When I finished reading Skyward,I did not intend on getting the sequel right away, as there were already books in the house waiting to be read. However, once I was done with the book my 6th grader tore through it and then my husband followed quickly thereafter. So the next time I went to the bookstore, the sequel, Starsight, came home with me. (Note: this was written before lock down happened in California) It is an excellent follow up to Skyward but one thing annoyed me, Starsight is not the conclusion of the story, there will be another book! Ordinarily this would fill me with excitement.
However, the current state of the world has me wondering what the impact on the publishing industry will be, and how that will affect the release of books. Not only that but how the mental strain will affect authors. Writers definitely took an emotional hit in 2016, even the never late Scalzi missed a deadline due to feeling low. At the end of December 2019, Sanderson said he planned on writing the third “Skyward” book at the end of 2020 with a hopeful publication of late 2021. I’m optimistic that will all still be the case but not holding my breath for a variety of reasons.
Whew! Now that’s off my chest, here is the review. Starsight starts with a more confident and self-assured Spensa. She has found her place and is more comfortable in her skin as a result. While the impetuousness is still there, her head strong willfulness has been tempered. But now that Spensa knows how to navigate her life, Sanderson throws her into new circumstances which test her new found self-restraint. Humanity has broken through the orbital detritus surrounding their planet to see the space station containing their Krell jailers, who are overseen by the Superiority, an alien alliance committed to the ideal of supreme intelligence and non-aggression. Drones continue to attack the human forces but now piloted ships are entering the fray, with much more competence due to having a live pilot.
One such ship is determined to make landfall on Detritus and Spensa leaps into action to intercept. What she finds shocks her to the core. It is a humanoid alien, completely different from the crab-like Krell, and she is a cytonic. Before lapsing into total unconsciousness, the alien mentally sends Spensa the coordinates to a Superiority space staion, Starsight, and a warning to not trust the peace of the Superiority. With the holographic technology of the AI, M-bot, in her reclaimed spaceship and a translator pin, Spensa concocts a wild scheme to take the alien’s place on Starsight and attempt to steal a hyperdrive. With a hyperdrive, humanity can jump away from Detritus and escape their jailers.
Starsight finds Spensa alone among aliens with only her AI space ship and Doomslug to help her accomplish the mission. She quickly realizes how out of depth she is and that the person she is imitating, Alanik, is being used by different factions in the Superiority as a pawn in their power games. Complicating matters is that the Superiority maintains a stranglehold on the galaxy by regulating space travel. Only members of the Superiority, which Alanik’s race doesn’t belong to, are allowed access to hyperdrive technology, and even within the Superiority it is a closely guarded secret. Without a way home, and frequently unable to communicate with M-bot, Spensa is on her own doing her best to stay afloat in theses strange waters.
Aside from the story, which thoroughly hooked me and made putting the book down hard, I really liked Sanderson’s aliens. Vapor is a sentient, invisible gas cloud, called a figment. Vapor prefers the feminine pronoun ‘she’ and her scent will shift with mood. Figments are excellent infiltrators and not well trusted. They have the ability to take over ships by overriding and sending their own electrical signals. Morrimur is an unborn dione. Dione prefer the pronoun ‘they’. Two dione will pupate and literally merge together into one being. This is referred to an an unborn and it is a possible combination of the two parents. Though effectively a newborn in terms of life experience, when emerging from pupation, the unborn have the knowledge of their parents. The unborn will live a short while and then the family will vote on whether the unborn should actually be born, or whether the parents should pupate again to produce a better fitting member for familial stability. Morrimur’s family is undecided due to what they feel is too much aggression in them. Kitsen are tiny fox-gerbil looking beings. Unlike all other beings in the Superiority’s fledgling space force, the kitsen fly as a crew in a single ship with Hesho as their commander. Fierce, poetic warriors in small bodies, they are outside the Superiority and trying to prove their worthiness to join. Superiority members are not allowed to have kings or similar supreme leaders. The kitsen are struggling to change ingrained behavior to meet this standard.
I enjoyed Starsight just as much as I did Skyward and will have to patiently wait to find out what new twists to the story Sanderson has in store for Spensa and the humans of Detritus. Fingers crossed we get the next volume in the story in 2021!
Ysakitty: In Starsight, the Krell Wardens are switching from suppressing the humans to destroying them. The only way to win and survive is to escape their prison planet, Detritus. When an alien crash lands on Detritus, Spensa knows she has to go on a dangerous mission, but does she have the skill to do so?
Starsight is a fun sci-fi adventure book that makes people think about perspectives. To Spensa, all aliens are evil but to the aliens, humans are evil. I recommend this book to everyone who read the first book and to all the science fiction lovers, it is a wonderfully crafted story and I give it four stars!