3. 6 & 5 Star Rating Book Review

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson (The Skyward Series #1)

So what’s the book about?

For hundreds of years, young Spensa’s world has been under attack by the Krell – only the fleet of spaceship pilots still stands between the superior aliens and the humans.

High up in the stars, protecting her homeland as a pilot is all Spensa has ever dreamed of. But her chances of doing so are almost nil: Spensa’s father has been considered a traitor ever since the pilot suddenly abandoned his team and was killed in the process. However, against all odds, an unexpected turn of events could still lead Spensa up to the stars…

These aspects attracted me the most while reading.

  • This story exerted a magical pull on me, although I was a little sceptical, as you realise from the start that this is a rather childish youth story. Fortunately, however, there are various mysteries that keep the reading exciting until the end. Firstly, there is the story about Spensa’s father and the question of what actually happened. Then there is M-Bot with his hidden knowledge to which he has no access. How did he get into the cave, who was his pilot, what are his tasks, what could he tell about the past? And then, of course, there are the Krell. Their technology is strange, but superior. Yet they never attack with more than a hundred ships, even though they could otherwise easily overwhelm the humans. And why do they attack at all? Where do they come from? And most importantly, what are they? As mentioned, no one has ever seen one alive or dead. All that is found of them at most are pieces of their armour. These questions were what drove me to the end of the story to finish this book as quickly as possible.
  • Apart from Spensa, the main character, who stands out very much with her hot-tempered, defiant and yet very headstrong character and is not like normal characters, we get to know other characters; for example, her best friend Rig, her teacher Cobb, the leader of the DDF Ironsides and – of course – her squadron. Jorgen (Jerkface), FM, Arturo, Nedd, Hurl, Morningtide, Kimmalyn (Quirk), Bim and many more. For the fact that there are so many characters, Brandon Sanderson manages to give each of them something unique. Every single character, although some don’t appear that often, has something that sets them apart and makes the story all the more vivid for it. And I have to say, I liked all the characters without exception! It quickly became clear that there is something like an “antagonist” (Ironsides), but also the chapters written from her point of view were very exciting and somehow I could relate to them. Especially towards the end I really respected her! Besides Spensa, who really grew on me, I also grew particularly fond of Jorgen and M-Bot. Jorgen in particular was a character I thought I wouldn’t be able to stand until death, but the more you learn about him, the more enthusiastic I was about him. M-Bot, with his sweet and funny nature, is probably the most human robot I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so far. Even though he has to gradually learn to be human, by the end he seems to be just as much a crew member as the many others.

What did not work for me!

  • It is very clear from the beginning that this is a story for young people. The way the story is told is very simple and does not require so much concentration, which can also be an advantage. And especially Spensa makes up the YA feeling here. Her character is so defiant that even if you take her to your heart, she can still be annoying. She seems very young and not in keeping with her age, but that may also be because she has always been more to herself. She makes decisions that she knows are stupid and foolish just to prove that she doesn’t want to be oppressed, even though no one in the fleet does, so she puts herself in situations that make her life even harder. The way the individual characters interact with each other also seems more like a troop of 12-year-olds who mob each other every now and then. I had a cringing feeling while reading, because sometimes situations were just so embarrassing that as an adult I have to be ashamed of such behaviour. I also think that young people of this age don’t behave the way Brandon Sanderson describes here, but rather he should have chosen even younger characters.
  • In the story itself, not so much happens that one could claim that an extraordinary plot has taken place here. Yes, this book had many secrets that needed to be revealed, and that was what made it exciting, but how it all happened and the overlying plot felt rather flat to me. The only story told here is that of Spensa, who wants to become a pilot, and honestly, that’s it. Especially at the beginning of the story, where the secrets were not yet so present, it was often a bit boring and you were eagerly waiting for something moving to finally happen.

So what are my final thoughts about it?

Science fiction and books for young people? Does that work? I was a little worried that the mixture might seem a little too flat or that it would be problematic to identify with the characters, but my worries were dispelled quite quickly while reading. Brandon Sanderson convinces with a loose, fluffy writing style, crisp dialogue and doesn’t digress too much into details. I have the feeling now that this first part was just a miserably long introduction to the actual story. On the one hand, I’m really excited to see what happens next, but I’m also worried whether the characters will be able to develop a bit more and it will have less of a very distinct YA flavour. I liked the idea, the realisation didn’t necessarily blow me away, but I still want to read more of this story. I hope that the idea will be developed further in the next volumes and that it will have a certain depth. So if you are looking for a light book to read in between, you should give Skyward a chance.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 10.

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