Audiobook Review: SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Yes - first book



Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters.

Spensa, a teenage girl living among them and in the shadow of her father’s cowardice, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Anyone who’s been following my blog for the last year will know two things about my reading tastes:

  1. I don’t do well with audiobooks
  2. I tend to avoid sci-fi because I can struggle with the inaccurate science

However, in the last six months, I’ve been really trying to fight that – push outside my comfort zone. The sci-fi block has been breaking more readily over the last few months (AURORA RISING and THE CRUEL STARS) but audio has remained a problem.

Touch wood, but I think this audiobook may have put a crack in that.

adored this audiobook, listening to it in record time because I just wanted to hear more, discover what came next.

It’s such a fast-paced adventure full of dog-fights and planet-ending stakes. However, it’s also got real heart, with Spensa struggling against whether she’s a coward throughout. SKYWARD never trivialises the life-and-death cost of the battles, really driving home to psychological impacts of being close to death or watching friends die. This personal angle hooked me more than the battles, and I think I might have got frustrated if it hadn’t been so key to the story, if it had just been daring battles without consequences.

As well as this heart, there are some really funny moments – M-Bot (Spensa’s talking ship) steals most scenes with comedic genius and the characters play off each other so well. It’s not all snippy sarcasm, in fact most is a more gentle teasing. This felt far more respectful of one another (once they get past their teething problems) and so made their friendships more solid.

There’s a lot of characters central to the story, but they all feel very fleshed out. My favourite scene was actually quite early on, where Spensa’s cadet flight are required to give feedback on their teaching so far. Their responses characterise them brilliantly, a snapshot of who they are, how they interact and where they have room to grow.

The narrator, Sophie Aldred, is phenomenal. She really brings Spensa to life, engaging me in Spin’s struggles and cheering her on. I could hear the tension and action in her voice, but she also managed to make the many other characters sound distinct enough.

I found it really easy to focus on what she was saying even as I did my chores. Usually, my mind would wander, but the way she told it was enthralling. At least half the credit for me thoroughly enjoying this should go to her.

I’m glad I have another audible credit so can dive right into the audiobook of the second entry in the series, STARSIGHT.

Read my reviews of other books by Brandon Sanderson:

Young Adult:

Skyward (this series):




For reviews of the final Wheel of Time books Brandon Sanderson finished off, see Robert Jordan

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