Skyward (Skyward, #1) By Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson ↠ 7 Summary

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the Mistborn trilogy comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

And don't miss the thrilling sequel, Starsight !

[A] nonstop, highflying opener. --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

With this action-packed trilogy opener, Sanderson offers up a resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast. --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Sanderson delivers a cinematic adventure that explores the defining aspects of the individual versus the society. . . . Fans of Sanderson will not be disappointed. --SLJ

It is impossible to turn the pages fast enough. --Booklist Skyward (Skyward, #1)

UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 12/20/20

Even though I already had the book, I'm impressed a Brandon Sanderson book was in my November Fairyloot!! Click the link under the picture to see the goods. I think I left out a picture of one of the cards! sigh....


I had so many things I wanted to say for this review but I have nothing right now! I have cried sad and happy tears. I have loved many. Go read the damn book people!

It's Brandon Sanderson! What more needs to be said?

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 Skyward (Skyward, #1) Skyward, the first in a brand-new series by Brandon Sanderson, feels like a prelude. The raw energy of the closing pages rattles; I started every sentence without knowing where it was going, half-terrified of where it might end. When I looked up, the bedlam of motion inside the coffeeshop where I sat was an underwater warble, and I felt the sort of disorientation you only get when you are pulled out of one world and back into another. The effect, of course, of a really good book.

Spensa “Spin” Nightshade was going to be a pilot. As a 7-year-old, she dreamed of it with the raw hope of a child who looked at the stars as if her very soul had unfurled and stretched out to meet it. As a 17-year-old, she knew it with the boundless confidence of a youth who assumed the world will contort itself to accommodate her desires. But Spensa’s name was full of her father’s cowardice in a way nobody could miss. It was a burden and a responsibility. For ten years, Spensa had tried to piece together a father who was gone from rumors that spoke of him deserting his team and betraying his people. But when it is all boiled away, what was always left was that wanting, hard and spare and alive: to prove herself, to clear her father’s name, and to fight for humanity’s survival. Even if that meant breaking the rules, leaving them smashed and glittering in her wake.

“Remember, Spensa. You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”

Skyward soared through the autumn and winter of 2018 on a frenzy of love, drawing a cornucopia of rave reviews and dominating bestseller lists. And I have to say—it is well-deserved.

Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as it unfolds in slow but ultimately satisfying layers. The meticulous plotting comes off as the work of someone in absolute charge of his craft. Skyward brims with details that build out into a vast, intricate world which, remarkably, still leaves plenty to explore. It’s a good thing that Sanderson has 4 more books planned for this series as there’s a lot to set up. It’s clear that the author is only getting warmed up; the political and intergalactic machinations that swirled around Spensa had much left to play out. And if Sanderson’s goal was to make his readers clamor for more, I'm pleased to say that he accomplished that goal with flying colors.

Skyward is fun, but there’s a deep layer of story at work. Sanderson paints real-world concerns like classism, war profiteering, and patriotic jingoism with piercing resonance. The novel examines, thoughtfully, the dangerous culture of martyrdom that is deeply embedded in the DDF—the Defiant Defense Force—and which had, for many years, been preserved in false perfection.

Spensa, who recited Defiance like a litany and ripped herself to rags against the sharp and ugly poetry of it, determined to never be called a coward, is confronted with a truth like ice water: the DDF bleeds great gouts of young pilots in the deadly battles against the Krell, but spares the sons and daughters of the elite who are pulled out from the Academy by their wealthy and well-connected parents when the peril becomes too real. Spensa had thought she could join the DDF and vie for the only chance she would ever have at glory, she built her life around that dream, but Spensa soon discovers that her government’s talk of glory and heroism, all their promises, wear a thinner veil than a funeral shroud. Spensa didn’t want to be a part of this machine anymore. But the machine didn’t care. The machine went on grinding and catching her up in its gears.

Spensa’s character development doesn’t stop there. All her life the mystery of what had really happened the day her father was unequivocally branded a coward hung over her, and she had hardly dared hope that she might get the answers she longed for. When Spensa does, the truth of it strikes her backhanded, and her heart—for the second time—splits in two and goes to war against itself. The truth, this novel explores as brilliantly as anything else, is never how we want it: clear-cut and shining, a perfect moral center leading us all back home.

“Sometimes, the answers we need don’t match the questions we’re asking.” He looked up at me. “And sometimes, the coward makes fools of wiser men.”

This is, I think, what I relished most about this book: the way the author gives his characters plenty of room to fumble and triumph. He made a list of characters that kept getting longer (then, heartbreakingly, shorter) and injected them with enough interiority to keep his readers riveted. Spensa’s journey, in particular, is wonderful to watch, and her potential narrative paths for the sequel are very intriguing. I, for one, can’t wait to see where Sanderson takes her. Skyward (Skyward, #1) Just for that, I shall hunt your firstborn and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!”

You know how sometimes you realize you’ve read 500 pages and it was all fluff, nothing really stands out and you can't even remember most of it?

Well this book was the opposite.

So much happens, the characters are flawed but their growth is fascinating to watch. The story is complex and becomes more interesting as it progresses. Every time I thought I knew where things were going… I was wrong. And happy to be.

The teenage angst, an hilarious sentient ship, the lack of romance… This is how you create a fantastic YA book! Sanderson is not afraid to make you laugh... and cry.

Absolutely recommend this book.

Also shoutout to Doomslug! Skyward (Skyward, #1) THIS WAS AMAZING. I loved the characters, the world, the humor, the action. I'm excited to continue the series. Skyward (Skyward, #1)
“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”

Skyward is the start of a brand-new YA Sci-Fi series by Brandon Sanderson. You all know that I love Brandon Sanderson’s work, especially The Stormlight Archive and Mistborn, and I knew I couldn’t let this new release pass me by without immediately reading. And, friends, this was nothing short of a treat.

This book follows a young girl named Spensa, who wants nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps of being a space pilot and defending her home planet from an alien race called the Krell, who are relentless in their attacking. Unfortunately, her father did something unforgivable and the rest of her community truly will never forget.

“People need stories, child. They bring us hope, and that hope is real.”

Spensa lives in future version of our galaxy, on a planet named Detritus. But most of the inhabitants live underground, while only a few cities are above. And in this society people’s job positions are supposed to be based off their test scores that will influence them into learning their strengths, but we soon find out that pilots are mostly found based on their family lineage.

Brandon Sanderson really talks about privilege and how outside forces can really impact a person’s life, while a last name can completely make someone’s future. Spensa learns this very quickly, but she is still determined to not only go to flight school, but to graduate at the top of her class, regardless of the people who are willing to do anything to stop her.

And Spensa has to go through some really horrible stuff. No spoilers, but even her family is forced to live off of rats, while never being able to see the sky, but living in fear of a lifetime war that never ceases. But Spensa’s determination is awe-inspiring, but she soon realizes that flight school is completely ruthless and very deadly.

“It turns out that strange little girls grow up to be strange young women.”

Yet, one of the best characters I’ve read all year is easily Spensa. She not only makes you feel immense empathy because of her situation, but just because she’s a little girl that has only known war. She’s passionate, she’s caring, she’s so very dedicated. And she’s hilariously funny. This book made me laugh out loud so many times. But mostly, I was rooting for her from the first to the last page. And she really showcases that everyone has a choice, regardless of the things that life has forced upon them, and regardless of the mistakes of their parents. She was such a wonderful character, and a shining light in 2018’s protagonists.

And I loved the constant discussion of what makes a coward and what makes a hero. And about all those grey areas in between those things. And how a different view can really turn those two titles upside down completely. Spensa also meets many new colleagues, some of which who are also chasing the same dream as her, and some who have had it forced upon them. And dare I say, there is a start of an enemies to lovers relationship in this book? Lord, help me. I am already invested!

But my heart truly belongs to M-Bot, the AI-driven ship that Spensa finds. A lot of people have compared this book to How To Train Your Dragon and that is so damn accurate, but I actually think I loved M-Bot even more than Toothless. (And that is quite the recommendation, friends!) I also think I just have a soft spot in my heart for sentient ships, if I’m being completely honest. But I have no doubts that if you pick up this book that you will fall in love with M-Bot, too.

Okay, so even though I loved this reading experience so much, and I truly think Brandon Sanderson comes up with the best worlds in SFF, two things bothered me about this book. One is a character death, and I won’t go into spoilers, but if you know me at all, you’ll know why this upset me. And Brandon should have done better. Secondly, the ending was a masterpiece. Yeah, you read that right. The ending was magnificent, but it truly overshadowed the rest of the book and made it feel like the 500 pages I just read were some precursor to the actual story that will begin in book two.

“Claim the stars, Spensa.”

Overall, I did adore this book. It was just what I needed. I actually was feeling really slumpy before I picked this up, and not only did it rectify that, but it reminded me why I love books and stories and fictional worlds so much. I know Brandon Sanderson isn’t for everyone, but he truly is a master at his craft and every book and series he touches turns to gold. And his world-building is honestly on a tier above all else in the genre. And, again, I cannot wait for book two. And I cannot wait to learn everything about a certain blue and orange slug.

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Content and trigger warnings for bullying, loss of a loved one, battle scenes, and war themes. Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Check out my video on 7 Plot Holes in Skyward:

Spensa has grown up an outcast but has always dreamed of becoming a pilot her entire life. Will she be able to achieve her dreams? One day she stumbles upon an ancient ship that crashed into her planet. Can she repair the ship before it's discovered? The ship also seems to have a personality. Will Spensa be able to convince the ship to join her side?

This book was quite lengthy, and it seemed to drag in certain portions of the book; there was a little too much Yay! Flying! Let's fly here and fly there. Hands in a circle. Yay! This isn't the worst book that I have ever read but it also isn't the best. Full disclosure: This is my first Brandon Sanderson book. However, reading this book, I just don't understand all of the fuss.

The foreshadowing was a bit heavy handed. A few topics were mentioned over and over, and magically they happened later in the book to the surprise of no one. Also, I would love to know how many times the word, Scud! appears throughout the book.

In terms of the fantasy, this book aligned more with my tastes. I have an extremely difficult time visualizing what the author is describing so I tend to lean more realistic fantasy or I need a few pictures/video. In my copy of the book, there were a handful of pictures which were really helpful. Therefore, I didn't have a hard time with the fantasy in this book.

Overall, this book was ok but didn't live up to the hype of the famous Brandon Sanderson. My curiosity isn't peaked enough to continue this series, but I would be open to reading other Brandon Sanderson books. You can drop me some suggestions in the comments below.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Blog Twitter BookTube Facebook Insta Skyward (Skyward, #1) I’m fluctuating between a 4 and 5 stars, so 4.5 🌟 for now but damn! I felt robbed by that ending. The scope of this world, the characters and plot is about to get even bigger AND THE EXCITEMENT I FEEL!

I don’t understand how he does it. Sanderson can’t do no wrong.

THIS is how you write a YA sci-fi/fantasy book. With depth and substance, whilst still knowing your target audience.

Yes, the above comment is very much a dig at the mediocre YA fantasies that have been getting published.

I’m still floating in space - so no ‘review’ from me just yet - but I can arrogantly say that if you didn’t connect to this book, you’re the problem. It’s you.

(Note the sarcasm PLEase. Don’t come for me in the comments. But really, you should question yourself if you didn’t like this book. Just some unsolicited advice from a reader who means well.) Skyward (Skyward, #1) Skyward comes out in mass market paperback today!

ARC provided by the publisher, Gollancz, in exchange for an honest review..

4.5 stars.

Skyward is a fine example of a Young Adult novel.   Once again, I'm in awe of Sanderson who shows he is still at the top of his game.

This novel is another hallmark of Sanderson's ability to spin the most incredible stories. He described the book as How to Train Your Dragon meets Top Gun and Enders Game. These references, however, would count for nothing if the execution was poor. Fortunately, and to solidify my unwavering faith in my favourite author, he excelled in his first full-length space opera novel.

So what do we get from Skyward? Fascinating worldbuilding - check. Empathetic characterisation - check. Excellent pacing and plotting - check. All these I have come to expect from Sanderson already, but the one thing that impressed me the most are the starship dogfight scenes. No magic system to showcase in action? No sweat! He relied on his (seemingly inexhaustible) imagination to create some unique dogfighting techniques while keeping flight science as real as possible with the help and advice of real-life fighter pilots.

Similar to his magic systems, the capability of the pilots and their starfighters is constrained within a set of boundaries or rules as dictated by available technology; some of which are made-up to make it more exciting. The flight school arc is engaging and well-written with loads of flight action scenes, and they are so vivid and thrilling that I was practically glued to the pages.

If it is even possible, Sanderson is getting better at his worldbuilding skills, and I'm not just talking about how fascinating this most aptly named planet of Detritus is. It is that self-described Grand Skill of incorporating worldbuilding naturally through the perspective of the characters. Aside from avoiding info-dumping, this also lends an air of mystery to the history of the planet, its inhabitants and their lifelong war, but at the same time is not too obscure as to frustrate the reader.

The story is written mainly in the first-person POV of Spensa - an angry young lady with a lot to prove and hence had quite an attitude problem and a propensity to act like an idiot sometimes. Her growth in character was simply quite superb. While I was annoyed with some of her thoughts and actions at first, she was relatable, and as she fought so hard to remain in flight school at all costs to prove her detractors wrong, the life lessons she faced made her development feel completely natural and realistic.

Even the supporting characters are excellent and ones that you will root for and develop an emotional investment. The level of empathy that Sanderson demonstrated in the way he wrote his characters truly astounds me sometimes. My favourite character - who made me tear up and then laugh till I almost cried again - is one that is not even human or biologically alive, but has such a personality as to appear quite sentient.

As with all of Sanderson's stories, there are always important themes imbued into the character's journey. Living in the shadow of her father, Spensa went all out to prove that she is not a coward. As she progressed through flight school, however, her conviction of what real bravery is was sorely tested. Her path to be a pilot and a grown-up was one of harsh realities and self-realisation.

It has always seemed to me that a coward is a person who cares more about what people say than about what is right. Bravery isn't about what people call you, Spensa. It's about who you know yourself to be.

There is also one unifying theme evident in Sanderson's books, and that is one of hope. Not hope in the metaphysical sense or some god-like intervention, but hope that arises from the good in people. I live for stories like these, especially during these dark and nonsensical times.

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?

No, it does not matter to me if Kaladin or Dalinar, Vin or Kelsier, (to name a few) are fictional. Their stories illuminate what it means to hope, to live and be human. And I will want to ‘live' those stories again and again. Now, I am adding Spensa and her awesome, hilarious starship into that list.

You can order this book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can also find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions. Skyward (Skyward, #1) 2000 hrs., Alta Base, Flight Command Headquarters

Scholar: Flight Command, this is Booknerd Twelve, name Katerina. Callsign: Scholar.
Flight Command: What are you doing in the outer space, Scholar? Your mission is accomplished, you finished Skyward. Return to the base immediately.
Scholar: I’m not ready to leave, Command.
Flight Command: Why do you defy direct orders soldier?
Scholar: Because there was something about Skyward; the cinematic quality, the non-stop adventure, the humor and sarcasm, the wonderful crew and the heroine oozing bravado and determination, that won’t let me return. I need more time, to float in space, to soar the winds, to claim the stars, to let the fact that Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller not only when he composes the most epic fantasy books ever written, but also the most solid, gripping and awe-inspiring YA science fiction sink in.
Flight Command: Why was it such a surprise, Scholar?
Scholar: Because the truth is, I was mad at him for engaging with a new YA project that delayed the release of Wax and Wayne #4 and Rhythm of War. But as soon as I took off with Spensa, as soon as I became a part of Skyward Flight, I regretted my anger and all the reservations that held me back. It was truly magnificent, another proof that Brandon Sanderson is the best author of his generation.
Flight Command: I understand all these, Scholar, but you have to return. Daydreaming in the outer space is a dangerous (and forbidden) habit.
Scholar: But sir, I have my own protectors!
Flight Command: Who?
Scholar: Doomslug the Destroyer, the most terrifying beast that feasts on the flesh of her enem-
Flight Command: That’s simply the cutest slug that ever existed, a soft cupcake.
Scholar: Well, there is also the Massacrebot, the most advanced spaceship that will hunt down the first born of his foes and-
Flight Command: You know he likes being called M-Bot. And he is not vicious, just a slightly insane talking spaceship that may or may not be the king of sass.
Scholar: Fine, there is also the fiercest warrior, Spensa Nightshade, callsign: Spin, the one who bathes in blood and drinks in her cup made of skulls and-
Flight Command: Spensa tends to get carried away, and being overly dramatic, but I do recognize that she is one of the bravest, strongest (and funniest) YA heroines out there. Before you start analyzing the might of Skyward cadets and Cobb, the journey to find the meaning of courage and camaraderie, I must confess that while you composed paeans about the glory of Skyward, we launched Reality missiles that will destroy your wings.
Scholar: No no no leave my wings alone, I’m setting the coordinates to return, just give me-

beep beep beep

Booknerd Eleven: Sir, was that really necessary?
Flight Command: She must learn to control her frenzy every time she reads a book written by Brandon Sanderson. Flight Command out. Skyward (Skyward, #1) 4.5 stars Skyward (Skyward, #1)