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
YA reading is hard for me. When the main character is a teenage girl, it makes it even more 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.
Spensa – I probably will not go too much into Spensa. The above section really sums up my 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.
I love Sci-Fi. The last few books that I have read have been science fiction and I am really coming 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.
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?”