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Skyward US Hardcover.jpg
Skyward (series)
Precedes Starsight
Setting Cytoverse
Released November 6, 2018
Publisher Delacorte Press

Skyward is the first young adult novel in a four-part series. It's the second work in the Cytoverse, with the plot taking place centuries after Defending Elysium.[1]

Brandon's premise for the story was "How to Train Your Dragon but instead it's a girl who finds a spaceship and goes to Top Gun school. It's like a mashup between Top Gun and Ender's Game and How to Train Your Dragon with an old broken-down spaceship with a really weird personality."[2]

The book was released on November 6, 2018.[3]

Cover SynopsisEdit

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's- a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight School might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.


Spensa has dreamed of being a pilot since she was a child. Inspired by her father, then fueled with outrage by the DDF's accusations of cowardice following his death, Spensa spends the next decade preparing for the flight school entrance exam. Gaining entrance to the program with the help of her new instructor Cobb, Spensa teams up with nine fellow trainees to form Skyward Flight and battle the Krell, an alien force trying to destroy the Defiant colony. Aided by the mysterious stealth fighter M-Bot, whom she finds abandoned in a cave, Spensa must navigate the pitfalls of flight school, uncover the truth about her father's death, and try not to die at the hands of an enemy starfighter.


Spensa Nightshade
Spensa, callsign "Spin", is the daughter of Zeen Nightshade (callsign Chaser), supposedly a cowardly DDF pilot who abandoned a battle. He always told Spensa: "set your sights on something higher. Something more grand". Spensa fights to be accepted into Flight School, but refuses to give up even in the face of certain failure. She finds an ancient ship, and, with the help and guidance from her friend Rodge, attempts to rebuild it.
Captain Cobb
Cobb, callsign "Mongrel", is Spensa's flight instructor and was her father's wingmate. He stands up to the Admiral on Spensa's behalf and accepts her into his training group.
Rodge McCaffery
Rodge, often called Rig (callsign Rigmarole), is one of Spensa's childhood friends. After dropping out of DDF flight school, he returns to Igneous Cavern and becomes a engineer. He "borrows" parts from the workshop to help repair M-Bot.
Jorgen Weight
Jorgen is the flightleader of Skyward Flight, and was one of only two to graduate to full pilot before the Battle of Alta Second. His callsign, Jerkface, was chosen by Spensa. He grew up in the deep caverns, and is the son of Jeshua Weight, a First Citizen who fought in the Battle of Alta.
Judy 'Ironsides' Ivans
Judy Ivans, callsign "Ironsides", is Admiral of the DDF. She fought in the Battle of Alta. Ironsides tries to deny Spensa Flight School entry, fearing that she will carry the Defect like her father.
Hudiya, callsign "Hurl", was a pilot in Skyward Flight, and was also Spensa's wingmate. She was an athletic girl from Igneous Cavern, and died in battle after refusing to eject from an uncontrolled descent.
Freyja, call sign "FM", is a pilot in Skyward Flight. She was one of only two to graduate to full pilot before the Battle of Alta Second. Freyja is from the deep caverns, and vocally opposes Defiant culture. She identifies as a "Disputer".
Arturo Mendez
Arturo was a pilot in Skyward Flight before his parents pulled him out after Hurl's death. He is from the deep caverns, son of Valda Mendez, and was one of the two assistant flightleaders along with Nedd. His callsign is "Amphisbaena", a type of two-headed dragon.
Nedd Strong
Nedd, call sign "Nedder", was a pilot in Skyward Flight. He was dismissed from the DDF due to absenteeism after his brothers died in battle, and was just barely saved himself when Spensa pulled him to safety. He was one of the two assistant flightleaders, along with Arturo.
Kimmalyn is an enthusiastic girl from Bountiful Cavern, daughter of AA gunners. and was a pilot in Skyward Flight before she quit after Hurl's death. She often makes up wise sayings. She chose "Quick" as her callsign, but it became "Quirk" when her flightmates kept pronouncing it wrong.
M-Bot is the AI in the derelict stealth ship that Spensa discovers. His memory has been corrupted, so all he remembers is his former pilot's last orders: "Lie low, M-bot. Take stock, don't get into any fights, and wait for me here." M-Bot determines that he was sent to categorize fungi. Single-minded in his obedience, he refuses to fight and is obsessed with gathering fungal life from the planet.
Spensa's grandmother was aboard the Defiant and worked with her mother in the engine room. She told Spensa stories of ancient heroes inspiring Spensa's regular use of creative threats.


Skyward is a non-cosmere novel set in the Cytoverse on the planet Detritus.

Writing ProcessEdit

Brandon wrote Skyward in approximately three months, most of that while he was on tour for Oathbringer or on holiday.

Cover GalleryEdit

Interior ArtEdit


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