By now, I should know better than to just assume because I like an author that I will like all of their books. But then again, it is Brandon Sanderson.

Unfortunately, Skyward is about as YA as they come. I can handle a YA now and then but it really has to be a cultural phenomenon these days for me to want to read it. And since Sanderson has such great fantasy offerings as well, it kind of just makes me angry he isn’t working on more Stormlight Archives novels. Which is selfish of me.

Skyward is also pretty standard YA. The packaged hero’s journey where they must overcome some obstacle, the violence is all PG-13, and no one mentions sex. Spensa is the daughter of a coward. Her father fled the fight during humanity’s greatest battle. She’s convinced they are lying about it and she knows her only hope to clear her family name is to become a great pilot herself, defending the city of Alta from the dangerous Krell. Humanity only exists in small pockets, underneath the planet Detritus, which is surrounded by debris. The Krell can only attack when the debris field parts. The pilots who fight them are heroes and celebrities.

There’s also a sassy talking space ship. But other than him, it’s mostly Spensa’s show. And besides her constant desire to prove herself, she is rather annoying. Not as a character, but as a human. She constantly says and does things that would get her kicked out of any flight school today. She nicknames her flightleader “Jerkface” and neither her flight members nor her commander change that. I get that this book is for kids but…”jerkface”? It’s not particularly funny and it kind of makes her the real jerkface. I don’t think I would have laughed at it as a young reader myself.

The spaceships are cool and the twist is appropriately twisty, powerful enough to spawn a couple of sequels (clearly setting up for them). But I think I’m going to sit this franchise out and wait for Sanderson’s other great franchises to keep rolling. (WHERE IS THE NEXT WAX AND WAYNE?!?!)

2 out of 4 stars

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