Published: November 23, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Skyward #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 3.5/5.0
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, the Mistborn trilogy, and the Stormlight Archive comes the third book in an epic series about a girl who will travel beyond the stars to save the world she loves from destruction.
Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.
Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.
Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.
The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.
To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.
As with Starsight, Cytonic takes us to a whole new location with almost a whole new cast of characters. I really enjoyed that aspect in Starsight because it gave us a glimpse into life in the Superiority and made the terms friend and enemy much more nuanced. With Cytonic, Spensa is once again delving (haha) into new territory though this time the vibes are more jungle explorer and less espionage.
Spensa has entered the Nowhere after saving Detritus from a delver attack and she promptly gets captured by pirates. Spensa (and M-Bot) are then summarily saved by an adventurer who calls himself Chet Starfinder who also happens to be cytonic. Despite her suspicions, Spensa agrees to let Chet help her and M-Bot on their quest to get back home by following what Chet calls the Path of Elders. It’s a series of locations throughout the Nowhere containing stones that give cytonics visions from previous cytonics who entered the Nowhere. The hope is that they can gain the knowledge they need to both defeat the delvers and return to Detritus before they lose themselves to the Nowhere’s memory altering effects.
I love the concept of the book – I mean, pirates, exploration of a strange new world, dogfights with said pirates – how could you not enjoy that!? It was quite fun but I think certain sections were a little slow. I found myself getting bored when Spensa was with the pirates and even during the final sequence when she was trying to escape the Nowhere. There was a certain degree of monotony until the big emotional and/or action packed scenes showed up. Those are Brandon Sanderson’s forte – the big epic endings especially (I saw someone refer to this as the Sanderlanche on reddit and found it to be an apt term). The characters, old and new alike, were great but MAN, I really miss the whole Skyward flight comradery 😦 I know this is the second book in a row where I’ve said this but it’s true. The novellas are a nice way to fit those characters into the story without bloating one of the main installments. Overall, I did enjoy this but still not as much as the first two installments.