Review: STARSIGHT by Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 461
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Series: SKYWARD, Book 2
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It

Warning: Spoilers ahead for book one, SKYWARD!  Haven’t read it?  Read a full review here!

43979540A year ago, Spensa’s biggest concern was successfully becoming a fighter pilot, proving to the people of her homeworld once and for all that, despite her father’s actions years ago, she is not a coward. Since then, she’s found a crashed alien ship with an illegal AI, repaired it back to fighting condition, led a successful defense of her homeworld from the alien Krell forces, and uncovered that the Krell’s are using the planet as a prison/nature preserve for the human race, who have been deemed too dangerous to partake in galactic society. To top it off, Spensa also unlocked a telepathic ability that not only lets her hear alien transmissions, but gives her ship the ability to hyperjump across the galaxy.  Problem is, she hasn’t been able to replicate that jump since her first accidental use of the skill.  When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the Krell and potentially learn how they travel the stars, Spensa takes it without a moment of hesitation.   But if she doesn’t successfully figure out how to fully unlock her abilities, she may never be able to return home…

This is one of the harder reviews I’ve had to write, because I genuinely enjoyed going into the story blind.  In true Sanderson-fashion, STARSIGHT zigs when you think it will zag, and the story that I got was not at all what I expected.  So at the risk of being frustratingly vague about the plot itself, suffice it to say that STARSIGHT continues fleshing out the world-building of SKYWARD.  There are delightful new companions to take on this adventure, and plenty of reveals that, on retrospect, were hidden in plain sight.  And once again, Sanderson plays with a constant theme of his, that of confirmation bias.  It is a recurring motif that Sanderson knows what his readers expect of a plot and endlessly shows you just how wrong your were in your assumptions, that all those details you thought proved one thing, actually proved something completely different.

We also get to see continued growth for Spensa.  Although she’s learned the difference between cowardice and caution, she still acts recklessly when she thinks she is only risking her own life.  Her journey here is learning that she needs to be a leader, to take ownership of how her actions affect her squadmates and the galaxy at large.  Oh, and she also has to deal with the crippling fear that her new abilities might accidentally release a monster that will destroy all life in the galaxy.  No big deal.

I will say, for me personally, I didn’t feel this book was quite on the same level as SKYWARD, which is to say this book was “only” great instead of amazingly fantastic.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that even though there was incredible world-building, it felt like a few beats were similar retreads from book one, something that may not bug others like it did me.  In particular, Spensa’s doggedness when she latches onto an idea results in that emotion being mentioned just a hair too much, though the eventual payoff is good.  Additionally, a subplot played out in interludes didn’t quite land for me, even though it will have a definite impact on the story going forward.

At the end of the day, if you enjoyed SKYWARD, you will enjoy STARSIGHT!  The book ends at a breakneck speed, catapulting the story in another trajectory that will make book three a completely different animal than book two, and I’m excited to see where the world goes from here. Sadly, with Sanderson jumping back into THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES, it will be a beat before we see this series continue, but when he’s ready to return, I will be here waiting!

11 thoughts on “Review: STARSIGHT by Brandon Sanderson

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  1. This was so good! I actually liked it more than the first one, because holy crap the feels…especially the climactic battle at the end. I did miss the old gang though, but the new alien characters were amazing. Sucks about that cliffhanger!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting. I think this book’s biggest weakness was that we lost all the characters from book 1, basically, but apart from this, I thought it better than Skyward. The world is bigger, the stakes higher, and the emotion so much stronger. I loved it, myself! Can’t wait for book 3!

    Liked by 1 person

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