Skyward is the first-ever Brandon Sanderson book that I have read, and it certainly did not disappoint. I love the storytelling, and can’t wait to get to Starsight in the near future.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Taken from Goodreads
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 realises 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.
I had really high expectations going into Skyward, and I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Skyward as a starting point for Brandon Sanderson as it gives a feel for his writing style without the complex interwoven storylines of his other Cosmere novels.
Skyward follows Spensa as she tries to become a pilot, on her home planet of Detritus. Her journey to become a pilot is at a considerable disadvantage based on opinions about her family. Her father was branded a traitor after the Battle of Alta, where he supposedly abandoned his battalion; this is the only thing that Spensa knows not to be correct.
I absolutely loved Spensa’s character; she had a great depth to her personality, and I felt a real emotional connection to her, which I find hard to get from a young adult science fiction novel. It didn’t feel that her reactions to certain events (which I will not spoil) where overemphasised, they felt natural and normal, and matched the tone of the book and Spensa’s personality. The other characters that I loved were M-Bot and Doomslug. M-Bot brought necessary comic relief to the story, and his sassiness during his interactions with Spensa always left me smiling. Doomslug was the cutest little slug, the way that she would imitate Spensa and M-Bot was just adorable, I really hope that she becomes a re-occurring character, otherwise I will be upset.
Skyward does not focus on any romantic relationships, which is I something that enjoyed. While there are elements that could be suggesting a romantic relationship in future books, these elements are not constantly shoved in the readers face. Although Skyward does lack romantic relationships, it more than makes up for it with friendships. The friendships between the Skyward squadron feel natural rather than forced. While they do have their arguments and disagreements, they are resolved and addressed without the need for dramatics.
Brandon Sanderson does an excellent job at explaining the science behind the innovations without it becoming too troubling or info-dumpy. Everything is explained, but within context, which allows the plot to flow smoothly without it becoming static while information is presented to the reader. I was a little bit worried about the flight school setting, as it is the first book that I have read with that particular setting; however, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.
One thing that Skyward does not shy away from is war. Skyward addresses the harsh realities of war and the damage that does to the friends and family of those serving. It also addresses death; there is an incredibly moving moment featuring Spensa and Jorgen in the aftermath of a battle, which is a real reminder of how young these characters are.
Overall, I absolutely loved Skyward and Brandon Sanderson’s writing. I will definitely be picking up Starsight in the near future as well as beginning to read his Cosmere work.
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