#RRSciFiMonth Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson


Skyward is my first book review as part of the Sci-fi month being hosted by One More and  Dear Geek Place (check out the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag to keep uptodate) and I’m so pleased to be able to report that I loved it.  Was this a surprise?  Maybe it shouldn’t be, I’ve read a few of Sanderson’s books already and loved them all but science fiction doesn’t sit quite as easily within my comfort zone so I usually pick up such books with a sense of trepidation – then add in the fact that this is a space opera and it’s enough to make me doubly nervous.  If you’re harbouring such doubts I think I can reassure you.  This is, in my opinion, storytelling at it’s best and I couldn’t put it down – just one more chapter, just one more page – until I found myself in the early hours of the morning still devouring the words.  Skyward has not only given me a whole new confidence in picking up more from this genre but has also renewed my slightly failing joy of YA.

Where to begin with the overwhelming praise!  Well, the story gets off to a quick start.  We meet a young Spensa on an outing through underground caves on the planet Detritus, named for all the junk that circulates in space above it blocking out the stars.  Her father is taking her to the top, something Spensa has longed for, and the two of them share a moment of pure joy when they witness the stars above through a momentary gap in all the debris.  The joy is about to be short lived.  Spensa’s father, being a pilot, is about to be called into battle where he is shot down, not as a hero but by one of his own colleagues, and then branded a coward for fleeing the scene.

As you may imagine Spensa spends the next few years being treated terribly by those around her (apart from her family).  She refuses to believe the story of her father’s cowardice and longs to clear his name, she is also desperate to become a pilot and studies hard for the final entry examination.

Now, I don’t want to give away too much here.  Suffice to say that Spensa is going to have constant obstructions to achieving her dreams.  She’s going to make friends where she least expects and she’s going to grow up – and it’s downright entertaining watching her struggle and come up with creative ways of jumping the obstacles in her path.

The world building here is just wonderful.  FIrstly you have the planet Detritus.  The only surviving humans live here – scattered beneath the crust in a bid to keep the aliens that circulate the skies above detecting their whereabouts.  As the years have passed the humans have become more ambitious – building ships to try to protect themselves but their know-how is woefully inadequate and the aliens outnumber them.  Attacks usually take place when a large chunk of waste finally falls through the atmosphere and creates a gap for fighter ships to enter.  We gradually learn of the way in which the survivors of humanity came to the planet and this is delivered in snippets of story telling delivered in various forms as the story progresses.  The way this world is set up is really something else, the delivery is so smooth that you never feel like you’re doing anything more than reading a highly entertaining story.  No info dumps.  No huge chunks of information, no history lessons that are difficult to digest.  It’s all blissfully incorporated into the story and delivered with perfect timing.

The pace is light speed.  There’s plenty going on and a number of battle scenes that had me sat on the edge of my seat.  This is a gripping ride.  Fight sequences can be a bit hit and miss for me but this one translates to the page so well that I had no problem visualising it and it’s good.  It’s real good.

Finally, the characters.  I loved Spensa.  She makes mistakes, she totally goes off on the wrong number, she also has her own prejudices and assumptions and quite often, (very often) she is woefully misguided and wrong and this is what makes her brilliant to read.  Thankfully, she can be humble when she’s wrong.  Her world is sometimes shaken up.  She grieves.  She spends a lot of time being alone but she also manages to turn things around and make friends.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Spensa is a prime example of that.  And on top of that she has her own secret friend who takes this whole story up to the next level – I loved, loved, this element of the story.  There are also, of course, a good number of supporting characters who all play such crucial roles.  And, I’m so pleased that at this point we didn’t go down the route of romance – I’m not saying that there won’t be something in future, who knows, but no instalove here. It’s a woo hoo moment.

I think my favourite part of this was watching Spensa grow, enjoying her time at flight school and loving the time she spends in the caves that become her temporary home.

I can see where the comparisons to Top Gun are coming from but for me this felt more like Star Wars in a number of ways – absolutely none of which I’m going to go into here.  Just read it yourself and prepare to be wowed.  Well, okay, I would just mention a great female lead, exciting battles in space, and on top of that – well, let me say that ‘the force is strong with this young Jedi’.  Read it – and weep – because Sanderson undoubtedly knows how to play with the Heartsichord.  There are sacrifices – but, more than that there is hope.

I loved it.  I highly recommend it.  I can’t wait for more.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


25 Responses to “#RRSciFiMonth Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson”

  1. jennifertarheelreader

    Wow, comparisons to Top Gun and Star Wars – that sounds amazing. Wonderful review, Lynn, and I am adding it to my wishlist.

  2. lucindablogs

    I’ve just finished reading this and I loved it too! Fantastic review!

  3. Tammy

    This sounds amazing!! I love the idea of a planet being surrounded by junk, so cool. Thanks for your review, I don’t know why this wasn’t on my radar😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really loved it – I hope you get chance to give it a go.
      Lynn 😀

  4. waytoofantasy

    I didn’t even know he wrote this until reviews started popping up–he always seems to have several things going at once lol.
    Great review. This one sounds fun, been hearing great things about it.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know what you mean – sometimes I get almost a bit dazzled by all the series that he has going on and this seemed to be the start of something new so I though I’d jump on board early doors.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Sanderson is well-known as a fantasy author and although I have only read a couple of his short stories I can say he moves well within the genre (and one of these days I will start one of his full-length novels/series/monumental works…), so I’m quite curious to read this story: apart from my curiosity about Sanderson himself, the world he creates here sounds very intriguing.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      He’s a very impressive author = I’ve read a few of his books and not been disappointed once. This one was really good – I loved it and couldn’t put it down.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Glad to hear you loved this one!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m always cautious with sci-fi but this just really worked well for me
      Lynn 😀

  7. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I just got an audiobook review copy today, I can’t wait to start my listen!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I can’t wait to see what you think of it. I loved it but then I don’t read much sci fi so it will be good to see what you make of it.
      Lynn 😀

  8. sjhigbee

    You get the most marvellous books, Lynn. Needless to say – I’m drooling with envy over this one… And thank you for a fabulous review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I must admit I was so happy to receive a copy of this one – I’m always delighted and surprised when I’m approved – the novelty hasn’t worn off at all.
      And, this was so good, I think you’d love it too.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Jen | Book Den

    OK, now I absolutely need this book.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ohh, I loved it – I really did. I want everyone to read it and love it – of course we all have horrendous TBRs and there’s always the possibility that you won’t love it quite as much – very remote possibility though! Lynn 😀

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  14. Joseph

    I’ve just started reading this book. I purchased it on-line after reading all the good reviews. I’m into the first few pages and I think I’m already liking it!

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