Review: Starsight

Series: Skyward: #2

“A hero does not choose her trials. She steps into the darkness, then she faces what comes next.”

If you are the sort to want absolutely zero spoilers going into a book stop reading now. Go read the book (it’s really good, that’s not a spoiler :spoiler:) and then come back. You have been warned.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way. It’s been … three years since I first read Skyward. WheN I read it, the sequels weren’t even out yet… when Starsight first came out, I just didn’t get around to it. I’m somewhat lamenting that lack now. 😄 But as they say, the second best time to plant a tree is today.

In any case, Starsight takes place where Skyward left off. Spensa has some crazy new powers she doesn’t understand, M-Bot is out in the open–and really the star of the book–, and humanity is ready to take back the stars… More or less.

Spoilers. For real, albeit minor.

Here’s the spoilery bit: through a series of (un)fortunates, Spensa finds herself whisked away across the galaxy to an important trading alien trading colony (the titular Starsight) and ends up being trained for (and to some extent training) a bunch of alien pilots for the very force that not that long ago had been trying to kill her. It’s quite the shift.

On one hand, I really enjoyed it. There is a lot more worldbuilding, getting into the sci-fi of the world and also what Spensa’s powers actually can do / mean (even if we’re still not quite there; there are still two more books after all). We also get more than a bit to dig into alien politics–which is just like human politics, but somehow mostly more polite?–meet a bunch of weird alien species–including a sentient smell, yes really–and find out that at the end of the day… people are people. Even if the people are alien people. It’s a long way to grow, especially for Spensa, but also–and I appreciate this–for M-Bot.

“When you’re young, you can assume that everyone older than you has life figured out. Once you get command yourself, you realize we’re all just the same kids wearing older bodies.”

On the other hand, it’s jarring to lose basically everyone we’ve come to know over the first book. They’re there in the very ends and throughout the interludes, but not nearly enough. I hope we get a bit more interaction in previous stories–and I hope we don’t lose our new alien friends either. With Spensa growing and training, I hope not. But we shall see!

I really do enjoy digging a bit into the themes of what ‘war’ means, especially to the people back home just trying to live their lives; just how alien people can be–and they’re still people just like you; and especially the conflicting themes write large between humanity and the Superiority. It’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out.

“That’s what war is," Cobb told me. “A bunch of sorry, desperate fools on both sides, just trying to stay alive. That’s the part that those stories you love leave out, isn’t it? It’s always more convenient when you can fight a dragon. Something you don’t have to worry you’ll start caring about.”

And man oh man, I really want to find out what Sanderson is going to do next with the Delvers--now that they know those bugs think and feel too and with the newer, far more mobile, but somehow slower thinking (?) M-Bot (or will M-Bot prime return somehow and we'll get *TWO OF THEM*) .

Oh, quite a story. Still well worth the read. Onward!

On a side note: if you enjoy audiobooks and have a chance, pick up the UK versions. M-Bot is hilariously Scottish. It’s wonderful.