Untethered Sky

English language

Published Dec. 17, 2023 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.


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4 stars (4 reviews)

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.

1 edition

A fascinaing story where humans use huge rocs to hunt even more deadly manticores.

4 stars

A fascinating story set in a world where huge rocs, bigger than humans, fly and hunt terrifying prey: manticores that prey on humans. Human have made a dangerous pact with the rocs, and now hunt the manticores together.

The story focuses on Ester, a ruhker (roc partner) who at the beginning of the story is paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra. After winning Zahra's trust, and not getting eaten in the process, they train together to hunt smaller prey before they are considered ready, with the help of senior ruhkers, to take on the manticores.

The heart of the story is Ester's relationship with Zahra: for while Ester adores Zahra and trusts her, Zahra may not reciprocate, for she was bought in from the wild and could leave (or kill) Ester at any time. Ester's training and relationship with Zahra are about the only thing keeping them together as …

Untethered Sky

4 stars

This was a fun novella. It's an "animal companion" story of sorts, where it focuses largely on Ester's relationship with her new roc Zahra. It's about dealing with grief, unrequited love and obsession with animals, and the awkwardness of what it means to "train" and "keep" a giant murderbird who could fly away at any time with your heart (metaphorically or literally).

There was just enough world-building and a hint of politics to keep me intrigued about the rest of the world, and the ending quite neatly brought a number of different story threads together to a satisfying finish.

I also enjoyed this conversation between Fonda Lee and Alex Harrow, including a bunch of details about this novella: www.tor.com/2023/04/27/author-interviews-conversation-with-fonda-lee-and-alix-e-harrow/

avatar for joachim@lire.boitam.eu

rated it

5 stars
avatar for bremner

rated it

4 stars