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Series: Skyward Vol. 1   

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Catalog Number: #184700
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 528
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-399-55577-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-5171-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-399-55577-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-5171-1
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
ALA Booklist
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.
Publishers Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
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
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
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 occupation—spearing rats in the caverns of the colony planet Detritus for her widowed mother's food stand—to 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)
Word Count: 136,151
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 21.0 / quiz: 199585 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.0 / points:30.0 / quiz:Q76459
Lexile: HL680L
I stalked my enemy carefully through the cavern.


I'd taken off my boots so they wouldn't squeak. I'd removed my socks so I wouldn't slip. The rock under my feet was comfortably cool as I took another silent step forward.


This deep, the only light came from the faint glow of the worms on the ceiling, feeding off the moisture seeping through cracks. You had to sit for minutes in the darkness for your eyes to adjust to that faint light.


Another quiver in the shadows. There, near those dark lumps that must be enemy fortifications. I froze in a crouch, listening to my enemy scratch the rock as he moved. I imagined a Krell: a terrible alien with red eyes and dark armor.


With a steady hand--agonizingly slow--I raised my rifle to my shoulder, held my breath, and fired.


A squeal of pain was my reward.




I patted my wrist, activating my father's light-line. It sprang to life with a reddish-orange glow, blinding me for a moment.


Then I rushed forward to claim my prize: one dead rat, speared straight through.


In the light, shadows I'd imagined as enemy fortifications revealed themselves as rocks. My enemy was a plump rat, and my rifle was a makeshift speargun. Nine and a half years had passed since that fateful day when I'd climbed to the surface with my father, but my imagination was as strong as ever. It helped relieve the monotony, to pretend I was doing something more exciting than hunting rats.


I held up the dead rodent by its tail. "Thus you know the fury of my anger, fell beast."


It turned out that strange little girls grow up to be strange young women. But I figured it was good to practice my taunts for when I really fought the Krell. Gran-Gran taught that a great warrior knew how to make a great boast to drive fear and uncertainty into the hearts of her enemies.


I tucked my prize away into my sack. That was eight so far--not a bad haul. Did I have time to find another?


I glanced at my light-line--the bracelet that housed it had a little clock next to the power indicator. 0900. Probably time to turn back; I couldn't miss too much of the school day.


I slung my sack over my shoulder, picked up my speargun--which I'd fashioned from salvaged parts I'd found in the caverns--and started the hike homeward. I followed my own hand-drawn maps, which I was constantly updating in a small notebook.


A part of me was sad to have to return, and leave these silent caverns behind. They reminded me of my father. Besides, I liked how . . . empty it all was. Nobody to mock me, nobody to stare, nobody to whisper insults until I was forced to defend my family honor by burying a fist in their stupid face.


I stopped at a familiar intersection where the floor and ceiling gave way to strange metal patterns. Circular designs marked with scientific writing covered both surfaces; I'd always thought they must be ancient maps of the galaxy. On the far side of the room, an enormous, ancient tube emerged from the rock--one of many that moved water between the caverns, cleansing it and using it to cool machinery. A seam dripped water into a bucket I'd left, and it was half full, so I took a long drink. Cool and refreshing, with a tinge of something metallic.


We didn't know much about the people who had built this machinery. Like the rubble belt, it had been here already when our small fleet crashed on the planet. They'd been humans, as the writings on places like this room's ceiling and floor were in human languages. But how distantly related they were to us was a mystery even now. None of them were still around, and the melted patches and ancient wrecks on the surface indicated that they had suffered their own war.


I poured the rest of the water into my canteen, then gave the large tube a fond pat before replacing the bucket and moving on. The machinery seemed to respond to me with a distant, familiar thrumming. I followed that sound and eventually approached a glowing break in the stone on my left.


I stepped up to the hole and looked out on Igneous. My home cavern and the largest of the underground cities that made up the Defiant League. My perch was high, providing me with a stunning view of a large cave filled with boxy apartments built like cubes splitting off one another.


My father's dream had come true. In defeating the Krell that day over nine years ago, those fledgling starfighter pilots had inspired a nation. Dozens of once-nomadic clans had congregated, colonizing Igneous and the caverns around it. Each clan had its own name still, traced back to the ship or section of the ship they'd worked on. My clan was the Motorskaps--from the old words for engine crew.


Together, we called ourselves Defiants. A name taken from our original flagship.


Of course, in gathering together, we had drawn the attention of the Krell. The aliens were still determined to destroy humankind, so the war continued, and we needed a constant stream of starfighters and pilots to protect our burgeoning nation.


Towering over the buildings of Igneous was the apparatus: ancient forges, refineries, and manufactories that pumped molten rock from below, then created the parts to build starfighters. The apparatus was both amazing and unique; though machinery in other caverns provided heat, electricity, or filtered water, only the apparatus of Igneous was capable of complex manufacturing.


Heat poured through the crack, making my forehead bead with sweat. Igneous was a sweltering place, with all those refineries, factories, and algae vats. And though it was well lit, it somehow always felt gloomy inside, with that red-orange light from the refineries shining on everything.


I left the crack and walked to an old maintenance locker I'd discovered in the wall here. Its hatch looked--at first glance--like any other section of the stone tunnel, and so was relatively secure. I popped it open, revealing my few secret possessions. Some parts for my speargun, my spare canteen, and my father's old pilot's pin. I rubbed that for good luck, then placed my light-line, map book, and speargun in the locker.


I retrieved a crude stone-tipped spear, clicked the hatch closed, then slung my sack over my shoulder. Eight rats could be surprisingly awkward to carry, particularly when--even at seventeen--you had a body that refused to grow beyond a hundred and fifty-one centimeters.


I hiked down to the normal entrance into the cavern. Two soldiers from the ground troops--which barely ever did any real fighting--guarded the way in. Though I knew them both by their first names, they still made me stand to the side as they pretended to call for authorization for me to enter. Really, they just liked making me wait.


Every day. Every scudding day.

Excerpted from Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Praise for Skyward:
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

"Startling revelations and stakes-raising implications...Sanderson plainly had a ball with this nonstop, highflying opener, and readers will too."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"With this action-packed trilogy opener, Sanderson offers up a resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast...[and] as the pulse-pounding story intensifies and reveals its secrets, a cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next installment."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"It is impossible to turn the pages fast enough."--Booklist

"Sanderson delivers a cinematic adventure that explores the defining aspects of the individual versus the society...[and] fans of [his] will not be disappointed."--SLJ

Praise for Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series:
#1 New York Times Bestselling Series

"Another win for Sanderson . . . he's simply a brilliant writer. Period."--Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Name of the Wind


"Compelling. . . . Sanderson uses plot twists that he teases enough for readers to pick up on to distract from the more dramatic reveals he has in store."--AV Club

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