Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

61kYThMpzVL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb:

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

I received an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exhange for an honest review.

Skyward was the first Brandon Sanderson book I have ever picked and I was not disappointed. Prior to this I’ve always been put off of Sanderson’s work because they tend to be fairly lengthy books and I found that intimidating. However, as soon as I heard about Skyward I just had to read it immediately.

The description that drew me in was “it’s like ‘How to train your Dragon’ but in space” which is quite frankly the most appealing sentence I’ve ever read and I have to agree, aside from, ya’ know, the lack of any actual dragons in Skyward.

The first thing I noticed about this book was that it’s true what people say about Sanderson’s writing: he’s a master of world building. The creation of this planet with its layers of detritus protecting/blocking the inhabitants from space/their enemy the Krell was just incredible. The cave systems was described in-depth and the political running of the world seemed to be explained very quickly and yet within a couple of chapters I felt I knew exactly how the planet was run. There were no long boring descriptions, but somehow Sanderson got the important points across masterfully.

The Krell themselves are a formidable enemy and I loved how we began knowing hardly anything about them and then slowly gathered more information as the plot built.

As a lead character, Spensa is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read for a long while. She’s fierce, talented and ambitious with a huge need to prove her worthiness and step out of her father’s shadow. Most of all, she’s believable and the insights we get as readers into the insecurities and worries she indulges in privately really endeared her to me.

The camaraderie of Skyward flight really sparked and flew off the page. So many different personalities in one team made every class a joy to read and I didn’t want to put the book down.

All of this added together made an amazing book, however, my absolute favourite character was Spensa’s ship M-bot. I love him. His hilarious attempts at understanding humans, his inexplicable dislike for Rig and, I’m not ashamed to say, it was a part of the book involving M-bot which made me so emotional I even shed a few tears because I was so proud of him.

Skyward ended in a very interesting place, with Spensa finding out some really interesting stuff regarding her father and the Krell. I will be pre-ordering the next book in the series as soon as the details are announced because I am DESPERATE to read more!

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Distortion by Victor Dixen

Distortion by Victor Dixen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recieved an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review

I really loved Ascension so I couldn’t wait to start reading Distortion. I was desperate to know what the Martian pioneers would decide to do!

Distortion opens straight back in the thick of the action that Ascension finished on, which I loved. All too often sequels finish on a really juicy story line and pick up miles in the future when everything has been resolved. In Distortion, we get to experience the pioneers making the decision whether to land on Mars or turn the Cupido around. The suspense was really well built and up until the decision was made I was unsure which they would choose to go with.

I found the story line with Andrew and Harmony a bit of a disruption to the flow of the book. I don’t massively care about their characters because they went from being secondary to a main story line in this book and really when I’m reading about them I just want to be back on Mars! However, I feel like they do play an important part in the ongoing plot and I’m interested to see what happens in the next book.

I really loved all of the action on Mars, in particular the storm and the revelation that the robots can talk really peaked my interest and made the book impossible to put down. I’m really enjoying this series and can’t wait to continue it and see whether they continue to live on Mars, return to Earth or suffer from the depressurisation of the habitats.

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Ascension by Victor Dixen

Ascension by Victor Dixen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recieved an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley

As soon as I read the blurb for this book I knew I had to read it. I have a weakness for books set in space and I loved the idea of a speed dating reality programme aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars, it’s definitely an original idea!

This book gave me the same kind of feeling as The Hunger Games did when I first read it, both because of the aspect of young people trying to outwit themselves in a ruthless competition and for the fact I couldn’t tear myself away from it once I started reading.

The story unravelled really well, revealing massive plot points seemingly in every chapter which really kept me glued to the book desperate to see what happened next.

At times I found that the dialogue between the characters felt a bit stilted but I think this was down to the translation of the book. There was also plenty of cheesiness in each speed dating session but I think this perfectly depicted how awkward it is to try and sell yourself to someone in a six minute window.

I was gutted when I reached the end of this book because I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I need answers! I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series!

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Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-ARC of Zenith via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

This was easily my most anticipated book of the year and I am thrilled that for once a book lived up to the hype surrounding it. From the first page I was completely immersed in the worlds that were being built as the story unfolded and I was torn between wanting to read as fast as my eyes could manage and wanting to savour spending time with the characters I grew to love.

Zenith follows a group of female space pirates as they travel around the Mirabel Galaxy in a glass starship taking on jobs and fighting to survive. The book has a real “Firefly” feel about it, not in terms of plot but in terms of the camraderie and relationships of people who spend most of their lives in close confines together travelling in Space.

The strongest part of this book is, for me, the characterisation. Andi, the fearless captain of the ship is brave and heroic but also vulnerable. Alsberg and Cummings have managed to create a character who is believable as a powerful and fearsome mercenary but with a delicately woven backstory that explains her guardedness and reminds you that underneath the bravado she is still a young woman who has been through great emotional trauma and let down repeatedly by those she loved. I love Andi. I want to be her friend and go on adventures with her.

The rest of the crew are also delightful. So often I find that one or more characters in a novel annoy me but here each character seemed to fit perfectly within their role, both on the ship and in the story. When reading you are 100% behind the dysfunctional family they have formed and that helps to immerse you within the story.

It has been a long time since I read a book in which I have been as immersed as I was when reading Zenith. There is a lot of world building initially, but miraculously this doesn’t slow down the pace at all. The descriptions and explanations only serve to move the story along or are complementary to the plot and do not take away from it. The chapters are short and switch between each characters different view point which I really like as a style because it allows you to get to know all of the characters better. It’s a glimpse directly into their minds instead of getting to know them through a narrator or another character.

As the book came towards the last 10% of action the plot blew up completely, and I mean that in the best way possible. At several points I exclaimed out loud in disbelief at what was going on because I hadn’t seen it coming. All the signs had been there along the way but the climax of the book felt like it popped up and slapped me in the face because it was so well written. I love it when books can surprise you like that and make you realise that actually, if you went back and read the book again you’d notice the clues and scream at yourself “Of course that’s what was happening!”

I highly recommend Zenith to readers who love a good Space adventure. Fans of the tv show “Firefly” and books like “A long way to a small angry planet” by Becky Chambers will love this.

Zenith is published 11th January 2018.

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