Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Plot: 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.
I received Skyward from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Brandon Sanderson has been on my TBR list for years. When I came across Skyward on Netgalley, it was my chance to be introduced to his writing without taking on the epics. While he’s more commonly known for his fantasy work, Skyward is a science-fiction novel following humanity as they struggle to exist on a planet bombarded with enemies.
It took me a little while to get into Skward. Spensa – callsign: Spin – is the daughter of a supposed coward, shunned by society and denied the chance to fulfil her true calling: becoming a pilot like her father. Spensa has a chip on her shoulder and an arrogance that made it initially hard to connect to her. She’s justified in her attitude, but it acted as a barrier between reader and character.
That doesn’t last long. Spensa softens – she acknowledges her faults and grows and learns from her experiences. She becomes a strong and determined character, with a vulnerable side that makes her far easier to empathise with compared to the very beginning.
The secondary characters are strong. Some are clichés: Jorgen, the rich, spoilt boy who instantly becomes a leader. Rig, the overlooked best friend who is paramount in getting Spin where she needs to be. Cobb; the ex-pilot who grudgingly teaches a class to stop them from being killed. But they all have personalities that shine through that helps you to overlook the stereotypical roles they play. Jorgen is ultimately a good leader, who, like Spin, let’s his guard down.
The great contradiction of my life. I would never be worth anything unless I could prove myself – but I couldn’t prove myself because nobody would give me the chance.
M-Bot – a conscious and talking ship – adds an element of humour to an otherwise grave situation by commenting on humanity at irrelevant times. His role never quite made sense to me, but he plays an important role in helping Spin become the pilot she is destined to be.
The plot is gripping and fast-paced. The majority is made up of Spin and her classmates training, but there is danger, explosions and fights scattered throughout from the very beginning. Just because they are cadets doesn’t mean they are safe and it makes for a compelling read. The story itself is engaging, with enough mystery about the enemy (and allies) that nothing is predictable.
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the odd snippets told from another view point. I wasn’t certain what they added other than a convenient information-dump for the reader.
When the fight becomes serious, I couldn’t put the book down. That moment when breathing results in a squeal because you’re so invested in what is happening? That was me! Characters were given the chance to be heroes but perhaps more importantly, they got to show what their team-work could do.
This book is full of bravery and stubbornness; friendship and loyalty; trust and dedication. The characters are at a cusp in their lives where they are deciding who they want to be and the choices they make are the type you want to inspire to.
If you’re looking for an engaging read, I recommend this!