Skyward (Skyward #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Category: YA, Science Fiction
Publication Date: November 6th, 2018
Podcast Review: Episode 96

“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.”

Humans have been stick on the planet of Detritus for generations, hounded constantly by an enemy known only as the Krell. If humans become to populace in one area, the Krell wipe them out. No one remembers who the Krell are or what their motivations are for fighting the humans but with the recent discovery of starships of their own, humans can now fight back.

Enter Spensa, a teenage girl whose father was killed in a fight against the Krell when she was a child and labeled a coward. This label has shaped her entire life. Her story is one of redeeming her father’s name and figuring out for herself what it means to be brave and what it means to be a coward.

As usual, Brandon Sanderson crafts a world that the reader can easily immerse themselves in and characters that are easy to get behind with numerous memorable moments. The theme of cowardice was a refreshing one because, while it is brought up a lot in SFF books, Skyward digs deep into it. Is it cowardice to back down from a fight you can’t win? Is it bravery to go headfirst into every single fight that presents itself? After her father’s death, her family is treated as outcasts in their society and so proving that she is not a coward and is worthy of piloting a starfighter is almost always in the forefront of her mind. 

Skyward’s only real flaw is that it is pretty predictable. Even from the prologue chapter, it is really easy to see what is coming which took away from the impact of each reveal as it came. Still, the character relationships were fantastic as always and there was great chemistry between all of them.

Greg’s Thoughts

It is a Brandon Sanderson book so you know that is already something that I will enjoy greatly! I loved getting to see him doing sci fi and switching his game up a little bit. The world building and plot still held very strong for me. The whole time I am just demanding, “who are the Krell?!” And the book held my interest all the way through. Interesting characters, emotional moments, and a robot who not only makes me laugh but makes me think as well. M-bot was a fantastic character that flipped my perception of the world to his view and made me think a lot more. I am looking forward to the rest of the series!

Dani’s Thoughts

Being able to see what was coming from such an early stage in the book really colored my overall opinion on it. With the exception of the very last reveal, I was able to see everything coming and so never got to feel that shock value.

And speaking of that ending reveal, I am actually really frustrated about it. 

Brandon Sanderson has always shown himself to be a master of both world-building and plot twists. The one plot twist that I did not see coming in Skyward was revealed entirely in exposition in the epilogue of the book. It wasn’t intertwined with the rest of the story in any way. It felt like it was just shoved in so there was some kind of answer and seemed like a cop out to me. 

Still, other than that, I absolutely cannot deny that I had a lot of fun reading the book. It is fast-paced and has characters (plus one AI) that were fun to read about and get behind.

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