Cover Image: Cytonic

Cytonic

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Member Reviews

Cytonic is the third book in the Skyward series. I felt the first books in the series were more action packed and this book was more about finding the history with a little bit of action thrown in to keep you reading. Of the three books this was not my favorite but I understand why it was written and I am looking forward to the next book.  I think it also really needs to be noted that the cover art is so eye catching. 3.5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in return for an honest review.
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Brandon Sanderson is a talented, multifaceted writer and with Cytonic, book three of the Skyward series, he does not disappoint. Intriguing characters with a wonderful heroine - if you have not yet had a chance to fall in love with Spensa, you will through this story. While Cytonic is a third in a series, it can also be read as a stand alone - but be warned - you will want to go back and read the other two afterwards, so you may as well begin at the beginning. The universe created in this series is marvelous - the complexity of characters in the universe is wonderful, and the world building and descriptions will make you wish you could go there. You won't be able to let it go.
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Cytonic is the 3rd book in Brandon Sanderson's Skyward series. The story focuses on Spensa's experiences in the Nowhere. We learn a great deal about pirates, the Delvers, the plans of the Superiority, and the Broadsiders. You don't get much of Skyward Flight but there is some holographic interactions with Jorgen. Also M-Bot! He is pretty awesome in this book! A solid addition to the series. I don't usually expect bad to come from Sanderson. I highly recommend this series. Start with Skyward and definitely read the novellas!

Thank you Netgalley for an e-arc of this book.
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***Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.***

I AM STILL SHOUTING FROM THAT ENDING AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

If you haven't picked up this series--a bit of a departure from Sanderson's normal fantasy focus, with some more sci-fi elements in a space setting--YOU ARE MISSING OUT.
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After reading and loving the companion novellas, I can’t help but feel that Cytonic is the b-plot to the Skyward series’ story. This felt overly bloated and lacked enough information for me to really feel like the slog was worth it. The fighters on Detritus are infinitely more interesting to me, and after getting 400+ pages of action and camaraderie in the novellas I realized how much I dislike Sanderson tossing Spensa off into an unknown world in each subsequent book. The Skyward flight and how they play off Spensa is what made book 1 so great! I have heard Sanderson say he tries to keep his YA single perspective, but this series would have been so much better if after the first book we had multiple perspectives. The novellas showed me what books 2 & 3 have been missing, and it’s getting other perspectives and not being trapped in an often boring or seemingly pointless slog with Spensa the whole time.
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Cytonic is the kind of third book that upends everything you’ve thought true about the world it’s set in and leaves you with a whole lot of questions. It’s a wild ride from start to finish, one that’ll make you wonder just what the hell goes on in Brandon Sanderson’s brain to produce all this.

What I’ve loved most about this series so far has been Spensa’s development, particularly in the way she sees the Krell. Firstly, it adds a whole lot of nuance to the series, making it more in depth than your average YA science fiction novel. It—along with many other things about the series—doesn’t feel typical of the genre, making the whole thing a fresh experience, if a slightly strange one at times (let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to open this book to a man riding a dinosaur. Next question, what happened to the dinosaur?).

That’s the kind of scene that really has you questioning what exactly is happening in Brandon Sanderson’s brain. It’s what makes it a very atypical YA read, really. It’s almost more fantasy sci-fi, than hard sci-fi, or even soft sci-fi, which I think is what makes it stand out. That and the directions it takes. A lot of YA is quite… formulaic, and you can kind of see where events are taking you, the overarching plot of it. Not so here. Every time I thought I might have worked out what was going on, another spanner was thrown in the works.

And then? The reveals towards the end? The way this entire series all comes down to being human? The parallels of M-Bot wanting to feel emotions, compared to the delvers and that big twist? It’s just poetic.
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Leaving behind her feud with the intergalactic warlords, Spensa enters a portal where memories and time slip away. As teeming hordes of malevolent entities try to hunt her down, Spena heads deeper and deeper into the Nowhere. Along the way, she encounters pirates, M-Bot, dinosaurs, and many more. Each has their own agenda. Will she accomplish what she came to do? Will she get out before she completely forgets who she is? This Space opera novella is true to Sanderson's other books in this series. The characters are true to the originals and readers will enjoy seeing Spensa's point of view more in depth. The plot is well-developed, action-packed, and engages the reader. Readers who like Brandon Sanderson, science fiction, and adventure will enjoy reading this book.
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Very much enjoyed this one. You can tune in to my full review here - I publish a podcast style long form review of various SFF books: https://youtu.be/lhTwmNJBnss
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The only thing I really need to say is m-bot right?! But really this is another super solid installment in the Skyward series. Every book is such a wonderful complete story on its own but also makes you want more in the series. The OG characters are amazing as always and Sanderson really brings new great characters in with each book! Definitely brush up on the ending of Starsight if it’s been a bit though because you are really dropped right back into the action. I really love this series! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh, Brandon Sanderson, you sly dog. So who saw those twists coming? Not me! Cytonic is the third book in the epic YA sci-fi series Skyward, continuing protagonist Spensa’s journey across the galaxy to save her world from destruction. Along the way, we’re also introduced to an incredible line-up of supporting characters as she goes about forming new alliances left and right, though a few familiar names and faces do show up, and some of them are bringing big surprises, I might add.

Before we begin though, it is important to note this review will likely contain spoilers for the first two books, Skyward and Starsight, as well as possibly the novellas set in the world so far, Sunreach and ReDawn. All the events and characters are connected in some way, so it would be impossible to discuss this book without touching upon the others, and let’s not forget how the previous novel ended on a cruel cliffhanger which saw Spensa pull off a desperate gambit to escape a no-win situation.

The good news is, she made it through to the other side of that mysterious portal in one piece. The bad news is, it has literally landed her in the middle of nowhere. Few have ever returned from this place, known to be the home of the Delvers, ancient extradimensional beings that pose a lethal threat whenever they manifest into physical space. But while Spensa is here, she figures she might as well do some investigating into her surroundings, see if the timeless emptiness will shed some insight on how to complete her mission. A cytonic, she is also not without the skills to utilize the energies of the nowhere, not to mention she’s one hell of a pilot.

As I mentioned, in this book our protagonist is joined by a handful of new allies. In the nowhere, she encounters Chet Starfinder, an explorer of sorts. Together with our old friend M-Bot (because yes, he tags along here as well), they provide much of the comic relief so readers have more to interest them than watching Spensa poke her way around trying to figure things out. Then we also have the Broadsiders, who are essentially space pirates with their own code and unique culture. Luckily for Spensa, they also revere good piloting skills, making her a shoo-in for their clan.

So, yes, there were a lot of fun elements to this book. That said, despite the scenes of heart-pounding dogfights between spacecraft and conversations filled with laugh-worthy banter, there was also much about Cytonic that felt like filler. I couldn’t help but feel it was a step back from Starsight, which as you might recall, I loved because of how ridiculously fast-paced, urgent, and exciting it was. In contrast, Cytonic felt like a very different novel than its predecessors, in that it mainly focuses on Spensa as she embarks on this mini-mission which feels a lot like a side quest in the context of the series’ overall arc. Characters we know and love from before, namely the members of Skyward Flight, are largely absent except for a few stolen moments with Jorgen. Before this, I confess I had been looking upon the Skyward novellas with skepticism, but now I see their purpose may have been to remind us all of the big picture, since what we get in Cytonic is only a narrow slice of the greater conflict at hand.

In many ways, this novel also serves as an information drop. There’s a lot to take in about the nowhere and cytonics, especially towards the end. Spensa also gains a lot of new knowledge about the Delvers and their role in the greater galaxy at large, and how it all relates to the war against the Superiority. And yeah, there were some pretty big bombshells as well. There’s no denying that the scope of the world-building has pretty much exploded with Cytonic, and you can be damn sure it’s all very cool, though just be forewarned if you’re not following carefully enough, it can be easy to get lost or confused.

In terms of the story, admittedly a lot of it smacks of being a bridge book connecting what came before to what’s coming next, but on the bright side, we do see plenty of character growth from Spensa. It’s also always a pleasure to see her relationships with others develop, and of course, new characters mean new kinds of interactions and Sanderson is ever the wiz at creating unique personalities and coming up with brilliant dialogue.

Perhaps most important of all, Cytonic also sets the scene up for great things to come in this next installment. No scream-inducing cliffhanger this time around, thank goodness, but the ending does leave us with plenty of questions that I’m eager to get answers to. This was a great book to get to know Spensa better, but here’s hoping the next one will put us back on the fast track.
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I truely enjoyed this book, just not as much as the first two. It was very much an interlude to tie back to the main story in the final book, which I can't wait for. I found this book to be a bit slower and Spensa to be a bit more aggrivating and indecisive. She eventually gets back on track and the book speeds up at bit when she returns to the air. While there were a whole new cast of characters to get to know, the original characters were missed. I read the two novellas that are out and loved them. I almost wonder how this book would have been if it were multi perspective and went back and forth across space telling the story of both Spensa and her Skyward flight, rather than sticking with Spensa's perspective and using novellas to fill in the gaps. As much as it wasn't my favorite in the series, I still give it 4 stars and can't wait to see where the story goes from here.
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I enjoyed continuing this series, but this was definitely my least favorite of the 3 books(so far). I gave Skyward and Starsight 5 stars , but this one a little less. There were some parts where the setting of Nowhere felt like the plot was slower and a little boring. I still love Spensa's adventure story and plan to continue reading. Can't wait!
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“I now understand the sense of frustration everyone else feels with you! It dovetails perfectly into exasperation, which makes me finally understand why it is people swear at you so much!” 

I am in shambles. I've cried 4 to 5 times reading this.
This book was able to scratch an invisible itch in the back of my brain that I didn't know I needed scratched. The sci-fi aspect was phenomenal as usual. The way the book had delved into history? I love that in ssf, getting to know the world's past but to have it mention our past as well was so beautiful. The book mentions babylon? BABYLON! 

I felt immense joy reading about these characters again, I'd especially missed M-bot, you'd be able to tell if you see how many of the highlights are his lines. I just missed the banter the smart talk, the character interactions and all of it. I've always felt like sanderson writes some of the best characters, and possibly the best interactions between them. 

This instalment was a bit different from the rest of the series but I gobbled it up just the same. There were so many discussions of feelings, their importance, the way we process them, humanity, and just a whole lot other internal thought stuff that I didn't know I needed to read. 

The ending was really satisfying for me, though I have to say, I don't think everyone will think the same. BUT HONESTLY! I feel like everyone would enjoy this series so much! The diversity, the world building, the friendships, the found family aspect? Its all so good.
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I LOVED this book, this author and this series!!!!!!!!!! It's a must have for all classroom libraries! Definitely different your students will enjoy!!! Brandon Sanderson is NOW an AUTOMATIC buy for me!!!!!!!!!!
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Another strong installment by Sanderson in this imaginative and compelling series.

As usual, Sanderson does a great job developing the characters, world, conflict, and plots more in every book in this series. At the beginning, I did miss the flight squad dynamics that were such a standout in the first book - but I was still eager to go on this journey and look forward to the final book!
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Spensa has been hard at work to prevent the Krell, an alien species, from destroying her planet. She has proven herself as one of the best DDF pilots and managed to escape after getting caught spying on her enemies. She knows that the Superiority plans to use Delvers to destroy humanity, but she is determined to stop that from happening.

Cytonic picks up almost immediately where Starsight left off, but it was easy to catch up with what was going on in the book. Spensa lands herself in the Nowhere, a place that defies the rules of time and space. But she must be careful in this place, because she could easily lose all of her memories of home.

Spensa teams up with a mysterious person named Chet early on in the book. The two decide to journey through the Nowhere to learn more about Spensa's Cytonic abilities, and the history of Cytonics as well. The refreshing part of this book is that some of the action in the first half is on the ground. Readers can see what Spensa is still capable of when she's not in pilot mode.

Readers who missed the characters from Skyward will be disappointed. I recall several people having minor complaints about the same thing in Starsight. Spensa has some moments with Jorgen, but they were brief and mostly contained within the book's interludes. However, Brandon Sanderson teamed up with Janci Patterson to release three novellas from different perspectives so readers can see what is happening on Detritus. I personally haven't read them yet, but I think they will fill in some gaps I felt in the story. Sanderson did an excellent job of answering questions posed in previous books while also introducing new ones to lead into the next book. 

Overall, Cytonic was another fun and engaging addition to the Skyward series. It is easily his best young adult series so far. I look forward to seeing where the next book takes Spensa.
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I love Skyward's books and have been completely in love with Cytonic from the beginning. Brandon introduces an interesting new character that changes the course of Spensa's new adventure and leaves the reader trapped in a narrative that is once again as chaotic as the previous books.

While not mandatory, reading the novels Sunreach and ReDawn makes reading Cytonic more complete and fun.

M-bot keeps stealing my heart, and in this book he's discovering what it's like to have human feelings that make him funnier and more real. Your chemistry with Spensa remains great and seeing them understand each other's feelings makes me want to adopt an AI ship all the time.

I like the way each book in this series is set in a different place. I believe that this factor is decisive for the growth of the story and the protagonist.

I love reading this book, it's chaotic, fun, with mysteries and answers that accompany Spensa on a complete adventure. Brandon Sanderson is a master of fantasy.
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This book picks up right where the last book left off. Spensa enters the nowhere with Doomslug and M-Bot in droid form. She is almost immediately attacked by aliens who were exiled to the nowhere for crimes against the Superiority. She is rescued by a fellow cytonic named Chet who believes himself to be a great adventurer, but he can't remember because the longer someone stays in the nowhere the more memories they lose. Chet becomes Spensa's guide to ruins in the nowhere that give them knowledge about cytonics, trains Spensa on how to use her powers, and may hold the key to defeating the delvers.
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Brandon Sanderson is a master worldbuilder, creating wonderful new societies, species, and magic systems for each world he makes. At this, he is one of the best, but with Cytonic—as with Starsight before it—he takes the protagonist Spin completely out of the world she was in before, disconnecting her from most of the other characters and all of her preexisting human relationships. Accompanied by only Doomslug and M-Bot, Spin travels into the nowhere in Cytonic and she doesn’t get home until the very end of the book.

Since M-Bot is the only talking companion who came with Spin, their relationship is one that could progress and be seen throughout the book. And it does, but Spin is terrible friend to M-Bot. She’s always had some issues with her emotions, but it is still a little shocking that she completely disregards M-Bot’s feelings over being taken apart and focuses solely on mapping the world she lands into. If there were a present and immediate danger this might be understandable, but without it…Spin has some pretty unlikeable moments. 

M-Bot, on the other hand, is fantastic. As the Nowhere allows him to develop his emotions, he describes them to Spin and Chet in order to identify them and those descriptions are pure gold. 

Now the confusion…the delvers are copies of a former AI who gained emotions and “humanity” because of its connection with the Nowhere. Said AI lost his human maker right after becoming independent of his programing and didn’t handle it well. He decided to copy himself so he wouldn’t be alone, write his emotions out so he wouldn’t feel the pain of loss, and hide in the Nowhere so nothing would change. Because of the large number of delvers in the Nowhere, they are the force that influences it and the people inside it. This is why people lose their memory and sense of time in the Nowhere. It’s a reflection of the delvers who don’t want to remember or to change (which having time would cause).

That all makes sense. What doesn’t is how the slugs fit into this. Their memory is not affected by the Nowhere and having them (or their waste—brilliant) with you can counteract the effects, but why? Not just because they’re cytonic, because Spin is just as susceptible to the Nowhere as anyone else is. It’s easy, too, to understand why delvers hate cytonics—because every pass through the Nowhere effects it and brings bits of the regular world and time in. But where do the slugs fit in?

Overall, Cytonic is a great book, deepening the Skyward universe by adding a lot more information on the delvers, the Nowhere, and the ban on AIs, but with the entirely new world, it feels like the first book in the series again.
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Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller, and his works should be read by readers of any genre. "Cytonic", book 3 in the Skyward series is no exception to this opinion. It is a fantastic journey, that challenges the assumptions, values, realities, and worldviews (or "universe"-views) of the main characters, Spensa, M-Bot, and Doomslug. Throughout the story, Spensa is molded, shaped, and Cytonicly trained into a more well-rounded "heroine."

The first two-thirds of the book are merely about the journey and Spensas training, while the final third carries universe changing revelations that adequately set up the next book/books in the series. If the reader is a fan of reading a series in chronological order without spoilers, they should follow this format:

- Skyward - Book 1
- Starsight - Book 2
- Sunreach - Novella 1
- Redawn - Novella 2
- Cytonic, before the Epilogue - Book 3
- Evershore - Novella 3
- Cytonic, Epilogue - End of Book 3
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