Skyward by Brandon Sanderson: Review

I first read this book and reviewed it on my old booktube account just over a year ago but wanted to get this review up on The Oasis so that it would complete the collection with Starsight and my new copy of Cytonic courtesy of Will at Gollancz.

Some information about this book:

  • Genre: YA
  • Release date: 6 November 2018
  • Page count: 513
  • Series: Skyward (#1)

The Blurb:

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

Book Cover

Brandon (the author) is very well known primarily for The Stormlight Archive and the Mistborn series which are both fantasy so when he dropped a sci-fi book that reads like a YA title some people didn’t know what to make of it but upon reading it, all was very clear. This is a great YA sci-fi story that changes what YA normally is, for potentially the better.

Skyward tells the story of a girl called Spensa who is dealing with the results of her father’s cowardice during a war against the human enemy, the Krell. Spensa wants to fight back, prove her father wouldn’t have been a coward and makes it her mission to fix a wrecked ship she found to get into the stars and fight.

“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”

Firstly lets talk about Spensa and her ship. The interaction between human and sentient machine is done so well in this story and their personalities shine as they navigate this friendship with only each other to trust. Sometimes it can be hard to show emotions or personality in a machine but this is really fun to read and the ship actually develops like a living being. I really wasn’t sure how it would work when I first got to this part but it was definitely an exciting plot line which evolves into something much more critical to the story.

“Sometimes, the answers we need don’t match the questions we’re asking.” He looked up at me. “And sometimes, the coward makes fools of wiser men.”

I liked the whole storyline and the idea that Spensa was the daughter of a coward. It’s interesting because generally the coward is off-page and the heroes save the day but in this view point we can see what actually happens to those closest to the coward, how they’re affected and what ramifications it has for the coward’s friends and family.

“Good night, sweet prince,” M-Bot whispered as the junk crashed to the ground. “Or princess. Or, most likely, genderless piece of inanimate space junk.”

There are a lot of characters in this story to enjoy and they never overshadow the protagonist but instead help push her story into the limelight. This of course works really well as we know that the author has juggled multiple characters in his book many times effectively. The character depth and evolution is great and allows you to really get into understanding these flawed characters and how they’ve all been affected by the cowardice actions of Spensa’s father. You feel immediately like this whole story has so much history and you get that really quickly, feeling that you’ve read a much bigger book than you have.

“Tremble and fear, all enemies!” he shouted. “For we shall shake the air with thunder and blood! Your doom is imminent!”

I don’t read much sci-fi but I really enjoyed this story. The fact that this is also a YA story is a good thing for me as I actually like YA stories to an extent and the fact that there is no romance in this book was perfect for me. I know a lot of people like it in stories but I don’t need to see two teenagers in space trying to get it on.

Rating 5/5 – Skyward is the perfect entry into sci-fi books for someone who only reads fantasy. It also works well as a breaker between Brandon’s much stronger fantasy chonkers. Skyward has great character development, twists and turns in the storyline, awesome action plots and smooth-as-whiskey prose. If you haven’t read this yet and like Sanderson then I recommend you pick it up. It’s smaller than his other books and packs just as much punch. This is the first of potentially four books with the newest book, #3, Cytonic out now.

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