What’s it About?
From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, the Stormlight Archive, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war with an alien race called the Krell.
Spensa’s world has been under alien attack for decades. Pilots are the heroes of what’s left of humanity, and becoming a pilot is Spensa’s dream. Ever since she was a little girl, Spensa has dreamed of soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her father’s legacy stands in the way—he was a pilot who was killed for desertion years ago, branding Spensa the daughter of a coward, and making her chances of attending flight school slim to none.
Spensa is still determined to fly—even if it means she must be as resilient in the face of long odds as humanity itself has had to be against the alien threat. And her accidental discovery in a long forgotten cavern might just grant her a way to claim the stars.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Final Rating: 5 Stars
Why didn’t I read this earlier?
Skyward is a YA sci-fi novel in a world where humans have been at war with an alien race called Krell (it stands for something too long for me to remember). Humans live underground in caverns and only rarely go to the surface because it’s dangerous— except for pilots. Well, it’s dangerous for pilots too, but they take to the air often to fight the Krell.
Spensa (Spin) Nightshade is a 17-year-old whose father had been labeled a coward for deserting his team. Even before her father’s death, Spensa had wanted to be a pilot. But, her father being “the coward of Alta” did not help her get into the military academy.
“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”
But, she’s determined to go past her dad’s bad reputation and become the hero she always thought her dad to be.
“Sometimes, the answers we need don’t match the questions we’re asking.” He looked up at me. “And sometimes, the coward makes fools of wiser men.”
Skyward was fast-paced, funny, and engaging. I truly loved this book.
Sanderson is incredible at writing interesting and believable characters. Spensa is such an incredible character. One of my favorites of the year. She was determined, smart, brave, confident, and a fighter, both physically and mentally. I was rooting for her since page 1. I loved her.
I also loved her flight squad and the dynamic between them. They add so much life and hilarious scenes to the book. And they are such good friends to Spensa and other people they care about.
“Then [Hurl] sat up, holding out her fist. “Not cowards. No backing down. Brave until the end, right Spin? A pact.”
I met her fist with mine. “Brave to the end.”
And last but definitely not least: M-BOT. M-bot was such a good AI character. Literally the best. His character also brings up the question; what does it mean to be living? and it’s talked about multiple times throughout the book.
Also, let’s talk about how funny this book was. Seriously. How does an author make a book this funny, while also not being cringy and having serious scenes? I have no idea.
Probably because I’m not Brandon Sanderson.
Spensa’s story explores the idea of cowardice versus bravery, and what it means to be a hero. It was so interesting seeing that play out in this setting. I really liked how Spensa’s character development affected it.
“It has always seemed to me that a coward is a person who cares more about what people say than about what is right. Bravery isn’t about what people call you, Spensa. It’s about who you know yourself to be.”
Spensa wants to find out what really happened to her dad that day. When she does find it, well, stuff
. . . happens.
“We must not cower in the dark because we’re afraid of the spark within us. The answer is not to put out the spark, but to learn to control it.”
The story itself was fast-paced and heartbreaking at times. Spensa learns that being a pilot is a dangerous business. Not everyone survives.
Also, is that a slow-burn romance playing out I see? Maybe. Maybe. All jokes aside, the romance is barely even present in the book but it sets up 2 characters for something in the future. And I can’t wait for it.
“You,” he said, “are amazing. Everything about my life has been planned out. Careful. It makes sense. I understand it. Then there’s you. You ignore my authority. You follow your feelings. You talk like some Valkyrie from a scudding ballad! I should hate you. And yet…” He squeezed my shoulder. “And yet, when you fly, you are amazing. You’re so determined, so skillful, so passionate. You’re a fire, Spin. When everyone else is calm, you’re a burning bonfire. Beautiful, like a newly forged blade.”
I felt a deep warmth rising inside me. A heat that I wasn’t prepared to feel.
“I don’t care about the past,” [He] said, meeting my eyes. “I don’t care if there’s a risk. I want you to fly with us—because I’m damn sure that we’re safer with you at our side than not. [Spoiler] I’ll take the chance.”
So again I’m asking; why didn’t I read this earlier?