I’ve already voiced my love of Brandon Sanderson books and I really will try to look at this as objectively as possible but that doesn’t stop me from reading EVERYTHING Sanderson writes.
That being said, I’m also not much of a YA reader because, even when I was the target demographic, I thought most of it was a little too fluffy for me. Of course I was reading Lord of the Rings at eleven so I’m probably just weird. That being said, a lot of the things that bother me about YA are not in this novel.
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.
Example one: there is no romantic subplot. Like, nothing. It’s only the first book in a series so maybe there will be in the future–and I can certainly see the potential for that to happen–but at least for this book I didn’t have to deal with that.
Example two: there are actually consequences to making stupid decisions. Characters die in this book, even part of the main group (I won’t get into any further detail for obvious reasons). There is even a bit of heartbreak. Throughout this novel I was trying to predict some twist ending that would justify one character’s actions but it turns out he was just kind of a vindictive person and now those who knew him have to live with what he did.
Example three: not all of the action is left to the last couple chapters. There are SO MANY FIGHTS! It’s awesome and the best part is it never got boring–partly because of the very real consequences I mentioned. I have a soft spot for spaceships fighting though; I blame my mother for getting me into Star Wars at a young age.
Bonus: there’s a funny, and sometimes sarcastic AI. Sanderson’s humor usually fits my own pretty well so this just added to my enjoyment. For example:
Just for that, I shall hunt your firstborn and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!M-Bot yelling to its enemies in battle
And the best part? There’s going to be more books because Sanderson is incapable of writing one book and leaving it alone. Not that I entirely mind.