I received an ARC from Gollancz, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Skyward #1
Release date : 6/11/2018
Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien star-fighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realises this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.
OK confession time this is only my second Sanderson book. Despite having many of his novels gracing my shelves, I had until this book only read The Rithmatist. I have similar feelings to this work as I did to The Rithmatist, and that is that Sanderson’s world-building is what makes his books great, over his characters and plot-lines.
I really did enjoy this book and the world that Sanderson develops over the course of this book is fascinating. On the one hand this book is a bit of a slow burn introducing us layer by layer, bit by bit to the aptly named Detritus, the Defiant, it’s culture, history, politics and people. While on the other hand we are treated to fast paced action scenes, filled with lively and interesting characters, witty AI chatter and some gut wrenching scenes that pull at your heart strings. Both of these are seamlessly woven together to create a fantastic novel that keeps the reader engaged.
Spensa (Callsign: Spin) is a great character, she is a fantastic combination of projecting hardheaded cockiness while internally she is questioning her entire self. This made her a really personable character. I really enjoyed the narration from her perspective, her determination and hardheadedness as well as her moments of doubt and vulnerability again meshed nicely with the world-building. At first i did occasionally find moments when Spin’s constant anger was a little grating. However, real growth in characters is sometimes missing from some YA plots with them not actually learning anything out of all their struggle, this is very much not the case for Spin. She truly grows and develops as a character, she really learns something during her story arc, which makes her a fantastic MC. The introduction of M-Bot, with its AI sassy backtalk added great light moments into the plot and it became my favourite character. The host of side characters that Spin encounters along the way are all fantastic and individual, they all have great depth to them that we again slowly encounter throughout the book in a very natural and fluid way. All in all a great team to read about.
My only gripe is at the very very end (as in the epilogue) it seems like it is both trying to to tie everything up in a neat little bow (a bit of a YA trope that really doesn’t need to happen anymore) while still strangely being very much setting up for the book in the series which just left me a little unsatisfied. This is not a major gripe I just wish Sanderson had let his late plot reveals hit and left me itching for the next book to find out more.
If your are a Sci-fi reader this is a nicely thought out YA Sci-fi, that is will capture your imagination. If you are not a Typical Sci-fi reader I would say give this one a try, it is most definitely Sci-fi from a fantasy author and is a great introduction into the genre for someone that hasn’t explored it before. It is a fun, fascinating and worthy read and I will be continuing with the series.
Have your read Skyward? Who was your favourite character? (It was Doomslug wasn’t it? Admit it you loved the Slug as much as I did).