- Age Range: 12 - 17 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Series: Skyward (Book 1)
- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (October 8, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399555803
- ISBN-13: 978-0399555800
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Skyward Paperback – October 8, 2019
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Praise for Skyward:
A New York Times Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
"Reading this book is like standing inside a video game: all action and movement. Sanderson’s aerial dogfights are so masterful."—Booklist
Praise for Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series:
#1 New York Times Bestselling Series
"Another win for Sanderson . . . he's simply a brilliant writer. Period."—Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Name of the Wind
"Compelling. . . . Sanderson uses plot twists that he teases enough for readers to pick up on to distract from the more dramatic reveals he has in store."—AV Club
About the Author
Brandon Sanderson is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Reckoners series: Steelheart, Firefight, Calamity, and the e-original Mitosis; Skyward; Starsight; and the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. He was also chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. His books have been published in more than twenty-five languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Brandon lives and writes in Utah. To learn more about him and his books, visit him at brandonsanderson.com or follow @BrandSanderson on Twitter and Instagram.
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POV: First person.
BLUSH FACTOR: No worries here. Suitable for all ages and genders.
STAND-ALONE OR CLIFFHANGER ENDING? The main story of this volume is complete. It is clear, though, by the ending that more, much more is to come. In other words, if you read to the end of this novel, you will crave for the next.
ADVENTURE: YES, with exclamation points.
THE WRITING AND EDITING is professional throughout. I found it nearly difficult to take a break while racing through this tale. Having stated the positives, I need to balance it with my single concern that, other than the hero, or heroine, being female, much of this story did seem just a touch too familiar. Oh, and I would like to have seen more of the weak points of young Spensa, to balance her character.
‘…About ten minutes before the start of class, three young men walked in together. They were obviously friends, as they were talking and joking softly. I didn’t recognize two of them, but the one at the front—with brown skin and short curly hair—was distinctive in a kind of baby-faced, pretty-boy way.
The guy from the test, I realized. The son of a First Citizen who had gotten free admission.
Great. We were saddled with a useless aristocrat, someone who lived in the lowest—and safest—of the Defiant caverns. He’d be in flight school not because of any skill or aptitude, but because he wanted to sport a cadet’s pin and feel important. Judging by the way the other two talked, I instantly pegged them as his cronies. I’d have bet anything that all of them had gotten in without taking the test, so our cadet group had three people who didn’t deserve to be there.
The tall, baby-faced guy walked to the center of the ring of seats. How could a boy have a face that was so extremely punchable? He cleared his throat, then clapped his hands sharply. “Get to attention, cadets! Is this how we want to present ourselves to our instructor? Lounging about, making idle chitchat? Line up!”
Kimmalyn, bless her stars, jumped up and stood at a kind of sloppy attention. His two cronies stepped over and fell into step as well, doing a much better impression of real soldiers. Everyone else just kind of
looked at him.
“What gives you the right to order us around?” asked Hudiya, the athletic girl from my own cavern. She stood leaning against the wall, arms folded.
“I want to make a good first impression on the instructor, cadet,” Jerkface said. “Think how inspiring it will be when he comes in to find us all waiting at attention.”
Hudiya snorted. “Inspiring? We’d look like a bunch of suck-ups.”
Jerkface ignored her, instead inspecting his line of three cadets. He shook his head at Kimmalyn, whose version of “attention” involved standing on the tips of her toes and saluting with both hands. It was ridiculous.
“You look ridiculous,” Jerkface said to her.
The girl’s face fell, and she slumped. I felt an immediate burst of protective anger. I mean…he was right, but he didn’t have to belt it out like that.
“Who taught you to stand at attention?” Jerkface asked. “You’re going to embarrass us. I can’t have that.”
“Yeah,” I said. “She’d be stealing…’
Sanderson, Brandon. Skyward (pp. 62-63). Random House Children's Books. Kindle Edition.
Unlike so many other Kindle books, the Audible Edition is not discounted. In fact, it is quite spendy, so I did not purchase the audiobook yet.
Four stars out of five.
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Next, the story: it’s a fun yet oddly alien story but it comes across not quite alien. It’s a great story full of mystery while engaging you in tense action.
The characters were well done and you saw more character development in main character than you would normally notice in a Sanderson Book. He is getting better the more he writes and this one showed.
The problem I have with Sanderson might not really be a problem. I hesitate to start a book of his because it is too good. Literally. I know when I start to read something of his that it will be soooo hard to read other authors afterward. This book is a good example: I just finished reading it. Do I want to jump into another book and continue reading something else? No. I want the next part of this story, or anything Sanderson really, cause it’s just good writing.
Sigh, I just have a love hate relationship with Brandon’s books. I think half the reason Patrick Rothfuss doesn’t finish his series is he is taking notes from Robert Jordan: he wants Brandon to finish it for him.
Anyway, great story. Fun! Loved it overall.
This story focuses on a teenage girl, Spensa- nicknamed Spin. Her father was a pilot, and she adored him. They BOTH loved the stars. She had also loved stories of old Earth heroes, and due to an incident with her Father being branded a coward - she has turned out a bit hostile and bloodthirsty as a defense.
Spensa's dream is to fly as a pilot- like her dad. But the entire community is working against her, to make sure she doesn't turn out like her dad. When Spensa finds a strange wrecked ship on the surface, she decides to try and fix the ship- hoping to fly any way she can.
At every turn, Spensa faces setbacks, and horrible people who will never let her live down what her father has done. She's become tough, and hardened by her life in the edges of society, and still- she fights on.
This book surprised me in so many ways. There were a lot of things I THOUGHT I had figured out, only to have things twist in another direction.
I quite loved this book, and I both love and hate that it is a trilogy, as I am dying to now read what happens next. It ends on a BIT of a cliffhanger...but still has enough of a resolution to not make me throw my Kindle in disgust.
Top international reviews
The room grew quiet. "All right....," Jerkface said. "Well, that was...descriptive."
The easiest, and only, five star I've given this year. This book was intelligently crafted, a genuine pleasure to read and almost felt like a cinematic experience because the writing was so damn good. After her father infamously broke rank at the Battle of Alta and retreated from his wingmates who were later forced to shoot him down, Spensa, or "Spin" as she's largely known in this book, has been branded as the daughter of a coward - a label she just can't shake off. So despite the fact she is determined to become a pilot herself, almost everyone who knows who she is wants to stand in her way; after all, who could trust her as their wingman when her father ditched his?
Proving she isn't a coward has become part of Spensa's identity and this is portrayed really intricately in this book. Spensa competes for flight school knowing that only the best of the best will qualify. Whilst Spensa is a very complex and well-crafted, character equal parts headstrong, confident and defiant as much as she is strange (in a good way!), resourceful and funny that isn't actually what made her stand out for me. What I liked the most about her character was that she actually isn't the best at all. None of the characters really are. They are each remarkably flawed, rather than being the heroic special girl we've come to expect, and I absolutely adored her personality.
As a matter of fact, all of the characters in this book are developed exceptionally well. Subtle nuances between Spensa and her flight teacher Cobb (who manages to wrangle her a spot in the school) and her flight leader Jorgen (not-so-affectionally named Jerkface) make this book really special. Each of the members of the flight are interesting, have strong personalities but most importantly are really memorable - a large cast like this can be hard to identify and relate to unless they're well-imagined and each of these characters absolutely is. I felt completely invested in each of their well-beings, spending my time torn between feeling anxious alongside Spensa that one of her crew wouldn't make it back from a mission, the stark reality of which was perfectly captured, and wanting to throttle them myself for them making her life difficult!
Now add to that a talking ship. When Spensa is forced to live in a forgotten cave after Ironsides, the leader of the school, despises her enough to prevent her from being able to stay in the same quarters as her crew, she stumbles across a wreckage in the form of a ship. A much better ship in fact than the ones her crew are used to, particularly as it can talk. M-Bot is an advanced, personality coded, ship with the biggest attitude of an AI I have ever seen; almost every interaction between M-Bot and Spensa is hilarious. Sanderson explores the potential for AI's to build memories, personal opinions and personalities in a fun and unique way.
Whilst all of that constitutes the necessary ingredients for a really great book, it's perfectly achieved thanks to Sanderson's frankly phenomenal writing. A relatively complex world filled with quite foreign concepts for some readers - flight school, alien lifeforms, artificial intelligences, the engineering behind ships and so on - are simplified just enough to make the book entirely palatable but not so far as to patronise or lessen the experience of the reader. Equally, and most notably for me, there are no conveniences within this book.
Often authors will lead you towards an upcoming death, leaving bread crumbs in their narrative for you to follow, so you know what's about to happen. Often they will tease you with a character death, but really you just KNOW the character won't be dead and despite being happy they're not, you're also pretty disappointed the author was so unoriginal. Often they leave gaping great plot holes big enough for YOU to see without even trying so God only knows how THEY missed them. Not so with Sanderson, he was utterly ahead of me every step of the way, expertly filling in potential holes, acting on his decisions regardless of whether it's going to hurt or not and not at all finding a convenient eagle for anyone to fly off on at every turn to save the day.
This is a wonderfully created novel bursting with genuinely likeable characters and a snarky, talking space ship. I honestly don't know what more you need.
"Just for that, I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!". "May a pox of unique human diseases - many of which cause an uncomfortable swelling - come upon you!". - MBot.
In the acknowledgments page talks about how he channelled his own passion and inner struggles into Spin's character. This really show in the writing. The artwork and sketches on the cover and between the chapters are amazing and add another level to the book.
At the beginning I was not sure about Spin as the main character I did find her a bit much giving her speeches of death, destruction and vengeance, but as the book and story carried on she continued to impress me by over coming every obstacle or smashing through every road block.
The book is great scifi, even though I would have liked a bit more action the great character development made up for that. Even the side characters are extremely well done. Everyone has the own strengths and flaws. The way they come together is amazing. Dispite the book being 500 + pages as soon as I finished I wanted more. Now that the gauntlet has been thrown down let's see how defiant these characters could become.
I also liked how the puzzle of exactly why a human enclave ended up on this shattered world was addressed and unravelled alongside Spensa’s adventures. I’m delighted to have acquired the Audible version of the sequel, which I’m looking forward to tucking into very shortly. Recommended for fans of coming of age space opera adventures.
This would have been equivalent to when you find a whole series on Netflix (or other such places) where you can easily binge it and it is so good that you do that: binge. I am super excited for the next episode of this series and I take heart from the fact that Sanderson is usually pretty good with not making his readers hang on ("book 3" anyone? ;) :p )
Sanderson had me laughing out loud (alone and in public), crying (luckily I was at home) and gasping in shock and actully shouting out loud (I was so immersed I looked around for others to be having the same reaction as me - being at home, alone, I of course didnt get one... not that I would have anyway because, well, they wouldn't have been reading the book and I would have felt sorry for them).
All of the characters were relatableand there was a lot of character building, the world was built up amazingly (as is the Sanderson Way) and you could really feel like you were there. I am hoping to see more of a few of the characters in the later books though.
There were parts of the story where you could possibly predict what would happen BUT... when it did happen you weren't disappointed, it wasn't cliched, it wasn't painful to read where you are like "really?!".
Sometimes the 'predictions' don't happen (and one that I am thinking of now I am actually [I]really[/I] hoping doesn't happen later) either at the time you expect it to or at all.
I hope we find more out about Doomslug.
About the actual style - it's very light, the language isn't overwhelming. The chapters are short - usually less than 10 pages. The story is told from the point of view of the protagonist. It's definitely a Young Adult Fiction.
It doesn't matter if you're more of a Sci-Fi fan or more of a Fantasy fan (I myself am the latter), or if you're not a fan of either of those genres - Brandon Sanderson is a genius! Don't hesitate - BUY THIS BOOK NOW!
This book has arguably my favourite character in any book, ever. I've never read dialogue and had to stifle an audible laugh. The character brought constant joy and really shows Sanderson's personality.
Finally, the story constantly gives you little snippets to keep you reading and the finale is fantastic, if not a little rushed. I really felt like this could be a phenomenal 2.5hr movie. It would make a phenomenal Sci Fi version of Hunger Games - powerful female lead, "chosen one" vibes, a great political intrigue and the same audience. Definitely read!
I was wrong, it's amazing.
While it is a young adult book, that doesn't stop me enjoying it and how he deals and describes the issues, environment and experiences described in the book. There is death throughout but he handles it very sensitively. As well as the maturation of the characters exceptionally (and typically) well.
I ended up getting the also excellent audiobook as well so I could listen to it when I wasn't able to read. The Scottish character was unexpected but amusing.
I loved that this story did not become a romance, even though it could have easily. I loved the world, the background stories. I just frigging love this book.
I honestly feel as though this is my new favourite book and will be recommending it to everyone. You know that feeling when you read a good book and feel as though you have just lost a friend... well that is how I am feeling right now, I need the sequel like now!
I didn’t think I was going to love this book as much as I have and I finally understand the hype behind Brandon Sanderson and will definitely be picking up more from him. Until then I will leave this review with some of my favourite quotes while I sit in a dark place and wait “patiently” for the next book! 😩
“ You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us”.
“We must not cower in the dark because we’re afraid of the sparks within us. The answer is not to put out the spark but to learn to control it”.
“ just for that, I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives”.
As the first of a standalone series, Brandon has done a brilliant job. I only put this book down to eat, sleep and go to work. It ticks all the boxes for me.
This book takes you on a journey following Spensa, a girl who grew up shunned by society. The plot is brilliant, takes many turns and develops a host of great characters. I'm looking forward to the next book already.
So I decided that I needed to find something that wasn't too heavy but still allowed me lose myself in easily.
This fit the bill perfectly. Brandon Sanderson has a way of saying a lot without writing too much.
This was wonderfully fast to get in to and hard to put down once I'd started.
The characters are well written (nobody is perfect) and believeable. I just couldn't have asked for more.
I've already finished the second book, and lamenting the fact that book 3 is due in 2021...
Admittedly I initially thought it was slow to start, but once I was about 100 pages in I was glad I'd stuck with it for the world it had slowly set up.
Looking forward to the next one and glad I didn't let my silly misconceptions of YA stop me from enjoying a brilliant story. Can't wait to read the next one.