Sunreach: Of Slugs and Space Travel

It has been a hot minute since we talked about Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series. Now we’ve got not one, but three books to talk about. Two of ’em are novellas, yes, but books are books. And there’s a fourth one on the way!

Has F.M. always been blonde? Have I just not been paying attention? Or has it just been two years since I’ve read these books?

Kicking off right in the climax of Starsight, we join our leading lady, F.M., as she witnesses the brief return of the Delver in orbit of Detritus. Shortly afterwards, she joins up with flight-leader Jorgen and Rig to discover the secret of hyperdrive technology: the Tanix slugs. But time is not on their side; as the hostile Superiority closes in on humanity’s only potential allies, can F.M. and the others discover how to control the warping slugs in time?

As the central star of the book, F.M. is a bit of a letdown. Not to say that she’s bad; she leads the story fairly well. Someone who has experienced the horrors of animal experimentation set in charge of animal experimentation, struggling to keep said experiments humane, is an interesting concept. Unfortunately, that concept is barely focused on. Instead, we focus on how she likes to listen to old music and her lovey-dovey side.

Speaking of which: the romance. It’s… fine. Not exceptional, not terrible. It’s certainly better than the Wheel of Time series, so it’s refreshing after binging three of those in a row. But it isn’t great. It’s your classic teenage ‘will-they-won’t-they’ lovey-dovey stuff. Maybe I’m just bitter and lonely, so I can’t appreciate it. I didn’t hate it, I just wish it didn’t take center stage in the story.

Although I do love Rig. He’s a cute little nerd and he deserves the world.

What I don’t hate, and in fact love, is all the stuff with the slugs. The Tanix aren’t just the most adorable little fuckers you’ll ever experience in a sci-fi book. They’re also the most compelling part of the story! Watching our heroes experiment in a variety of ways to figure out how their Cytonic powers work is both incredibly fun and interesting! When that was the focus, this book was incredibly engaging! Not to mention highly hilarious!

Oddly enough, I found those scenes far more engaging than the action scenes! Sure, the space battles are still fairly exciting. I mean, who doesn’t love a battle between space ships? But they didn’t feel especially engaging this time around. Even with all the fun space-slug shenanigans and the giant space monster set piece at the end.

From my harsh critiques, you might expect that I didn’t like this book. But quite the opposite. I did find Sunreach to be a highly enjoyable read! It’s a fun little appetizer before the third book in the main Skyward series. But in the end, that’s all it really is. An appetizer. That, and a set-up for the next novella, Re:Dawn.

If you absolutely love the Skyward series, then you should definitely read Sunreach. If you’re only a casual fan, then you can go straight to book three. Sunreach is definitely a good book; flawed, but good. Still, it isn’t a required read for the series.

Although you might have some catching up to do when you read Cytonic if you skip it.

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