Skyward

Book – Skyward

Author – Brandon Sanderson

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 starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes 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. – Goodreads Synopsis

 

Young Adult

YA reading is hard for me. When the main character is a teenage girl, it makes it even SkywardCropmore difficult for me to relate to the story. What bothers me about it? I’m not too fond on the tropes and the typecasting that YA has been doing in the past few years. I’ve read series like Hunger Games and Divergent and the main characters all seem to have the same basic outline. (I guess you could say that about multiple genres…) I see it in the genres that I enjoy myself, but for some reason, YA just rubs me the wrong way when it happens.

It also reminds me of a little book called “Stargirl” that I read in highschool. It’s always some girl that is a bit quirky, and has absolutely no shame or care about what people think about them. They are totally “unique”. Now I’m not saying that is a bad thing, I believe it is totally appropriate and it is doing some good by the people who read it. It’s just not for me.

Like Divergent, there is always something that sets the main character apart. They have this special trait or have been in some special circumstance that sets them apart from all of the other girls in the story. Sort of like how Spensa has “The Defect“. (I get that you need these things to make a story. Who wants to read a story about a boring character that can accomplish nothing?)

Does Spensa from Skyward share typcial YA qualities? Yes. Does she also have similarities to some of Sanderson’s other female characters? Yes. Do I still love her all the same? Yes.

Characters

Spensa – I probably will not go too much into Spensa. The above section really sums up skyward-trailer-thumbmy feelings on female YA characters. I would not have said as much if Spensa did not pull those same feelings to mind. I love Spensa’s determination, and I really enjoyed seeing her grow as a character. I am also very glad that there was none of that cringe-worthy teenage romance over the pants mouth only stuff.

Cobb – Cobb get’s a specific call out from me. I have always had a personal affirmation to the mentor type characters. Cobb was written well as a good leader and a good teacher. I’ve been thinking a lot about Jaime Escalante lately (Stand and Deliver), and Cobb has some of that inspirational leadership baked inside of him.

Jerkface – I initially cringed when this guy was named jerkface, (Yes it felt too YA for me.) but he actually ends up being a surprisingly deep character. He was well written and has his good moments. I am glad that Jerkface was not killed off.

M-Bot – “Hello. Would you like to destroy some evil today?” M-Bot reminded me of Nightblood in some ways. Maybe it is just because it is another of Brandon Sanderon’s inanimate animate object character.  M-Bot’s quirkiness just reminded me too much of Nightblood to fully enjoy him it.

Sci-Fi

I love Sci-Fi. The last few books that I have read have been science fiction and I am really CmlTCU5coming to terms with how much that I love it. I have mentioned before that I am a super nerd, but I really just can’t help it. Starfighters are awesome. Technology is awesome. I’m not even sure why I read anything else anymore.

 

Spoiler Section

It would not be a Brandon Sanderon review without me including some type of spoiler section. Why? Because Sanderson is a master at foreshadowing, twists, and secret information payoffs. (If that makes sense.)

One of my favorite reveals is that the human population is essentially in a prison. The whole point of the war that has been going on throughout the entire novel is just to keep the humans busy. That is a satisfying reveal. Sanderon leaves little trails of bait throughout the novel that should be making the reader go: “Hey! What’s really going on here…You can’t fool me Mr. Sanderson!” (Well…if the reader’s internal monologue is actually John Mulaney…)

I also really enjoyed that Sanderson was not afraid to kill characters off. I worry sometimes about groups of characters working out to well. I like the realistic gritty stuff. Like death. (I swear I’m not that crazy…)

The ending did feel mostly like a cliffhanger though. I was expecting Skyward to be plotted more similarly to Mistborn, but it is clear that this was written to have equals follow after it. That is a love/hate relationship with me. I hate that I have to wait, but I love slow reveals.

Should I buy it?

Yeah. You should definitely check this out. I can not recommend Brandon Sanderson enough.

 

“People need stories, child. They bring us hope, and that hope is real. If that’s the case, what does it matter whether people in them actually lived?” 

 

LIFE OF CHAZ (1)

 

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Skyward

  1. I’ve often wondered about men (younger, older, whatever age) trying to read a book with a teen girl protagonist. Yeah, I bet it is hard to relate, but if the writer is good enough (like Sanderson), I guess after awhile you start following the protag around in the story. Thanks for reviewing this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A lot of YA protags are written on the bland side so the reader can easily project themselves onto the main character. These books are intended for a young female audience so obviously it doesn’t work as well for readers outside that demographic.

    But it’s not as if there aren’t lots of bland male protags in that are correspondingly directed at male readers for the same reason.

    Characters with more personality and opinions tend to have more diverse fans–but on the other hand any reader that doesn’t like that particular personality will hate the book because of it. (e.g. Holden Caulfield from A Catcher in the Rye has a distinctive voice and personality, but I found him irritating as hell.)

    Ultimately, somebody is going to be alienated for some reason. You just don’t happen to be the target audience on this one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No one can please everyone.we writers are always being told to discover our target reader and wrote for them. If Sanderson has targetted his book at YA readers, we shouldn’t criticise him for writing the kind of character those youngsters want.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. People are still free to have their opinion regardless. I honestly think it’s more on the writer to accept they can’t please everyone and learn to ignore the criticism that isn’t relevant to the goal they set for the story.

        Readers should be free to criticize as they like, but if they want to keep a fair and nuanced approach to their criticism they should calibrate their expectations. I just wanted to point out that’s it’s not an inherently “bad” or “good” thing to have a bland protagonist, nor is it exclusively a feature of female protagonists.

        But readers are also free to state their impressions in reviews because it provides guidance to other readers on whether or not they might like the book. In that way, this review is useful even if it doesn’t wholly take the book on its own terms or in its own context.

        Because YA is a pretty broad genre and some of these books do appeal to an older male audience, the reviewer is rightfully pointing out that it is a struggle for him (and therefore possible for readers like him) to relate to the protagonist. This is useful knowledge for anyone considering reading the book.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m reading Warbreaker right now and thought the same thing about the sword though M-Bot came first for me and he also had Doomslug. So my preference is more to him but that might change once I finish Warbreaker.
    I loved Skyflight – convinced me to read more Sanderson after all- but I do understand what you’re saying about most of the protagonists. Glad you enjoyed the book!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. YA definitely suffers from a rather…tiring use of traits and tropes. It is true, as you said, you don’t want to read about a boring character. …But it would be nice if the main character is special because s/he’s ordinary but gets thrown into an extraordinary situation.

    I may give this book a look!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such a great and insightful review!
    I don’t read many YA books, but i’ve been curious about this one, cuz i love sci fi / space opera and read Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy which was pretty good.
    Depending on the subject i relate to teen girl characters in different ways, but often find myself feeling kinda maternal toward them. Haha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting review. I’ve not read Sanderson yet, but I might try this one eventually. I’m generally not drawn to YA fiction overall (except for the Harry Potter series of course), but a good story is a good story, and you do write very positively about Sanderson’s works. I also very much enjoy science fiction, so this one might deserve a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I actually own Stargirl and the sequel Love, Stargirl. I read them when I was twelve and have cherished the stories every since. Stargirl is the Queen of outcasts and not having two fs to give about being ostracized. (From what I remember) The best thing about her is that she doesn’t act like her differences are a burden, she’s usually bright and optimistic. She accepts herself to a larger extent than more recent female protagonists in YA.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not really interested in reading the book, after all, I AM an old woman, but I loved your review. It was articulate and written well. I liked the direct approach you took with the reader, giving enough information about yourself and likes and dislikes, but did not stray away from your theme/thread. WELL DONE!

    Like

  9. One of my best friends is a huge Sanderson fan and has been bugging me to read his books. This might be a low effort book i need to finally do it.

    Great review Chaz. Your give enough info and critique to bring out a high level of interest in the books you review.

    I am a nerd, too. Huge nerd. And space combat is among my favs, hence why i play X-Wing and dream about GW re-releasing Battle Fleet Gothic.

    well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice work, Chaz! I’m looking forward to reading this book – eventually. My wife is a fan of Brandon Sanderson, and she’s constantly trying to get me to read “The Way of Kings.” I will eventually. My TBR list is pretty long, and I’m reading like 10 books right now, and I’m a slow reader. I keep teasing her that if I were to start that book now, it would take me 12 years to finish it.

    Skyward sounds interesting. The fact that the main character is a girl doesn’t bother me, unless she turns out to be a whiny, entitled brat, then it wouldn’t matter if it’s a girl or a boy character. Know what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As I get older I too struggle with relating to characters from my favorite genres, YA and fantasy. YA because I am in my mid 20s and counting, and fantasy because it is becoming harder and harder to pretend to be an elf. Skyward was truly amazing, though. Your post nailed it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s