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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority…


by Brandon Sanderson

Overall Book Review:

Cytonic, the third book in the Skyward series, is the most ambitious book in this series so far. In the second book, Starsight, Spensa left her home world and traveled among the stars. In Cytonic, Spensa and M-bot travel beyond the stars to the Nowhere, a dimension inhabited by the delvers – aliens with the potential to destroy humanity. The technical worldbuilding in this book is fantastic. In addition to exploring the Nowhere, we finally get answers about Spensa’s universe, the origin of cytonics, and the delvers themselves. The level of character building stays consistent with the first two books in the series. Spensa continues to learn and develop as a character, and once again we are introduced to a mostly new cast of secondary characters. Unfortunately, most of the secondary characters are not well-developed; it felt like Sanderson had some roles he needed to fill and quickly threw together characters to fill them. The first 150 pages or so of the book are slow, but after a rough start, the pacing and excitement pick up and stay strong for the rest of the book. But the most satisfying part of Cytonic is that we finally get answers. Enough material is covered that it feels like the final book will be able to cover what it needs to and conclude the series without cramming too much in. I’m excited to read the last book in the series when it comes out.

Content Analysis

Profanity/Language: 7 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore: Characters fight briefly; four instances where a character threatens to shoot another; two instances where a character is captured and tied up; characters are chased by other characters (scene of a few pages); character makes a few hyperbolic bloodthirsty statements about using skulls as goblets, etc., meant to be comical; a character hits another; a character makes a joke about decapitating people; an injury is reported; mention of non-human beings keeping humans as pets/research subjects; mention of scalping; characters fight hand-to-hand; two multipage fights in starfighters using non-lethal weapons; a multipage starfighter duel (not to the death); a character tells a story involving a death; two multipage starfighter fights using lethal weapons; characters attempt to destroy others; a starship is destroyed.

Sex/Nudity: A character thinks another character looks attractive; character makes a joke about removing clothing; a scene occurs where a male character is only wearing a towel (it is largely ignored and no detail is provided); a character thinks another looks kissable; characters kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:

War; death; grief; theft; using humans as research subjects; artificial intelligence.  

Alcohol/Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.