Updated: Oct 28
This question I asked myself so many times.
But I live under a rock and had only heard of Brandon Sanderson earlier this year since his EPIC $41.7 million Kickstarter.
Luckily, I wasn't as late to the game as I'd thought. "Skyward", the first book in the sci-fi series The Skyward, was only released in November 2018. (It's not like Lord of the Rings - which I also haven't read yet! Lol.)
I already had high expectations from this book being that everyone I knew who had already read it was raving about it, as well as I had just recently read and LOVED three of Sanderson's more obscure work.
But I am pleased to say, despite my high expectations, Mr. Sanderson did not disappoint.
Skyward: Claim the Stars by Brandon Sanderson
Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what's left of the human race.
Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's - a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa's chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.
No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, making Spensa's world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .
(Gotta say it really bums me out when anything starts with a death - looking at you, Pixar lol, but that's my personal preference and the event certainly drives the rest of the story. 😅)
The first thing I'd like to commend is the author's impressive grasp of a teenage girl's point of view. In the past, when I've read women as written by men, it never fails to make me cringe. But somehow, Sanderson (and his editors, I suppose) have captured the essence of a headstrong, rebellious, strong-willed teenager in Spensa. I immediately empathized with her character's struggles and the authenticity of her personality. Even the romantic aspects of her relationships are very well depicted.
So there's no romance in this book, though there is a hint of enemies-to-lovers, which may develop in further books. But I'm always the type to find anything even remotely swoony where there's possibly nothing at all. (Lol.) Having said that, there are some fantastic "enemies-to-allies" and "found family" tropes in this book. The outcast girl that's out to avenge her father's name.
I already knew this but Sanderson's writing style always sucks me in right from the start. It's fast-paced and very easy to read (my favorites!) The plot flows well and the world-building is excellent. Even the pages of diagrams, maps, and aircraft schematics get you in the mood to visualize this amazing world that the author has created.
Side note: the action and realism of the aircraft maneuvers are so authentic, even I felt dizzy with the G-forces that the author describes. You are definitely right there where the action is.
I absolutely love the humor in the book and I enjoyed the colorful characters introduced in the story, especially Doomslug and the snarky AI spaceship M-bot. In particular, it was truly fascinating to watch the relationship between Spensa and M-bot evolve, highlighting that we make our own choices in life. Every character's back story is intriguing and you really understand their reasons for being why they are.
Cowardice is a major theme in the book and exploring the contrast between bravery and cowardice. Are they the same? Maybe. There's also the theme of having the determination to fight for your dreams, against the odds, against people you hate, against people you trust, and even against yourself.
The end of the book leaves fantastic questions that you will definitely be eager to get into with the next books of the series.
The latter third of the book is so exciting, I could barely put the book down!
I almost don't even mind the sudden POV switches (read: trad books get away with anything haha) and the minor technical inaccuracies in the aerodynamics/orbital mechanics.
This is a fully AWESOME, thrilling, compelling, well-written sci-fi action adventure that will keep you turning those pages. Definitely recommended for sci-fi (or any genre book!) readers of all ages.
"Skyward" is Book 1 of a 3-book completed series.
So to finish: Why haven't you read Brandon Sanderson's fantastic young adult sci-fi book Skyward yet?
Or have you? 🥰📖 Let us know in the comments! Happy reading!
This article was written by S. R. Breaker.
S. R. Breaker is a USA Today Bestselling Author of non-stop action adventure, offbeat YA/NA fantasy romance books. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and two kids. Suburban mum by day and author by night, she loves to live vicariously through her characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous she writes them. Visit her epic worlds in books.