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Skyward

Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
Series: Skyward, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
5 out of 5 stars (17,361 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Suzy Jackson's assured, brassy tones and forceful delivery are an exceptional match for Sanderson's high-stakes, battle-driven space opera.... Jackson's gift for characterizations shines - she brings out the humor and heroism in Spensa's young classmates and friends (and the neurotic spaceship MBOT), along with the pain and perseverance of the generations that came before them. This is a high-octane futuristic narrative of hope, sacrifice, and courage, and a fast pace speaks to the rising urgency as war rages above the planet. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award." (AudioFile magazine)

From Brandon Sanderson, the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally best-selling Mistborn series, 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.

©2018 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Has Sanderson been reading Craig Alanson???

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. I can not recall a single book of his that I have not loved. (Note: I have not purchased or read his books for children, such as Alcatraz series) It was not a surprise that I would love this book to the point that I listened to the entire 15 1/2 hours, within a two-day period.

This novel appears to exist outside of the Cosmere Universe; but it is as enthralling as just about any other series he has ever written. (The Way of Kings has its own place at the extreme apex of Sandersons works.) I will not provide a synopsis of the book, as it would be redundant. You can get that from the Publishers summary and countless other reviews. One noticeable difference between this book and most of Brandons other works, is the level of snarky humor that has been intertwined throughout the book. While his other novels are not void of humor, they do tend to take a more serious tone. With this book, it feels as if Brandon was somewhat inspired by Craig Alansons Expeditionary Forces series, including what I will call [Skippy-lite.] I choose to avoid any spoilers; so fans of the E.F. Series, will need to listen or read Skyward to fully understand.

Overall, this is a somewhat lighter, less-complex novel than many of Sandersons other works; but that should not be considered as criticism. It was truly enjoyable to listen to, and I look forward to the next installment.

Note: My apologies for somewhat poor punctuation. Writing this review on an iPad, and every time I tried to use quotes or apostrophe punctuation, the previews replaced those with garbled text, such as ‘ and “. I had to remove all contractions and just avoid using problematic punctuation.

281 of 302 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you like Ender's Game or Sanderson check it out

Skyward is a bit of a change for Sanderson. Rather than his typical Fantasy works, this is very much a science fiction. Even his other most ‘sci-fi’ type series, Reckoners, is superheros. This is spaceships, strange planets, artificial intelligence, and aliens. In some ways it reminds me of Ender's Game - teens training to fight in an alien war.

Set on an alien planet, with the scattered survivors of a war with aliens, the story follows a young lady from the lowest rungs of society. He father was a military pilot, who died in disgrace and thus she is now living in disgrace. She becomes a cadet pilot, to try follow in her father’s footstep and redeem his name. Due to her father’s actions she is living outside the main society, which enables her to stumble upon a broken down spaceship unlike any the human or enemy aliens have. If she can fix it and learn to fly, she might just be able to redeem her family’s name and make a difference in the war.

The book is Young Adult, like Reckoners and Rithmatist. The characters are mostly teens, and there is the typical tropes of the YA genre in here. But it is an exemplar version of YA sci-fi. Like much YA it is told in first person, from the point of view of the young lady. It tells her inner monologue of discovery, self-doubt and (possible) romance. There is the grizzly 'drill sergeant with a heart of gold' type character who trains the cadets.

Narration by Suzy Jackson is good. She is clear and well paced, with no issues. She differentiates the characters from one another, and the internal voice of the main character from spoken words or general narration. It makes it all very easy to follow. I found the narration to be enjoyable and well done. No audio or production issues at all either.

#tagsgiving #sweepstakes #suspenseful #artificialIntelligence #Aliens

187 of 201 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great for almost any age!

I have listened to this book twice now and am still in love with the story! The story was wrapped up enough to stand alone yet, knowing it's going to be a series, left enough open to imagine where the next book might take us. Thank you, Sanderson, for another book with strong/brave female characters!

50 of 56 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Teen / YA

When I download this book, I had no idea that it was written specifically to a younger audience. I know my 14-year-old self would have been obsessed with this book and while I’d absolutely recommend it to early teens, I definitely would not recommend it to anyone old enough to purchase an R+ movie ticket.

Since I’m not the story’s target market this leave me conflicted. Do I rate 5 stars based on teenage me or 2.5 stars based on my opinion today?

It could be my fault for not recognizing this as teen lit in the description somewhere. But I figured if it happened to me it could happen to others too and I’m just here to spread the word. If you’re not keen on hearing the nickname “Jerk-face” used for one of the main characters, this one is a pass.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book, lacking supporting character depth

Sanderson delivers yet another (mostly) unique story with a driving plot. What is lacking here is the traditionally more subtle Sanderson trademark of delivering a conflict without giving away the solution. The reader is about to figure out early in the book why things are the way they are, dramatically lessening the impact of the climactic Revelations. Was still a good good.

As mentioned supporting casts character development is one dimensional. An entirely new problem for readers of Sanderson's books. It could be expected from a "hamburger and French fries" book as opposed to his larger more developed "meat and potatoes" novels, but isn't necessarily excusable. Supporting casts is described via familiarizing stereotypes, though the stereotypes are described in a more subtle way than "jock, rebel, robot try hard, know it all" etc.

Themes are appropriately at the YA level. "Find yourself" / identity development is the focus. Adults of course can relate, but the development stage seems to be that of an mid teen, which for the book is spot on. Adults will relate but depending on their own identity development likely less than a teen. Sex bias isn't terrible but not great either. Brandon does well writing from a female standpoint and not making the novel about romance. That said the "strong female lead/character" trope is highly pronounced. Good to have strong female characters, they are just the focus to the point that the men seem one dimensional. The attempts at male character development seem stereotypically based, while the female characters are the focus.

Narrated isn't distracted, and is easy to listen too.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Sadly disappointing

I’m a huge BS fan. The Storm light Archives, Mistborn, reckoners, warbreaker, and elantris. I keep all of those books in both audible and word form on all of my devices and book mark them like the Bible. I LOVE his writing, the twists and cataclysmic build ups in the stories that we have each experienced and enjoyed.

Unfortunately, for Skyward this was not the case. The twists were minimal and expected, I’m used to some great “oh lord that changes everything moments” and this had at best one of those, but still not to the level I expected. When the long anticipated build up occurred it was rushed, poorly explained, and not all that interesting.

Coward - I felt beaten over the head with this word. It must have been used 500 times over the course of the book. I understand that it was important to the story, but there are synonyms that should have been used to diversify the dialogue.

The Soul of the Machine - besides having a rather lame name, M-Bot’s character felt bland and continuously annoying. From Brandon’s description of this book where he compares the relationship between Spensa and M-Bot to a young explorer who encounters a dragon egg and develops a relationship with it. I was disappointed by the lack of development and time spent on nurturing and maturing their relationship. M-Bot’s character progression was non-existent and even when opportunities were presented to delve deeper into a meaningful dialogue between Spensa and him, the conversations either stopped after just scratching the surface or were redirected back at Spensa to determine if she was a coward or not.

I felt like a hamster running on a wheel, reading and reading hoping to find either a pivotal or progressive moment where I could say “yes! I emotionally connect with this” but I never found it in Skyward.

All that being said, will I still buy the next book? Yes, of course. But it will be with the hope of re-discovering a universe that I actually want to explore.

35 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Unpopular Opinion - Couldn't stand this story

Clearly an unpopular opinion but, I couldn’t stand this book.

Spensa has to be one of the most whiny annoying female characters I’ve read about lately. Her whole life is about defying authority and ok, that’s the plot of a lot of novels, but she keeps arguing about why she is right and why they are wrong, but she’s just plain wrong and it will get her or someone else hurt or killed. She can’t accept that maybe she isn’t as good as she thinks and blames everyone else for her problems.

Her whole life is built upon her father being a coward and abandoning his flight crew in the middle of a battle. This “coward” fact is brought up at least once a chapter and how she doesn’t want to be marked a coward too. And how dying in battle is better than ejecting and being branded a coward. Ok, but then you’re a dead coward.

There is a lottttttttt of battle simulation training. Like. That is the plot of 75% of the book. And I just. Didn’t care? At all? Spensa “Spin” once again defies 99% of orders, and while she “wins” the challenge, she often dies in the simulations. Um. In real life, you’d be dead. Bye.

I didn’t even like the ship she found, ‘M-Bot’, until the very end. It was pretty annoying too… By the end of the book, things actually started happening and became interesting, but that was literally 90% into the book. The only way I powered through this was the audiobook on 2.5x speed.

Spin has a “defect” that’s only vaguely touched upon throughout the book and my immediate thought was, “Oh, so she’s Divergent.” That’s what it sounded like to me. She wouldn’t accumulate to society's norms, so she was “defect.”

I love sci-fi books. But I guess just not this kind of sci-fi.

Would not recommend the audiobook because the narrator makes Spensa sound like she’s about 12 years old.

If you like Star Wars you'll probably like this. But I don't like Star Wars.
If you like Illuminae Files or Sleeping Giants, you probably WON'T like this.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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good not great.

I'm 33 so maybe im too old for the young adult genere. some of the emotions and pacing was just kinda hard to muscle through. like all Sanderson books though, the ending is awesome. great twists.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Awesome!!!

a lot of lovable characters in a Awesome adventure, good, exciting and satisfying till the very end.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Another fantastic story from Sanderson.

Brandon Sanderson has once again proven himself as the best fantasy without of our time. Skyward manages to take the tired "Boy and his Dragon" trope and turn it into something fresh and interesting. His talent for natural world building combined with Suzy Jackson's flawless performance create an immersive experience that I did not want to pause for one second. Just like with each of his other series I am left salivating for the next instalment.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful