Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
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.
Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ll admit it, I have never read a Brandon Sanderson book. I know, I know he’s one of the biggest fantasy authors and I’ve had Mistborn on my bookshelf for what feels like forever, but I just haven’t quite gotten around to it. And considering Skyward is a sci-fi book AKA one of the genres I feel a bit meh about, I wasn’t sure if I should be reading it, because I was worried I was going to not like it and then judge his fantasy books based on his sci-fi. But also, when you get the chance to read a book by a big name author before it is released (I got the book a week before release and then got tied up with other reading) you usually take it.
And I needn’t have worried. Skyward was funny, exciting and a quick read. The protagonist, Spensa is very quirky in a bit of a sometimes Luna Lovegood kind of way, but I liked her a lot and it was easy to sympathise with her. You know it’s going to be a good book when you get a strong sense of the character from the very first pages. She’s a well-developed character, with enough flaws that she felt like a real person. And although I don’t quite get the whole honour before staying alive mindset most people have in this book, I did understand where it stemmed from. The whole society is built upon honour and bravery, so seeing how this impacts on both the culture and the individual characters was really interesting to watch unfold.
Obviously, as a Sanderson novel, the world building was brilliant. I have watched a bunch of his lectures and talks, and I expected the very best. Again, I wasn’t disappointed. As I’ve already said, I liked how the society was built so firmly on a set of values and that a lot of the tension throughout Skyward came from the friction of these two different concepts colliding. The main character is the daughter of a traitor (not a spoiler since it is in several synopses I’ve read) and so she’s automatically an outcast. Her way at coping with this is very understandable, but what I liked most is that Sanderson manages to expertly balance the story and character here. She’s complex because she frequently changes her opinions and her mind on things. She develops on the page as the story goes on, and in turn this forces the reader to question the so-called truths she’s been told, and the values this society holds.
There’s also a decent amount of twists and turns in this book. I think there were two in all (if I remember rightly). One which I guessed at, and one which was so out there that it was a true punch to the gut kind of twist. If you guess it, you must be a genius.
Overall, I really enjoyed Skyward and would give it an 8.5/10 stars. I know a lot of people out there who read YA are not so certain on sci-fi, but I think this is a pretty good book for people who don’t like their sci-fi too dense. There’s a bit of jargon in there, but honestly it is not a hard book to wrap your head around, and I’d be happy to recommend it to friends in the future.
What did everyone else think of this book? I love to hear your opinions on books I’ve read an reviewed, so feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below to join in the discussion.
Until next time guys ❤