Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Genre: Sci-fi, YA
First published: 2018
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Synopsis: 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.
This is the first non-Cosmere, first YA and first sci-fi Sanderson book that I’ve read. Turns out, he can do YA sci-fi as well as he does adult fantasy. One of my favourite things about Sanderson books is the creative magic systems. They’re always cool to read about. But it turns out he also writes really cool sci-fi… systems? I don’t know what to call it. But basically, whatever the sci-fi equivalent of a magic system is. I could definitely feel the Sanderson signature.
I admit to being a little bit bored by the first 100 pages or so. Quite frankly, I don’t even exactly remember what happened at the very start of the book. But once Spensa gets to pilot school, it is on. I love the school trope. Whether it’s magic school or pilot school or assassin training or whatever it is, I really love that trope. I like seeing the teacher-student dynamics, I like seeing the student-student dynamics. I just like all of it and Skyward did not disappoint. I really loved Spensa’s crew and the dynamics of that group and how they actually bonded throughout the book and you could tell. I loved that the romance element was kept on the down low. There are hints, but nobody’s got time for it. And that’s cool. Because they’re fighting for their lives. So it makes sense. I really enjoyed that.
The mystery about what exactly happened to Spensa’s father was really cool and I am excited for the rest of the series because I am sure that there are a bunch of little hints that I’ve missed that are going to become obvious in subsequent books, in the usual Brandon Sanderson style and I am here for it.
Okay, I love like ships or robots that have personalities and are really kind of alive, even though they’re not alive… you know what I mean. Like, R2D2 and C3PO are still some of my favourite Star Wars characters. So I adored Spensa’s ship. It was so sassy and hilarious, it’s probably my favourite character in the whole story and I can’t wait to see more of him. But I actually enjoyed most of the characters. I liked Spensa and her stubborn determination. I even really liked the not-love interest. He was just a pretty cool guy. I liked the girl bonding that went on. I just overall thought this book had a great cast of characters.
So yeah, great world-building, great plot, great characters. Pretty much exactly what I’d expect from a Brandon Saanderson book. I am super excited for the next book and I will never doubt Brandon Sanderson again. I was slightly apprehensive going into this book because it was so different from the other books of his I’d read. But I shouldn’t have been because it was great.