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Book Review: Untethered Sky

Table of Contents

“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. “

Title: Untethered Sky

Series: N/A

Author: Fonda Lee

Page Count: 160

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: December 19th, 2022

As the year was nearing the end I hopped onto NetGalley for the first time in months just to see if anything caught my eye. I ended up noticing this fantasy work was available from Fonda Lee. See as I really enjoyed her Green Bone Saga series, I thought I’d check this out. I was disappointed other than how short it was. There was mention that she’s been working on a fantasy series so I’ll be looking forward to that in the future as well.

As short as this read was it definitely had the feeling of just a novel on the shorter side of length. I really enjoyed the story and setting of this book. Really the only things that caught me a bit by surprise were the amount of information we are given regarding Manticore and Roc. But I guess this is really just feeding the background of the story. Also, what seemed a strange description of Manticore to me. Until this read I’d never pictured them as having ape like faces. This got me so curious by the end that I had to google search for manticore images. Granted most of them are the more traditional look that I was expecting but there actually were a small number of results with ape like faces. I don’t know why this got to me so much but I just had to do some research and follow through with that! Now onto my usual review.

The character building was very strong in this novella. I thought we go to learn quite a bit about our protagonist but also several of the supporting characters as well. We see many characters go through struggles and triumphs in this short read. And not necessarily in that order as well. This isn’t a completely happy ending for several characters but I hope Fonda picks this world up and expands it some more in the future if this wasn’t the previously mentioned fantasy series she’s been working on.

The pacing had some good ebb and flow to this in such a short read. There may have been a couple of spots that things seemed to slow down a bit for me but they were short lived for sure. For the most part this was a fairly action packed read all throughout.

The world building is always difficult to score in a novella as there just isn’t a lot of pages available to flesh things out. But just like the character development in this one I thought Fonda Lee did a solid job with this. The world seemed fairly closed off to us at the beginning where it just kind of felt like an older fantasy time with towns and villages until we begin to learn about the sprawling cities and countryside. Then this world began to see a lot larger with so many possibilities. We also began to get a better feeling of the different cultures and ways of life comparing the people of the small farming towns compared to the densely populated city.

All in all I’m happy to have had a chance to read this novella. It was enjoyable and I really look forward to what else the author can do in the future with the fantasy genre! I’ll be keeping my eye out for that series to hit the shelves so I can give it a go!
World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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