Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Skyward Book Poster Image
Sci-fi space adventure off to a high-flying start.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Skyward plays a little fast-and-loose with its science, but it does give a sense of what a futuristic space battle might be like. The narrative provides opportunities to discuss the nature of heroism.

Positive Messages

Perseverance is often the key to success. Someone who seems to act like a coward might actually be brave.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sansa starts out cocky, sure that she'll become a space pilot on the first try. As she competes for a spot, she learns that she needs to reassess her skills and learn to work as part of a team. She especially bristles at being called a coward.


Many battles between spaceships, in which some important characters perish. But no graphic bloodshed.


Minor flirting between cadets.


Small amount of swearing, limited to perhaps to a dozen uses of "damn." The characters use "scud" as an all-purpose expletive.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skyward is the futuristic space adventure focused on the training of fighter pilots. Written by Brandon Sanderson (Steelheart), it's the first of a planned trilogy, and it features many battles against alien pilots. Some key characters perish, but there's little actual bloodshed. Swearing is limited to perhaps a dozen uses of "damn," the characters preferring "scud" as an all-purpose expletive. Sexual content is limited to vague flirting.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySarah Lotte October 20, 2019


I loved this book. It shows the story of a girl willing to do anything to succeed at her dreams. Though it never says it in the book it's clear 2 character... Continue reading
Adult Written byStudiousStudent January 8, 2019

Loved This Book

This book was excellent. Anyone who's read a Brandon Sanderson novel knows how amazing his world-building skills are. The characters were well developed, t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBookish_Elves February 17, 2020

This Book Was SCUDDING Amazing!!!

I absolutely fell in love with Skyward! This science-fiction book kept me on the edge of my seat! I could never guess the plot twists correctly and there was a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFinally Literate December 26, 2020

What's the story?

At the beginning of SKYWARD, would-be space pilot Sansa wants nothing more than to prove that she's capable of battling the alien hordes that want to destroy the human inhabitants of the planet Detritus. Everyone believes that Sansa's father was a coward and a traitor, but she's determined to demonstrate that they're mistaken and that she'll be able to restore her family's honor. Her biggest advantage is the discovery of a better spacecraft abandoned generations ago. If Sansa can refurbish M-Bot, she and her compatriots stand a chance of fending off extinction.

Is it any good?

Space battles don't always work well in prose, but this sci-fi adventure adds a human dimension that will keep the pages turning. Would-be pilot Sansa is an engaging protagonist: gutsy and determined, if more than a bit stubborn and quick to make snap judgments. The supporting cast is diverse and interesting.

Author Brandon Sanderson does a good job of choreographing the space battles, so that the reader knows what's happening and what the stakes are. But the book seems longer than it needs to be, and some of the revelations at the end feel rushed. Readers who enjoy Ender's Game wil likely appreciate Skyward and look forward to the saga's next installment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Skyward addresses the nature of courage and cowardice. What makes someone a hero or a traitor?

  • Skyward features a battleship equipped with artificial intelligence. Do you think computers will ever be able to think as humans do? What differences might there be between a human brain and a computer?

  • If humanity ever encountered aliens, what differences might there be between them? What qualities make a human?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

Themes & Topics

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