SKYWARD | Brandon Sanderson
Paperback: 510 pgs
Publication Date: October 8, 2019 (first published November 6, 2018)
“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.“
The soft science and detailed descriptions of aerial warfare kept me excited the whole way through. I felt amped up whenever Spensa sat in the cockpit and took to the skies. And even though the training sequences felt a bit repetitive, Spensa’s fellow flightmates kept me interested with their colorful personalities. Spensa’s interactions with her team is hilarious and heartfelt, and I especially enjoyed her relationship with a sassy AI and cave slug (you read that right). There is a hint of romance, but that’s just it, a hint.
Thankfully the focus of this book centers on the pilots, the puzzle behind Spensa’s father’s downfall, the dubious actions of the Detritus government, and the war against the mysterious alien invaders.
The story isn’t all fun and games though. Sanderson explores the pitfalls of jingoism and indoctrination, and how these practices affect impressionable youths and shape a society dependent on war. The heavy messages combined with tragedy and comedy, drama and action lead you to feel inspired by the end.
Skyward is simply a good time. Some parts of the book slow down a bit and the setting is not fully realized, but this is a fast-paced soaring adventure that keeps you hooked. Sanderson breaks down the meaning of courage and challenges us to discover its true meaning within Spensa’s journey to become a pilot and claim the stars.