Reviews for Skyward

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Spensa Nightshade, aka Spin, grew up with stories of her dead father's military cowardice, but she's determined to be a pilot just like him. She finds a way into flight school, where, as a traitor's child, she is forbidden to live on-base. As a result, Spin lives in a cave and, with a friend's help, rebuilds a found W-shaped, AI-enhanced jet she names M-Bot. When the enemy Krell launch their biggest attack against her people, a day after she's been kicked out of school, Spin powers up M-Bot to defend her planet and reclaim the truth of her father's story. Reading this book is like standing inside a video game: all action and movement. Sanderson's aerial dogfights are so masterful that it is impossible to turn the pages fast enough. Universal themes of family pride, fitting in, and proving oneself compensate for the quickly sketched but likable one-dimensional characters. Supernatural ability is lightly touched on and seems likely to appear in the sequel, which is indicated by an open ending.--Cindy Welch Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In a mysterious world called Detritus where humans live below the surface, 16-year-old Spensa must overcome her deceased starfighter pilot father's reputation as a coward following his alleged desertion. She has always hoped to follow in his footsteps and defend her home from the increasingly devastating attacks of the alien Krell. After earning a cadet spot in the Defiant Defense Force, Spensa pushes to prove herself amid relentless, unforgiving, possibly fatal training. Worse, there are those determined to keep Spensa from becoming a pilot at all, for fear that she'll turn out like her father. But Spensa has a surprise of her own: she's discovered a long-abandoned starfighter of unknown origin that could change her luck, and the war, once and for all. With this action-packed trilogy opener, Sanderson (Steelheart) offers up a resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast-including a strangely humorous, mushroom-obsessed robot-set against the backdrop of a desperate conflict. As the pulse-pounding story intensifies and reveals its secrets, a cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next installment. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-Since crash-landing on Detritus 80 years ago, the Defiant colonies have been under relentless attack from the Krell. Humanity's only defense are bright young pilots who fearlessly take to the skies to safeguard the community. Seventeen-year-old Spensa aims to join their ranks; however, when your father is the coward pilot who fled during the historic Battle of Alta, passing cadet training seems impossible. Admiral "Ironsides" has no intention of letting a coward's daughter graduate flight school, and even makes sure to ostracize Spensa from her fellow cadets. Yet, an unintentional discovery may be Spensa's key to obtaining a pilot's pin while exposing a decades-old secret. Sanderson delivers a cinematic adventure that explores the defining aspects of the individual versus the society. Spensa, characterized by her father's cowardice, is appropriately driven to question the fundamental idea of free will. Serious moments are balanced with animated scenes, leaving a playful feel over the tense undertone of the novel. Despite a few convenient plot lines, such as a premature romance, Sanderson intrigues with a strong exploration into the thrilling life of a fighter pilot. VERDICT Fans of Sanderson will not be disappointed, and will happily jump into the cockpit with Spensa to "claim the stars."-Emily Walker, Lisle Library District, IL Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The remnants of human civilization are on planet Detritus, trapped there for generations, fighting the extraterrestrial Krell. Spensa defies the stigma of her father's cowardice in battle and aspires to be a fighter pilot. In a well-paced, energetic space-action novel, Spensa learns to fly and fight and discovers that there's more to her father's death than anyone realized. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Eager to prove herself, the daughter of a flier disgraced for cowardice hurls herself into fighter pilot training to join a losing war against aliens.Plainly modeled as a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Conan the Barbarian ("I bathed in fires of destruction and reveled in the screams of the defeated. I didn't get afraid"), Spensa "Spin" Nightshade leaves her previous occupationspearing rats in the caverns of the colony planet Detritus for her widowed mother's food standto wangle a coveted spot in the Defiant Defense Force's flight school. Opportunities to exercise wild recklessness and growing skill begin at once, as the class is soon in the air, battling the mysterious Krell raiders who have driven people underground. Spensa, who is assumed white, interacts with reasonably diverse human classmates with varying ethnic markers. M-Bot, a damaged AI of unknown origin, develops into a comical sidekick: "Hello!...You have nearly died, and so I will say something to distract you from the serious, mind-numbing implications of your own mortality! I hate your shoes." Meanwhile, hints that all is not as it seems, either with the official story about her father or the whole Krell war in general, lead to startling revelations and stakes-raising implications by the end. Stay tuned. Maps and illustrations not seen.Sanderson (Legion, 2018, etc.) plainly had a ball with this nonstop, highflying opener, and readers will too. (Science fiction. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.