SO I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. He is an auto-buy author for me, his Mistborn trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time, and I’m still on a bit of a high from Oathbringer last year. BUT this review was hard to write. Aaaand I put it off for quite awhile. My friend Eddy LOVED it and can’t understand why I am so hesitant. He had all the feels I was expecting to have….. but didn’t.
So. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t especially like it either. I think I was just expecting to be wowed like I normally am with Sanderson. He generally grabs you straight away and pulls you in and I didn’t really feel that with Skyward.
The space battles were really epic and I was on the edge of my seat – you just never quite know where he’s going to take you! It reminded me a little of Ender’s Game or Battlestar Galactica with the fate of humanity desperately clinging to survival, facing scarce resources and constant attacks from a more powerful enemy.
Perhaps I spent too much of the book focused on the tropes – I really tried to move past it but following the same old patterns is something I don’t expect from Sanderson. Maybe my expectations were too high? It is a good story but I just found it lacking something for me.
Spensa is an interesting character whose growth throughout the story is our main focus. She has a giant chip on her shoulder due to her father being labeled a coward who was her hero and so she barrels through life trying to prove everyone wrong. Having just seen Captain Marvel before reading this, Spensa reminded me a lot of Carol Danvers. She always gets back up and doesn’t back down. I also really liked that Spensa didn’t follow a love interest, it was refreshing to just focus on the story and Spensa’s growth as a person instead.
I know others have had complaints about the lack of female to female relationships in Sanderson’s books. But I hadn’t noticed nor did I find it to be a big deal. In Skyward Spensa builds her relationships with the others in her flight group slowly but naturally. None of them are perfect but as they start to fit together as a team I enjoyed how their loyalty to each other built gradually. Spensa never needs to set out to prove her worth because she is a woman – yay.
Death is a pretty big theme in Skyward and Sanderson portrays some very real emotions and reactions through Spensa and the flight team. For a YA I found this a little surprising but interesting how each character experiences death. Sanderson always balances his novels with a little humor which he shows through the AI M-Bot – his obsession with mushrooms made me laugh out loud.
About a girl and her starship Skyward is a good novel of Sanderson’s to start with. The length will appeal to a lot of people who may find others a little intimidating (ahem looking at you Oathbringer). I also love how Sanderson always sets up for a sequel but also wrapped up most of the storyline within the novel.
Let me know in the comments below how you found Skyward. Did you love it? Or have some of the same feelings I did?