Skyward is the latest book to be released by the prolific author Brandon Sanderson. Unlike many of his books it isn’t a part of the Cosmere, the universe that connects many of Mr. Sanderson’s works. That’s okay by me. Not least because Skyward feels a lot like another of Sanderson’s non-Cosmere series, the Reckoners.
As I was reading Skyward, it felt a whole lot like watching How to Train Your Dragon, except in a science fiction universe. Which fits. After all, Brandon Sanderson said that one of his inspirations for this series was How to Train Your Dragon. Well, that and other “a boy and his dragon” stories. So yes, this is most definitely the “a girl and her spaceship” story that Sanderson wanted to write, and it’s glorious.
Skyward: The Characters
True to all Brandon Sanderson books, I really liked the characters in Skyward. The main character, Spensa, grows up being shunned by society. She dreams of becoming a Pilot and fighting off the raids of alien aggressors. Best of all, when she feels particularly angry or insecure, she puts on this exceptionally bloodthirsty facade. For example:
“When this is done, Jerkface, I will hold your tarnished and melted pin up as my trophy as your smoldering ship marks your pyre, and the final resting place of your crushed and broken corpse!”
I think it’s a fun bit of character detail, much like David’s metaphors in the Reckoners. Some people might find it annoying, but it gives the character some depth. Of course, that’s the theme with most Sanderson characters. Skyward is almost as much about everyone else as it is Spensa. There is a strong cast of supporting characters, each with their own secrets and personalities. It’d be a shame to miss meeting them.
Skyward: The Story
I don’t want to give too much away. Many of Brandon Sanderson’s books have a reveal toward the end of the book. Skyward has a few. Some gradually show up until you say to yourself, “Holy cow! That actually happened!?! I almost didn’t notice.” Others pack a wallop.
But like all good books, the story isn’t so much about what happens. It’s not about the big reveals, or the creeping realizations. Skyward is a story about the characters. Spensa becomes
someone different a better version of herself by the end of the story, and it’s a fun transformation.
Isn’t Skyward just another book?
In one sense, yes. It’s not the most exciting of Brandon Sanderson’s books. It’s not Oathbringer, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. Skyward isn’t that big or epic. It’s not a 1500 page tome that took years to write and perfect. And I’m honestly glad.
I love the Stormlight Archive, Mistborn, and the Wheel of Time. To say that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors just doesn’t express the depth of feeling that statement deserves. And Skyward is awesome because it’s not part of the Stormlight Archive or the Cosmere. It’s great because every so often, I need a break from the grand epic.
Skyward is a story about a girl becoming a better version of herself. It takes a classic, overdone story and puts a clever and interesting spin on it. And it still feels like one of Brandon Sanderson’s books. Plus, there are going to be sequels, which I’m excited about.
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