A high flying trip through outer space – discovering that things are not always as they seem!
Publisher: Gollancz Novermber 2019
Page count: 482
Brandon Sanderson is an author that needs no introductions within the world of fantasy reading; his stories are legendary and vast! Starsight is the second novel following on from the awesome Skyward, where Sanderson moves away from his normal themes of magic and warriors, venturing into space to explore the wider galaxy. Both stories follow a feisty protagonist called Spensa (call sign Spin) as she charges her way into the world of becoming a space pilot, defending the last remaining humans from an unknown alien threat. If you have never read Skyward, then prepare yourself to embark on a different kind of journey, but don’t worry because Sanderson continues to write strong characters and inventing interesting ‘magic’ systems (this book doesn’t contain magic but it follows the same concept – maybe you can call it a technology system) that he is most known for.
This story follows on from the first novel straight away, continuing Spensa’s fight against the invaders known as the Krell. I was overjoyed when I read this book, that this story is just as strong as the first in the series, and Spensa as a character is just as passionate and engaging, which is a huge positive because the novel is held together through her POV. The story is told through Spensa, she is joined by her trusty A.I companion M-bot. The mixture of both of these characters makes for some humorous dialogue, adding in interesting conversation about the ideas of A.I and allowing Spensa to talk through her choices, instead of us having to hear her thoughts. The dynamic between the too is fantastic and is different from your usual friendships within Sanderson’s novels. This is mainly due to the fact that M-bot is a computer A.I, who is learning the intricacies of human conversation, attempting to master ideas such as lying or understanding earth idioms. This can sometimes cause misunderstandings between the pair, adding a certain charm to the story. Spensa herself is a confident go-getter who is driven by her passion to fly and won’t let anything get in her way. The last book I read was ‘The Girl and the Stars’ by Mark Lawrence and I felt a symmetry between these characters. I don’t know if it is just me, but I can’t resist a strong women, and this clearly continues within my reading. Spensa as a character was engaging to read, she is humbled by her lack of experience and finding herself deeper into the lime light than what she set herself out to be. She is a character who knows what is right, and will always drive herself to protect those in need no matter the cost.
Typical to Brandon Sanderson novels, he is a master at inventing new and interesting systems within his novels that as essential elements within this story. I won’t go into too much detail about the system within these books, as not to spoil the story but I will cover a rough idea of what you can expect. The story is based within space, the humans are stuck on a planet with no where to go, desperately trying to build the technology to escape and explore the wider galaxy. Within the galaxy are individuals who have the power to teleport their ships through space, allowing them to explore where they please. They also can hear the ‘thoughts’ of the machines around them, allowing them to be the best pilots around in the galaxy. With all powers there is always a caveat, which is explored more within the second novel but is introduced within the first. I enjoyed the system within the book, and look forward to seeing where it takes the story within the third novel. Hoping that the origins are delved into a little more.
The setting is core within this novel, expanding itself away from the first novel and exploring the deeper galaxy. This book introduces more alien species into the fray, adding a greater context into the story and the understanding of how humans fit in within the world. Sanderson explored the hierarchy within world fantastically, but at the same time adding a much needed depth to the unknown Krell, which within the first novel were surrounded in complete mystery. I enjoyed the setting within this novel, but was left wanting just a little bit more. The world is rich with culture and the various aliens are clear in their differences, however I felt that this book is only the tip of the iceberg, and I would have loved to learn a little bit more about the other races. Especially because the cast of characters is expanded to contain some of these aliens that you meet, and are given a hint of their backstories, influencing their relationships within Spensa. I think this is why I wanted to know more about the species, to gain an even better understanding of how they fit in within the world and to learn a deeper history of their species. My main flaw with the book was the departure from the characters we had got to know within the first novel, who only play a small role within this book. This isn’t a huge complaint but I do worry about how the two groups will mix within the third novel.
I have given this book 4/5 stars and would highly recommended to any fans of Sanderson, specially those who enjoy their Sci-fi stories too!