Starsight by Brandon Sanderson is the sequel to Skyward and continues on with the story of Spensa and her trustee AI ship M-Bot. I found Starsight to be an absolute blast full of exciting action sequences, a great ensemble of characters and a world I wanted to know more about. After the revelations of the first book I never imagined Brandon Sanderson could do any better in the sequel, but true to Sanderson and his brilliance he delivered and exceeded my expectations with this sequel.
Starsight begins months after the events of Skyward i.e. the Battle of Alta. Spensa has graduated and is now a full fledged fighter pilot and probably one of the most important members of the flight team. The fight to protect their home planet of Detritus and the ongoing survival of the human race continues on.
At the end of Skyward it is discovered that the Krell who continually bombard Detritus with attacks are being given orders by The Superiority. The Superiority is basically the EU and an alliance formed of different alien species. Many their members believe that humans are a dangerous species and should be exterminated due to past events.
The discoveries made in the first book and after the Battle of Alta leads humanity to realise that staying on the planet of Detritus will do them no good and they must therefore escape this ruined planet that they are entrapped in. The longer they stay here the less likely they will find peace and the more likely The Superiority will finally find a way to eradicate humanity.
The fate of the human race is therefore in Spensa’s hands as she must utilise her newly discovered powers as a Cytonic. Cytonic’s are individuals who have the power to hyperjump i.e. teleport through space. However, not everyone can do this and Spensa must infiltrate the Superiority to find technology to travel into space and away from the clutches of the Superiority. This technology would enable them to finally escape Detritus and far away from the Krell and The Superiority.
Then as luck goes, an unidentified alien spaceship turns up crashing on the planet of Detritus. Spensa upon intercepting the spacecraft is told by its pilot Alanik to travel to the Superiorities space station named Starsight. The reason being is that Alanik was going there to be trained to fight the Delver’s who are the eyes that Spensa sees when she uses her Cytonic abilities. Using M-Bot’s camouflage capabilities, Spensa is able to pretend to be Alanik in order to spy on what is going on above Detritus and essentially steal the hyperdrive technology to help the human race survive and get one over the Krell
So yeah this was definitely one of the best sequels I’ve read thus far this year. Brandon Sanderson takes the whole story towards a different direction and gives a more in-depth outlook as to why the human race was entrapped on the planet of Detritus. The twists and revelations were so perfect and executed in a way that left me shockk because I never expected any of them.
The main character of Spensa is such a brilliant character and i have loved her character journey thus far. I love her confidence and the fire inside of her that enables her to push through and overcome the things she faces in the book. I felt her character was tested a lot more as she must question her beliefs about the Superiority. You soon realise that members of the Superiority have their own families, lives and problems similar to humans. They only fear humanity due to events that occurred in the past.
I also felt that Spensa matures a lot in the sequel. Even though she is still brash and at times acts before she speaks, she had to think more as a leader this time and ensure that her actions don’t cause harm to others.
“A hero does not choose her trials. She steps into the darkness, then she faces what comes next.”
We get to meet new characters too such as Diones who are a very complicated species, Hesho of the Kitsen species who is best described as being a fox/gerbil like species. We also meet Vapor who is of the Figment species. I really liked Hesho and found him to be really funny. His species are members of the Superiority and are essentially invisible clouds of particles who are expert at assassinations.
The sequel also allows us realise who the Krell (actually known as Vorvax) are and get an idea of what they look like. They are the equivalent of lobsters and I guess their main leader is Winzik an absolute snide and infuriating character who I hated. Anytime Spensa would show the slight hint of aggression he would say something like “so aggressive, indeed so aggressive”. It made me so maaaad lol.
Basically, there lots of different characters and species that add so much more to the overall experience of the book. Sanderson for me is an expert at building intricate worlds with a brilliant range of characters. I saw this from reading the Mistborn trilogy and it again shows in this series.
One thing you do realise though is that the Human race is misunderstood by these species. Humans are automatically considered aggressive or blood thirsty. We do realise why this is the case and i guess i wasn’t surprised as even in reality humanity have caused more harm than good to the world.
A little nit-pick i do have i guess is that we don’t get to see much of the characters from the first book such as Jerkface, i mean Jorgen and her other friends. But that’s not a bad thing as the new characters made up for it.
Thankfully though, we see the return of M-Bot who again shines so much in the sequel. Although M-Bot isn’t human the dialogue between it and Spensa is heart-warming and really hits you in the feels. I absolutely loved the scenes with M-Bot and Spensa and his witty and hilarious remarks made me laugh so much.
“All right, M-Bot,” I said. “We have a problem. We might need to hijack that entire carrier ship.””Excellent,” M-Bot said. “Would you like your corpse cremated or ejected into space?”
In terms of the plot, I would say it was comparitively slower paced compared to Skyward and maybe had less action than the first book. But when action did occur it was fast paced and super intense. I also loved the plot twists so much. There were soooo many more revelations that occurred that I did not expect at any point. Learning more about why the human race was on the planet of Detritus in the first place answers a lot of questions but also makes you think a lot deeper by questioning humanity for its actions.
We also learn more about the hyperdrive technology and at the end of the book an absolutely mind blowing revelation is revealed. Obviously I wont mention what exactly, but lets just say slugs are more important than we think!
Overall, this was a brilliant sequel and I am so excited to continue this series when book 3 comes out in 2021. Brandon Sanderson is an absolutely phenomenal writer and definitely one of my favourite authors ever. Like many of his previous novels he is able to make you effortlessly connect with the characters and feel what they are feeling. I am hoping they are more interesting new characters in the next book but I also hope the characters from Skyward return as I really missed them.
Thank you so much to Gollancz and Will for sending me a review copy I am honestly really grateful 🙂