Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Gollancz (November 6th 2018)
Genre: young adult; science-fiction
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Rating: 5/5 🍑
ARC provided by the publisher.
It might come as a surprise to some, but I have been a fan of Sanderson for roughly ten years now & the moment I learned about his new young adult novel, I knew I have to read it. Because I already had a pretty good idea of what I can expect: incredibly real & lovable characters, interesting worldbuilding, extraordinary plot twists, and most importantly – an emotional roller-coaster.
I got all that and more.
Skyward takes place in the future and in space, on a planet called Detritus, where the remains of the humankind are basically trapped and caught in an neverending war with the Krell. That means they are always in need of more pilots and so almost every young person tries to become one. Like our main character Spensa and all the friends she will make in the flight school.
Spensa is special and somewhat famous, because her late father – also a pilot – turned out to be a coward in the most important battle in the planet’s history. So she has all those prejudices to overcome, when trying to navigate the world & relationships with other people, but at the same time – she has to fight the ideas about herself she believed to be true her whole life. She’s a wonderfully complicated character and her journey from a headless girl who only thinks about flying and hero stories to an actual hero is beautiful & heartbreaking.
Like I mentioned, Skyward has a vast array of characters & Sanderson’s extraordinary skills in crafting them mean that you will fall in love with every single one. This is truly the found family trope done in the best way! Even the people who are merely support characters, are fleshed out, have background stories, all those little details that will catch your attention. But this is still very much a Sanderson Book™ and you have to remember that at its core this is a story about war (& survival & hope), so you need to be emotionally prepared to deal with the consequences of that. You know, just a little heads-up…
Skyward is a fast-paced novel, full of action & mind-boggling turns of events, despite technically taking place in a flight school. There are flying battles with aliens, ancient ships that talk & gather mushrooms, a heroin who gives (totally unprompted!!) the most dramatic speeches anyone has ever heard, and beneath this all: love and faith. And that’s what binds the whole story together and what makes the ending even possible at all.
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.
Do you enjoy science-fiction novels? Or maybe you’re more of a fantasy fan?
What are your favourite things about those tropes?
And have you read Skyward or any other book by Sanderson?
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