{Story Diary} Hunted By the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Jun 29, 2020

I was supposed to be on a blog tour for Hunted By the Sky (with a company I no longer support) but never received an advanced review copy from the organizers and was declined on Edelweiss by the publisher. Thankfully, my former librarian boss and current friend was kind enough to lend me her copy. And I am so glad to have read it and that it was worth the wait!

Anyway, without further ado, read on to find out why you absolutely need to add Hunted By the Sky to your library, as well as favorite quotes, glossary, aesthetic and a collage of all the food!

hunted by the sky tanaz bhathena ownvoices desi fantasyHunted By the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
Young Adult Fantasy, #ownvoices
June 23, 2020 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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. Gul's mark is what caused her parents' murder at the hand of King Lohar's ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding 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, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl--Gul--in the capital's bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance--and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king's domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.


hunted by the sky map svapnalok

Four kingdoms of Svapnalok:

✶ Ambar

Language: Vani

✶ Jwala

Language: Paras

✶ Prithvi

✶ Samudra

Reasons You Need to Add Hunted By the Sky to Your Library

♚ Wonderfully and unapologetically Desi, and medieval India inspired.
♚ It's essentially a revenge story. Gotta love a good revenge plot.
♚ The world-building is intricate, vivid, lush, and wholly Desi. 🛕
♚ The magic caste system is interesting to learn about and see how its utilized in the story. Unfortunately it also brings about the discrimination and separation between the magi (magic-wielders) and non-magi (non magic-wielders) people. ✨
♚ Strong and accurate (according to ownvoices readers/reviewers) cultural representation, influences and mythology.
♚ A chosen one prophecy that hasn't been [over-]done in mainstream YA before which is a breath of fresh air. 🌟
Fierce vengeful rebel women. There's a group of fierce rebel women warriors who trains in magic, attacks and weaponry to help (Gul) exact in revenge plots and how to be a leader in a rebellion. 🗡️🏹
♚ The main characters are passionately loyal to a fault and realistically flawed, and the way they flourish in their journeys will have you rooting for them and eager to see where they go as the story continues in the next book.
♚ Authentic Indian food. The descriptions will make you hungry and wanting to search from some kachoris and sev. 🤤
Social commentary on class differences, discrimination, injustices, grief and oppression.
♚ Sexual and gender identities and equality are normalized in this world. 🌈
♚ THE Y E A R N I N G. The reluctant and tender-hearted romance between these two opposite MC's is just *chef's kiss* Also, the fact that the romance isn't a huge part of the story may be appreciated by some. 💕💏
♚ The beautiful designs doesn't stop at the cover - it continues within the pages into the map and the chapter headers.
♚ The ENDING. It will have you needing book two immediately.


☀ Ancient India-coded
☀ Desi characters
☀ Indian and Persian mythology
☀ #ownvoices
☀ Chronically ill side character
☀ Sapphic side character
☀ Different religious faiths and non-believers

Content/Trigger Warnings

➤ Slavery
➤ Violence
➤ Murder
➤ Blood
➤ Death of parents
➤ Chronically ill parent
➤ Animal cruelty
➤ Implied sexual slavery

hunted by the sky tanaz bhathena moodboard aesthetic


Acharya: a scholar and religious leader
Almari: a cupboard
Ambarnaresh*: a title for the king of Ambar
Anandpranam*: the happiest of salutations
Angrakha: a long tunic that is tied at the left or right shoulder
Atashban*: a powerful magical weapon resembling a crossbow
Bhaiyya: brother
Chakra: a disc-shaped weapon with sharp edges
Chameli: Jasmine
Champak: an evergreen tree with fragrant orange flowers
Chandni Raat*: the night of the moon festival; native to Svapnalok
Choli: a short blouse; worn with a sari or ghagra
Dev Kah*: the era of the gods
Dhoti: a garment wrapped around the lower half of the body; passed between the legs, and tucked into the waistband
Dhulvriksh*: a desert tree with rootlike branches; native to the kingdoms of Ambar and he Brimlands
Didi: elder sister
Drishti jal*: a magical elixir used by Pashu to travel and communicate with each other; native to the kingdom of Aman
Dupatta: a shawl-like scarf
Ektara: a drone lute with a single string
Fanas: lantern
Ghagra: a full-length skirt; worn by women with a choli and dupatta
Ghat: a set of steps along a riverbank
Gulab: rose
Haveli: a mansion
Indradhanush*: a rainbow-hued metal; native to the Brimlands
Jambiya: a short, double-edged dagger
Jantar-mantar*: an illusion; derogatory term for false magic tricks in Svapnalok
Jatamansi: an herb used to darken hair
Ji: an honorific, usually placed after a person's name; can also be used as a respectful acknowledgement, in the place of "yes"
Jootis: flat shoes with pointed tips
Kabzedar: usurper
Kaccha sari: a sari wrapped in a manner similar to a dhoti, for ease of movement; worn with a choli
Kali: a flower bud (pronounced "kuh-lee"); not to be confused with the Hindu goddess Kali (pronounced "kaa-lee")
Lathi: a long wooden staff, used as a weapon
Levta: a black mudfish
Maang-teekan: a hair ornament; worn by women
Makara*: a Pashu who is part crocodile, part human
Neela chand*: refers to one's mate or soulmate in Svapnalok; literally translates to "blue moon"
Pallu: the loose ends of a sari
Paras*: the language of the kingdom of Jwala
Pashu*: a race of part-human, part-animal beings; native to the kingdom of Aman
Peepul: a sacred fig tree
Peri*: a gold-skinned Pashu who is part-human, part-bird
Putra*: son; when used as a suffix, it means "son of"
Putri*: daughter; when used as a suffix, it means "daughter of"
Raag: a melodic framework used for improvisation and composition of Indian classical music
Raj darbar: the royal court
Raja: king
Rajkumar: prince
Rajkumari: princess
Rajsingha*: a Pashu who is part lion, part lion
Rani: queen
Rekha*: a magical barrier
Rupee*: a silver coin
Sadhvi: a holy woman
Samarpan: the act of dedication, submission, and sacrifice to a person or cause
Sandhi: a symbiosis
Sangemarmar: a white marble; native to the kingdom of Jwala
Sant: saint
Sau aabhaar*: a hundred thank-yous
Shubhdivas*: good day
Shubhraat*: good night
Shubhsaver*: good morning
Shvetpanchhi*: a large, carnivorous bird with white and black feathers; native to Svapnalok
Simurgh*: a Pashu who is part eagle and part peacock with a woman's face
Surma: a black cosmetic, used to line the eyes
Swarna*: a gold coin
Talwar: a long sword with a curved blade
Thanedar: a police officer
Thhor: a multistemmed, cactus-like succulent found in the desert
Vaid*: a magical healer
Vani*: the language of the kingdom of Ambar
Yudhnatam*: a martial art
Yuvraj: heir apparent
Zamindar: an aristocratic landowner

* Note (from the author): many terms common to our world and the former empire of Svapnalok. However, there are a few words that differ slightly in meaning and/or used specifically in the context of Svapnalok. These have been marked with an asterisk (*) wherever possible.

[Glossary can be found in the back of the book]

"Every heart holds a warrior. Some are born, some are made, while some choose to never take up arms. What you are and who you will become will be entirely up to you."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"People have tongues that wag far too often and minds that don’t think as much."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"Power comes in many shapes and forms. You keep doubting yourself, Gul. That’s your biggest weakness. When you don’t, you can take down men twice your size."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"The sky has fallen, a star will rise."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

[Quotes are taken from an advanced review copy and is subject to change in the final copy]


hunted by the sky tanaz bhathena indian food collage

Bajra roti: a flatbread made with pearl miller
Chaas: a cold drink made of yogurt
Chandrama*: a sweet, circular pastry, garnished with edible foil and rose petals
Ghee: clarified butter
Kachori: a round, fried pastry stuffed with a sweet or savory filling
Kadhi: a cream-colored gravy, made of yogurt, chickpea flour, spices, and vegetables
Khichdi: a rice-and-lentil dish
Khoba roti: a thick flatbread made with indents on the surface
Madira: alcohol
Mawa: a sweet paste made by simmering milk on the stove
Methi bajra puri: a fried flatbread made with spinach and pearl miller
Moong dal: split green gram
Paneer: a type of curd cheese
Pakoda: a vegetable fritter
Prasad: food used as a religious offering, normally consumed after worship
Pulao: a rice dish made with spices and vegetables and/or meat
Rabdi: a sweet, creamy dish made with condensed milk and nuts
Rajnigandha: tuberose
Sabzi: cooked vegetables
Sev: vermacelli
Sohan halwa: a sweet made of ghee, milk, flour, and sugar
Tulsi: holy basil

Tanaz Bhathena writes books for young adults. Her sophomore novel, The Beauty of the Moment, won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction and has also been nominated 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 23 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.

Post a Comment

empty kingdom. Design by Berenica Designs.