“Claim the stars, Spensa.”
As you may or may not know – Brandon Sanderson is my favorite writer ever. I am constantly amazed by the worlds he creates and moreover, the way he makes his stories intricate and compelling. I have talked on and on about how much I love his books (especially Mistborn) and when I saw that Skyward was up for request on Netgalley – I knew I had to request it immediately. And my wonderful bookish friend, Hannah @ Ink and Myths suggested we do a buddy read and I obviously said yes. We had so much fun, and I am glad to say that Sanderson did not disappoint.
Skyward follows Spensa, a teenage girl living with the rest of the remnants of the human race on a planet. The human race is at a constant war with a mysterious alien force called The Krell. All her life, Spensa has wanted to be a pilot, like her dad, and now she has to navigate flight school.
As always, Sanderson is a master of creating an interesting world. I loved the concept of this story, and much like any Sanderson book, this was intriguing and clever to the very end. I love the way he managed to interweave politics and more serious topics into what is essentially an action-packed page-turner. While this is sort of different to the rest of his work, it has all of that good stuff – great world building and a great sense of grounding in the story.
Also, this is a SciFi novel and I loved seeing how his writing in a SciFi setting. I found everything to be completely believable and everything made a lot of sense, which I think is really important in SciFi. There are some laws of physics that you have to obey and I just found this to be completely plausible, which is impressive.
I’ve said this on numerous occasions, but I don’t really like the way Sanderson writes female characters. Spensa is no different. He just tries really hard to make his female characters spunky in that attempt, makes them annoying. Spensa is judgmental and rash and irrational at times, which got on my nerves a lot. She does grow as a character which I really appreciated, but I can’t say that I was completely sold on her. I stand by what I said ages ago – Sanderson’s male characters are more complex and feel more real than his female ones, which is a shame.
Other than Spensa, I LOVED every single character in this book. We get a fairly big cast of characters and I really enjoyed all of them. Spensa’s flight instructor, Cobb was a great, grumpy, but honorable and wise teacher and I love that character archetype, so I loved him a lot. My favorite character of the novel, however, was by far M-Bot. He is the AI of a ship Spensa discovers and I love him so much. He is snarky and sarcastic and I just loved every bit of page time he got. I love when ships and technology end up with personalities and M-Bot was no different. He made the book for me.
Overall, this book is super engaging. No one writes fight scenes like Sanderson. He is exceptionally good at that, and I loved reading all the starship fights in this one. Moreover, this is just a super fun book. It’s really one of the books I had the most fun with this year. It is serious, it’s war, there’s death, but overall, this was super engaging and super fun.
This just isn’t my favorite Sanderson novel in the world. I have a hard time with SciFi and I always prefer Fantasy to it. But Sanderson did manage to keep me engaged and he gets all the props for that. And like I mentioned, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Spensa.
Most importantly though, this reads very YA to me. I feel like it remains surface level on a lot of things. While Sanderson does tackle a lot of important issues here, and while he does talk about the culture and the ethos of this community, I feel like all of it was somewhat simplified. This is entirely a personal preference, but I prefer books that focus more heavily on those aspects of the story (the characters, the world, the culture and the community) rather than having the focus on the plot.
This was highly engaging and fun and the concept of the story is brilliant, so I highly recommend picking this one up come November.
Final verdict: 4 stars
Let me know in the comments if you are a big Sanderson nerd like I am and what’s your favorite Sanderson novel? Also, let me know if you love SciFi – and maybe give me some character driven SciFi recs!
Come hang out with me: