In this sequel to Skyward, Spensa is trying to learn about her lineage and the ancient potential for magic that she’s inherited. Unfortunately, her planet’s prison guards are getting more violent by the day. It seems that soon they’ll decide to destroy her people altogether. When an alien crash-lands, grievously wounded, she gives Spensa the opportunity to go on a spying mission with the intent to find a way to move her people far away from their dying planet, to find peace and freedom.
I really enjoyed this book. It had some flaws – too much repetition of the same personality quirks/jokes (which seems to be consistent in Sanderson’s YA novels); a lot of predictability – but was generally a well-paced and well-plotted story. My favorite thing about Sanderson is his ability to peel back layers that show how often our perspectives are skewed. There’s no such thing as “good guys” and “bad guys.” War is a battle of perspectives. These are themes explored in much greater depth in his adult novels, but they were well-handled here also.
My favorite thing, however, was the audio production. I so very rarely listen to YA on audio. I don’t generally like the way narrators read teen voices and inflections. Unfortunately, my library was way behind on ordering new books and this one hadn’t entered the process yet. I was quite anxious to read it! A sample from Audible made it clear that I wouldn’t be too annoyed by the vocalizing, so I went ahead and got the book. Now I want to go back and listen to the first one! Suzy Jackson was amazing! I didn’t want to stop listening (so too bad that I was in the middle of moving, right??). Her narration was definitely an enhancement to the book, and I think I liked it better than I would have in print. That’s always a sign of a wonderful performance. This is the first thing I’ve heard her read, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for more books in the future. Highly recommended!