Brandon Sanderson is a marvel. His output far exceeds other writers of his caliber. Since releasing Mistborn in 2006, he’s published over 20 novels along with numerous novellas, short stories, and graphic novels. And many of his books are giant tomes pushing 1,000 pages. In 2016 alone he published three novels, two novellas, and a graphic novel.
And it’s not like he’s releasing mediocre work, either. His Wheel of Time books are widely seen as some of the best in the series, while the Mistborn, Reckoners, and Stormlight Archive books are all widely loved.
It blows me away how he can work at such a high rate while maintaining a high level of quality.
Skyward is described, by Sanderson, as How to Train Your Dragon meets Top Gun meets Ender’s Game, only with a mostly all-female cast of characters. The protagonist is a young woman, the peers she interacts most with (and are given the most attention) are almost exclusively young women, and the “villain” (more of an authority figure with a different agenda) is a woman. I felt that was a welcome relief from most heroic fiction, which tends to be centered around a young man.
Spensa, call sign Spin, has a lot to prove. She’s been followed by accusations of cowardice for most of her life, and she dreams of being a pilot. These are significant issues when you live on a world ravaged by perpetual alien invasion. In Skyward, humanity (if this book is any judge) has been isolated to a planet called Detritus, formerly occupied by humanity but long-since abandoned. The world is surrounded by a an artificial and well-defended shell. Small ships are able to breach this barrier, but large ships are not. Aliens, known as the Krell, routinely attack the planet in waves no greater than 100 ships. Technologically limited, the only defense humanity has is via their own ships. So pilots are highly ranked members of society, and cowardice is a serious mark against someone’s character.
This is the first book in a new series by Sanderson, and it was marvelous. I loved it. I loved it more than I did the Reckoners series, which I was very entertained by and still think back on fondly.
At this point, I don’t think I need to sell anyone on the author. Along with Stephen King, Rainbow Rowell, Neil Gaiman, and Courtney Milan, Brandon Sanderson is one of the most widely read authors on Cannonball Read. After reading the Reckoners, I attempted to read the first Mistborn series, but didn’t get very far. After reading Skyward, I’m going to have to break down and read more of his oeuvre. He’s clearly one of the best working writers in the genre.
And you know you aren’t going to have to wait a decade for the next entry, unlike other popular (but unnamed) fantasy writers. Book 2 in this series, Starsight, is already nearing completion, and set to be released later this year. I’m eagerly awaiting its release.