I didn’t know Brandon Sanderson was coming out with a new series in 2018. I didn’t know he intended to write a YA series. I didn’t know he came out with a sci-fi book. Nor did I know that Skyward was the first book in a YA sci-fi trilogy. I saw Brandon Sanderson and clicked request…
This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Gollancz, in return for an honest review. Thank you!
by Brandon Sanderson
Synopsis by NetGalley
Spensa’s world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity’s only defence is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what’s left of the human race.
Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s – a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa’s chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.
No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They’ve doubled their fleet, making Spensa’s world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .
I didn’t like Spensa (callsign: Spin) in the beginning. I found her annoying and a know-it-all. But she grew on me and she also became humbler at around 20% in. From there I couldn’t but enjoy the book. I mean the sass is great and the epic destructive speeches from Spin was great, but when M-Bot starts doing it, it is a whole other level and I lived for it!
The story follows Spin as she struggles to live up to her father’s wishes while living in a society who regards him as a coward. Her father was an amazing pilot who ended up leaving in the middle of the biggest fight in their history and getting shot down by friendly fire and therefore named a coward. Spin has forever been referred to as a coward’s daughter and has built up an attitude accordingly. She works herself through pilot school and finds that not everything is as how she thought they were. As her society is still fighting against the horrible Krell, not only does she have to get through flight school, she must fight real fights and lose friends, and she must deal with the way people regard her as a coward’s daughter and her limits in her new surroundings.
World building is very well done as with all Brandon Sanderson’s books. We start off with an introduction to the current place as we follow Spin as a child and her father during their last ascent to the surface. The prologue really gives you a lot of information without telling you the information. I always admired Brandon Sanderson’s writing and his teaching. After watching some of his teaching videos online I have become even more aware of how he writes. It’s very fascinating.
The world is a place with lost ancestry and lost history. They don’t know much from beyond three generations back. They don’t know why they are where they are. They don’t even know who the Krell is.
Magic System / Science
There is no magic but there is something else going on. I’m not sure what it is yet. I hope it will become clearer in the next book.
The science in this book is focused on the spaceship and the way they fly. Due to the limited knowledge of their ancestry, they have lost a lot of science and technology. M-Bot provides us with that information early on and proves just how big the distance really is between the old and new. It’s an interesting though; how would information survive if you got cut off from everyone else?
Spin, the MC, is a big fan of the dramatic stories and always has a dramatic line or two she can quote to others. She grew up looking up to her dad and when he did what he did during the war Spin finds it difficult to handle it and doesn’t believe it. Being a coward’s daughter has been Spins life. Becoming a pilot is her only idea of fixing her future and her dad’s reputation. In the beginning, Spin is headstrong and clearly known everything. Throughout the book, Spin evolves into someone more normal or more realistic. During her experiences at the flight school, she matures and gains insight into the world and her abilities. I like Spin, not in the beginning but definitely at the end. I’m not sure if she grew on me or if she just grew in the book.
I really liked the name of the slug she spends her time with; Doomslug the Destroyer 😂 It’s also a very fascinating creature that isn’t really giving the story anything but adds some informal attitude and humour and makes Spin feel less of a lonely character in her cave.
Other characters include;
Rig – Spin’s best friend. I liked him, but we don’t see as much of his as I would have liked. Maybe in the next book.
Cobb – Spin’s teacher and her father’s wingmate. Yeah liked him too. He is like a father figure for Spin during her lessons and in the air.
M-Bot – Artificial Intelligence in a broken spaceship she finds. Loved him! Especially in the end. Thought the mushroom obsession is weird but still funny.
I love Brandon’s writing. It’s rich and simple at the same time.
Considering this is YA, the writing was intricate and typical Brandon in comparison to other YA which tend to simplify the language to accommodate for a younger audience. Brandon’s writing doesn’t. It’s standard older YA/adult without being over-complicated and intricate.
I really enjoyed it, but I had minor issues getting into the book and had sometimes no interest in picking up the book. When I did pick up the book, I could read for hours but I wasn’t entirely consumed.
I highly recommend this book to any fan of Brandon Sanderson’s books, and to anyone who wants to get into Sci-Fi books but feel the adult ones are a bit daunting.
“Just for that, I shall hunt your firstborn and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!”
– M-Bot after taking a few hits from another ship and continues with;
“A pox of unique human diseases – many of which cause an uncomfortable swelling – come upon you!”
Have you read this? What did you think?
Are you interested in reading this?