STARSIGHT by Brandon Sanderson (Book Review)
Starsight is the sequel to Sanderson’s 2018 YA novel, Skyward, which you may remember I also reviewed. I really enjoyed Skyward so I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of the sequel and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. As book 2 is a direct continuation of the story, this review may contain mild spoilers for book 1. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you put this down, go and read it and then come back.
The tone of Starsight is a bit different. Spensa is a bit more mature, a bit less impulsive and therefore not quite as funny, but it makes perfect sense that she would have grown up a bit after the events of the first book. There’s not so much talk of drinking from the skulls of her enemies – but then Spensa has less to prove this time around and less room to manoeuvre as she is thrust into a role that seems contrary to her nature.
The plot took a very unexpected turn early on so I don’t want to say too much about what actually happens so as not to spoil it for you. Some old friends appear in this book (Jorgen, M-Bot, Cobb) but plenty of new people are introduced as well.
The worldbuilding is of the standard I’ve come to expect from Brandon Sanderson, which is to say that it’s excellent. A lot of the underlying story of this book is about not making assumptions and about how our inherent – and often unexamined – biases colour our perceptions of other people, and even ourselves. Spensa grows a lot in this novel, in ways I suspect will be of a lot of help to her people in the future.
The pacing is strong, although slower than the first novel, I still raced through the book in a couple of days. It’s an easy, enjoyable read with some important themes. For all the book is not as funny overall as Skyward was, there are still plenty of light-hearted moments, with M-Bot providing moments of levity while also raising questions about what it means to be ‘alive’.
My one disappointment with this book is that it ends with a cliffhanger and I have to wait ages for the next one…