Cytonic is the third book in Brandon Sanderson’s “Skyward Series”. Here are reviews for book one Skyward and book two Starsight . In my review for Starsight I wondered if the pandemic would affect Cytonic being released in late 2021, fortunately through what sounded like a lot of hard work editing and deadlines, he and his team succeeded. When I set out to read Skyward I thought it was a standalone novel and had mixed emotions to find out it wasn’t. Excited because there was more but a little disappointed it wasn’t a standalone. Cytonic has left me much the same way. Silly me assumed it would be a trilogy but nope, there will be a fourth book called Defiant. Unknown if there will be books after as it just says, “Spensa will return in Defiant”. That said, I greatly enjoyed this new chapter in Spensa and M-Bot’s adventures.
This time it is like a grand storybook adventure as Spensa and M-Bot find themselves in the nowhere, the in between space Spensa goes when she ‘jumps’. It is here that she might finally be able to get answers about cytonics, the delvers, and maybe a way to save her people from being wiped out by the delvers and Superiority. In the nowhere, Sanderson creates a whole new world setting with different rules for time and bodily needs with fun geography as the “land” is hundreds of floating islands held aloft by acclivity stone.
In this place, Spensa is lured by the attraction of finally getting to live the life of high adventure as told in Gran-Gran’s stories. She can explore jungles, deserts, and mini oceans. There are pirate factions squabbling amongst themselves for resources. Spensa is learning more about her cytonic powers and reads her first romance novel. And for the first time in her life, Spensa is no longer living in the constant stress of her military complex society and regular brushes with death piloting starships. With this newfound peace, Spensa begins to understand what life is like for other civilizations. The romance novel is eye opening as the biggest conflict was which of three individuals to choose to date. The longer she stays in the nowhere, the more conflicted Spensa becomes about returning home.
Spensa isn’t the only one being affected by being in the nowhere. M-bot finds himself changing and gaining emotions but struggling to express what he is feeling due to not having the words. M-Bot continues to be delightful and I love the dynamic between him and Spensa. Also every time I read M-Bot I think Murderbot and that’s not a bad thing!
I continue to adore Sanderson’s creativeness in aliens. This time we meet crystaline beings and I admire the attention to details, down to word choices in their vocabulary. We also meet large lizard-like beings who are symbiotically linked with a fruit tree, their actions affect what types of fruit will grow on the tree. This makes for entertaining dialog as the individual regularly refers to growing fruit, sometimes similarly to “grow a pair of balls”, but also to cover a wide variety of behavior.
My only complaint was there were times it took a bit for my brain to wrap around and understand the explanations of why and how things were and their interconnection. I’m still not certain I 100% properly understood it all. This bumps Cytonic from 4 to 3.5 stars. That said, I eagerly look forward to Defiant and finding out where Spensa’s story goes from here.