A handful of instances of "hell," "damn," and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 12 years old October 4, 2021

Must read!

Yes, this book is violent, but for a fairly mature 12 year old it should be ok. This book is absolutely AMAZING and I practically cried when I got the sequel.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLiam McLennan September 8, 2021

Lu's Skyhunter duology starts strong

PROFANITY: "hell", "d*mn", and "sh*t" are each hear a few times.
VIOLENCE: Talin's home village was pillaged by the Karensa F... Continue reading

What's the story?

As SKYHUNTER opens, Talin Kanami finds herself inexplicably protective of Redlen, an enemy soldier about to be executed. She saves his life, but is forced to be his keeper, with her life as collateral. Talin and Red bond in unexpected ways, and it soon becomes clear that he possesses secrets that may win the war against the malevolent "Ghosts," mutated and modified supersoldiers. To save their country, Talin, Red, and their allies embark on a secret and forbidden mission to destroy the Ghosts once and for all.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Skyhunter addresses themes of friendship and loyalty. How do people form strong emotional bonds? How do friendships develop?

  • Why are dystopian novels so popular? What's fun about imagining a dark future?

  • Why do people fear the Other? How can people learn to be accepting of individuals not in their tribe?

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