Title: Untethered Sky
Author: Fonda Lee
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family. Ester’s path leads her to the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated ruhkers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance. -Goodreads
Untethered Sky is one of the best books I’ve read this year – I loved it!!
Granted, I’ve a particular fondness for these types of stories. The ones where we get the nitty gritty details of trainers taking care of their dangerous animals. I usually get my kicks from dragon books (see other books you might like section), and loved seeing Lee’s version of that framework with Rocs (giant birds).
The book had a lot of slow moments where we really got to appreciate the bond between the main character and her bird. Everything from its initial acclimation to hunting drills – it was superb. I love it when authors take their time to highlight the selling points of a story. That may seem like a “duh” comment, but I can’t tell you how many books I’ve picked up on a good premise that never quite delivered on its promises. Untethered Sky definitely didn’t feel like an opportunity wasted.
The MC was my favorite part of the book. She had such a poignant connection to the overall conflict of the story that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. She really believed in her cause, and that personal connection and motive behind becoming a roc trainer added a lot of meaningful depth to the story. I also loved her awkward navigations when dealing with other humans – she was incredibly endearing.
The x-factor in books for me tipping them over from just good to freaking amazing seems to be a combination of pacing and momentum. This story had the perfect balance of both, leaving me reeling at the end of the book in the best way possible. I haven’t finished Green Bone yet, but if this novella and the wild popularity of that series are any indication, I’m in for quite the ride.
Recommendations: pick this up for a fun story filled with interesting characters, awe-inspiring creatures, and excellent pacing. I loved it.
I’d like to thank TOR, Fonda Lee, and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of Untethered Sky!
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by Niki Hawkes