Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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36642458. sy475 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 flight 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 her abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa’s chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim to 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…

4.5 Stars

Welcome to the final frontier of humanity. Underneath a canopy of debris lies a barren planet known as Detritus. Detritus plays home to the last pockets of human civilization who live in caverns beneath the surface after crash landing generations prior. Above, a mysterious race known as the Krell wage a war in the skies. Survival seems pretty darn bleak.

Enter a badass protagonist and you’ve got the makings of a high speed, action packed space epic.

Basically Top Gun in space, Skyward is an edge-of-your-seat adventure which literally blasts us off to flight school to study aerial combat. If you think fighter pilots are cool just wait till you’re hurtling through the Danger Zone that is Detritus, dogfighting hordes of Krell. And if you think that space battles are boring? Well, prepare to be blown away.

First thing’s first, let’s clear up any misconceptions…

A bad habit that both science fiction and fantasy tend to fall into is the info dump. You know, when the writer basically thrusts a whole ton of dense backstory or world building at the reader in one hit. That is so not the case with Skyward. The fight scenes are fast paced, well researched and gripping. Trust me when I say there’s no way you’ll be bored. And the world is revealed to us gently. Sanderson gives us the chance to explore Detritus with the characters, peeling back the layers piece by piece and essentially creating this air of mystery. Also, there are no ray guns, lightsabers, evil robots or alien abductions. The plot is plausible and the science is pretty grounded in reality.

What I’m getting at here is please don’t let science fiction as  a genre put you off what is an inspiring coming-of-age story.

Speaking of world building – let’s talk about Detritus itself because man, I was 110% on-board. Like I said before, Skyward introduces a world where the last humans are literally stuck on an alien planet, under near-constant attack from the Krell. But that’s not all; you also have the threat of a debris fall from the rubble belt. Not only is the rubble belt seriously cool but it has the habit of plummeting down to the surface which the Krell use as a device to attack. All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t last five minutes on Detritus and Brandon Sanderson is a master at creating vivid landscapes with fascinating systems.

But again, at Skyward’s heart is a coming-of-age story with a determined, outcast protagonist Spensa [call sign: Spin]. Spensa has grown up in the shadow of cowardice which has left her with a fiery attitude and a thirst to prove herself. Despite her father’s “defect”, she dreams of being a fighter pilot and will do whatever it takes to get into flight school. Her character arc is ridden with rivals, discrimination and plenty of setbacks that shake her values, forcing her to re-evaluate her relationship with her father and the meaning of bravery. Speaking of themes; Sanderson also touches on the idea of a teamwork. Being alienated from her society, Spensa is a bit of a loner and it made for some interesting interactions and shenanigans once she had to learn to rely on her flight squad.

Then there’s the Skyward Flight itself, aka only the best fight squad ever. I’m not going to give too much away in terms of these characters. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that Skyward Flight is epic – be prepared because you’re going to be swept in, becoming part of the team. And there’s even hints at a slow burn romance to come! That and there might be a certain AI who will steal your heart and may or may not have an obsession with mushrooms…

Basically if Top Gun in space doesn’t sell it to you then I don’t know what will. I mean #enoughsaid right? Prepare be caking on the concealer because Skyward will have you up reading long into the night with its twists, turns and intense edge-of-your-seat dogfights. High impact and surprisingly inspirational, Skyward is a breathtaking space opera that needs to be on your TBR. I highly recommend it because Starflight’s November release cannot come soon enough.



10 thoughts on “Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

  1. Wow great review Alex — I love your writing. This has been on my TBR for ages, so glad to hear great things about it. I have only read 1 book by Brandon Sanderson, and am not surprised to hear the world-building in this book was fantastic. I think I might like this book based on the aspects you’ve touched upon here like teamwork, I need to get to it before the sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Carly! That means a lot because I was procrastinating over this review for days. Sometimes the review just pours out in a big ol’ vomit of words and other times it feels a lot harder to put into words just how awesome a book is. This review was 100% the latter! I must have re-worked hundreds of times!

      But you should definitely put Skyward on your TBR! It’s EPIC! I was always really intimidated by Brandon Sanderson’s books and the hype so this is actually the first book of his I’ve read and all I can say is that what a waste! I’ve been missing out on so much! For a science fiction novel it’s super easy to navigate and the characters are so funny and relatable. They’re banter had me in tears. Especially between Spensa and a certain Flight Leader… 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I should really finish Brandon Sanderon’s Mistborn series so I can start on his other books – I remember LOVING the first book in the trilogy! It’ll be interesting to see his take on science fiction, which is not a genre that I read that often 🤔 From what you’ve mentioned though, he does a BRILLIANT job!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mistborn is high on my TBR but alas – I have to wait for next year to read it. LORD KNOWS I DON”T NEED ANY MORE SERIES TO DISTRACT FROM MY 2019 TBR!!! Even though we are 5 days into september and I’ve already thrown my TBR to the wind to read The Hating Game. As you do , right?

      I can’t scream enough about Skyward though! Even if you’re not super keen on sci-fi it’s well worth the read! No pointy ears or lightsabers here! [Can you tell I really hate Starwars???] ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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