Pandemic Picks – Skyward
Review by Kingsley Gittins, NTWC Projects Officer
I know what you’re thinking… Science Fiction – no chance. Not my cup of tea. Too escapist. Too much nonsense. Too many weird aliens.
If this sounds familiar then I challenge you to read Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward with an open mind. The main character is a strong willed young girl named Spensa with dreams of flying in the spaceship equivalent of a Top Gun fighter pilot school and she’s got the metaphorical balls to back it up. Putting the beautiful world building aside for a moment, the excellence of Spenser as a character alone will carry you through the narrative. Written in the first person, you are instantly transported and emotionally invested in her journey – part redemption for her fathers actions and part heroic determination to save the remnants of humanity from the mysterious Krell. Genre aside – she is a brilliant character.
Spensa is supported in her journey by a host of other characters in the YA genre-typical ‘Hogwarts’ style and also by a fast paced and enticing narrative that draws the reader close and doesn’t let go until the final page. Fans of Sanderson will know well the feeling of late nights spent on ‘just one more chapter’, and for the newly initiated expect to lose an entire day once the hooks are in. Basically, it’s the book equivalent of a superhero action movie and it doesn’t for a moment slow down to apologise for it.
Now, back to the world building. It’s epic. Without giving anything away, the ending of this first book and explored more thoroughly in the rest of the series is a refreshing parody of contemporary issues surrounding human nature and freedom of speech. Sanderson’s world will challenge your ideas of a ‘perfect’ society in a funny, yet surprisingly poignant, way. If you make it to the second book you will be treated with such excellent satire that it will touch on the realms of the late, great Terry Pratchett. And I don’t say that lightly.
And of course, there are lots of weird aliens as well.