Updated: Feb 27
“Not that there’s anything wrong with humans. I find their frail, emotionally unstable, irrational natures quite endearing.”
Today, I'll be writing about the Skyward series, which makes me nervous to the bone. This series by Brandon Sanderson is so phenomenally done, that I fear I may not articulate it well enough. The level of energy, growth, entertainment, and danger packed into this series is unmatched. I honestly cannot say I have read any series better than this one, I could read it over and over and not get bored of it. From the characters to the world-building, he just does an impeccable job of creating this world for us to explore and mull over.
In this series, we follow a teenage mc named Spenca, who has big dreams of following in her father's footsteps of becoming a pilot to defend her home from a mysterious alien enemy. However, her father has been labeled a traitor among his people for a crime they deem unforgivable. They are hesitant to allow Spenca to join for fear that the traitor gene may live in her blood. She however is determined to prove them wrong and restore her family name.
In this world, humans live in the future where humankind now resides on a planet in space named Detritus. The majority crashed there after escaping the now uninhabitable Earth. Since crashing, they have been stuck there for centuries. Seeking a way out, they began creating spaceships to engage in an on and off fight with the enemy above. They know very little of this alien enemy, other than that one day it will ruin them all. In this world, the pilots/fighters are the most respected of people. They risk their lives to save their planet and to one day find a new home.
This is a high packed fantasy/sci-fi series and there is never a dull moment from the first hundred pages to the very last. Each book in the series is huge with a combined 1000+ pages together, but Brandon Sanderson makes every page count by making sure they are meaningful to the story and or plot somehow. You shall find no page fillers in either of his books. While the first book focuses on the struggles that Spensa undergoes as she tries to prove that she will not betray her home as they believe her father did, the second book focuses on what she does when given the chance to do more.
In the first book, Spensa is accepted into a school for pilots and works with a group of students around her age. As a person of color, I really felt Spensa's struggle of being targeted and seen differently for something she can't control. She was just a child when her father was labeled a traitor, thus the title Daughter of a Coward sticks to her wherever she goes. Her mother and grandmother handle things with grace and silence, but Spensa refuses to back down or give up on her dreams. In this book you'll see her overcoming some blocks in the road, making new friends, making a possible love interest, and learning about herself and what lies beyond their world. There is so much growth in Spensa in this series, though it is most obvious in this book. The pacing of this book is perfect and the fights are so damn well written, I can mentally visualize everything that goes on. I'm pleased I gave this book a chance!
In the second book, Spensa has done the impossible, what no one else other than her father has done. She made it to the sky without dying and heard the stars. She witnessed things that she can't begin to comprehend and discover secrets about her father that hurt her to the core. She then worries if maybe something in her genes will make her turn traitor too. This book picks up right after the first book. We see Spensa given an opportunity no other human has had, to go to the enemy home and get information about them. What she learns rocks her world in every way, the aliens they have been fighting for generations are equally not what she expected, and at the same time, worse than she ever could have expected. We watch as Spensa puts her skills to the test and infiltrate the aliens with the goal of helping her planet. Let me tell you, it goes so much deeper than that. I just don't want to spoil it for those who have not read it.
I honestly don't know what to say about this series other than amazeballs. Fucking Amazing Spaceballs! This series was so well done, and I have been desperately awaiting the third book of the series. Brandon Sanderson has a way of making you care and understand each of the characters while keeping up the high action and entertainment. The humor in this book unmatched, I laugh aloud so much when I read them. Often I don't find books funny, it usually feels like they're trying to make a funny and it just doesn't land. Not these, they are clever and hilarious as well as sad and angsty. I highly recommend everyone to read it if they have not already.
Book One Favorite Characters:
M-Bot is the ship Spenca found in the first book, he has a soul and a hilariously witty attitude. I could honestly read a whole book from only his POV, he is just so cleverly written. He's sweet, obvious, funny, and still somehow manages to make you ball your eyes out when Spensa leaves him behind in book two. I wish I had an M-Bot, or Mushroom Bot as he likes believing, for myself. At the end of the second book, he starts wondering if he truly is alive, and I love how much encouragement Spensa gives him. The dynamic between these two is unlike any other friendship. Even Brandon Sanderson agrees M-Bot dialogue is the best part of the series.
“I’d be offended if I could be offended,” he said. “Maybe I should start calling you a cow, since you have four limbs, are made of meat, and have rudimentary biological mental capacities.”
Book Two Favorite Character:
Ohz Burtim Winzik is my favorite from book two despite them being the enemy. I don't recall which pronoun they had in the book, so I'm sticking with they for now. Brandon Anderson did a great job with this character. They were polite and very non-confrontational on the outside, but the underlining of their words and demeanor were very much the opposite. It was apparent they were corrupt, but not openly to where Spensa could say anything about it. They also had this specific way of speaking that had me laughing with tears despite loathing them. They would constantly say, "Oh my", in an overly dramatic voice, if you listened to the audiobook. They are the ideal enemy for this series, and I can't wait to see more of them.
“Oh my, oh my. So aggressive.”