cover image Hunted by the Sky (The Wrath of Ambar #1)

Hunted by the Sky (The Wrath of Ambar #1)

Tanaz Bhathena. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-31309-8

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. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. [em](June) [/em]