Untethered sky

Fonda Lee

Book - 2023

"From World Fantasy Award-winning author Fonda Lee comes Untethered Sky, an epic fantasy fable about the pursuit of obsession at all costs. 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 b...rave and dedicated rukhers. 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"--

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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf SCIENCE FICTION/Lee Fonda (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 8, 2023
Fantasy fiction
New York : Tor Publishing Group 2023.
First edition
Physical Description
152 pages : 22 cm
Main Author
Fonda Lee (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Lee takes falconry to the next level, following ruhker Ester's experience training and hunting with a roc. The giant birds are Dartha's best weapon against manticores, monsters that are larger than rocs and whose preferred food is humans. While her fascination with rocs predates having seen family members slaughtered by a manticore, Ester's vendetta against the creatures pushes her to train her roc, Zahra, to excel as a manticore killer. She is aided by fellow ruhkers Nasmin and Darius, though tension develops when Nasmin is recruited by the attractive Prince Khovash to promote ruhking across the entire kingdom, resulting in additional funds and apprentices for the Royal Mews, and a detachment in their friendship due to Ester's initial jealousy and Nasmin's travels. The foreshadowing of a tragedy affecting the three featured ruhkers and flashbacks to Ester's early life intersperse with present day action to showcase Ester's fierce determination and loyalty. Lee skillfully generates engaging characters and a fascinating fantasy setting in this novella, creating a quick, enjoyable read.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this uneven standalone novella, World Fantasy Award winner Lee (the Green Bone Saga series) conjures a world where giant birds of prey--rocs--are trained by handlers called ruhkers to hunt manticores. After 18-year-old Ester's mother and brother are killed by manticores, Ester determines to join the ranks of the ruhkers and rid the world of the beasts that destroyed her family. Much of the story consists of her learning to work as a team with her fledgling roc, Zahra, under the guidance of seasoned ruhker Darius and his roc, Minu. Together, Ester and Darius face tragedy and losses that test their strength and perseverance as ruhkers. Unfortunately, the human characters feel disappointingly flat in comparison to the fantastical beasts around them and Ester's matter-of-fact narration dulls the sense of adventure. Excessive foreshadowing, meanwhile, undermines the suspense. It's disappointing, because the premise is strong, offering a fresh take on dragon-rider fantasies of yore. Readers who come for the legendary beasts won't be disappointed, but anyone hoping for more substance can take a pass. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Ester is a ruhker apprentice: one who will devote themselves to the raising and training of roc fledglings, which will grow into gigantic, deadly birds of prey. While only one in five ever survive to fly a roc, Ester has the drive to attempt to make a wild creature named Zahra a hunter for the Kingdom of Dartha. As she cares for Zahra, her devotion to her cause grows. Rocs are the only ones who can face off against the deadly manticores that ravage the countryside, and it was a manticore that killed Ester's mother and brother. Yet now, Ester has gained a new family with the other ruhkers and the wild creature she can never hope to tame. Flashbacks of her life create the foundation for a powerful story of emotional freedom and learning to love without regret. Lee (Jade Legacy) creates a balance of action and emotional conflict with her strong prose and characters. VERDICT This slim novella packs a punch as it explores the emotional journey of one woman's feelings of vengeance and devotion, as wild as the creatures that she must face.--Kristi Chadwick

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