Cover Image: Cytonic

Cytonic

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Now cytonic. Where do I even begin? First of all, Brandon Sanderson has solidified, for many years I will add, that he has a position on top as one of my favourites author and also one of go to’s. This was nothing short of phenomenal and amazing, I absolutely loved it more then I actually expected to. I had a grin on my face when I was reunited with some of my all time favourite characters. This was an amazing amazing instalment, it was the best feeling, truly, to be reunited with some of my most beloved characters again and I cannot wait for the final instalment in the series. 5/5 stars!
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I really enjoyed this one and I cannot wait for the fourth. Brandon Sanderson always does an amazing job and this was no different
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Cytonic is a fast-paced adventure for the third instalment of the Skyward series. What the book does really well is pivot into an entirely new physical environment, pushing the main character to develop herself and her powers in new ways while beginning to answer overarching mysteries of the series. It must be read as part of the series and can’t stand alone without the other books, but as is typical for Brandon Sanderson, the book’s sub-plot is resolved in a satisfying manner by the end. I would recommend it as a fun and challenging science fiction YA !
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I received an ARC of Cytonic from Random House Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. 

The third volume in Sanderson’s Skyward series picks up exactly where Starsight left off, with Spensa entering the Nowhere; although the story continues uninterrupted, Sanderson again switches genres, which has proven to be the biggest strength of this series. But a fresh story structure is about all Cytonic has going for it—after Rhythm of War, a serious contender for the best book Sanderson has published, Cytonic is a shocking low that ranks among his worst. 

Let’s start with the good: the genre switch. This is still science fiction, of course, but whereas Skyward was a mystery and Starsight was a political thriller, Cytonic is first and foremost an adventure story. Sanderson is able to utilize his skills as a fantasy writer more than ever before in this series, and he does so to create a quest narrative—you can almost hear The Lord of the Rings echoing between the lines of Cytonic. It doesn’t entirely work on its own terms, but the mere fact that it’s different from Skyward and Starsight revitalizes the series yet again. 

The story doesn’t entirely work because it’s too slight. Cytonic feels like a novella that was stretched out to novel length, and it suffers for it; it feels like a bridge between books two and four rather than an essential entry in a four-part sequence (Skyward was originally planned as a trilogy, and I wonder if the series is now paying the price for its expansion). There aren’t enough characters to fully engage its themes, and the characters we do get aren’t given enough space in the story to earn their arcs. Cytonic just doesn’t have much meat on the bone. 

What makes this especially disappointing is that, on a thematic front, Cytonic touches on something truly exciting. This is a book not about how stories shape us, but about how we choose stories to shape us. Characters in Cytonic are in constant conversation with the myths and legends (many of which come from our own world—this is where the series really benefits from not being set in the Cosmere, and where Cytonic in particular benefits from having its roots in fantasy) that have formulated their identities and worldviews, and that’s incredibly interesting! But this theme is never fully unpacked, and I was ultimately left unsatisfied. 

I was also frustrated by the quality of the prose. I’ve never particularly enjoyed Sanderson’s writing on a sentence-by-sentence level, but it has been thrilling to witness the consistent improvement throughout his career; Rhythm of War was the first time I found his prose to be a genuine pleasure to read. But Cytonic lands on the other end of the spectrum—it brings out the worst from Sanderson as a writer, and although it gets better after the grating opening chapters, it’s still a startling drop in quality from his other recent work. His habit of attaching words like “however” and “unfortunately” to sentences like unwelcome barnacles continues unabated. 

Cytonic has left me trepidatious for the fourth and final volume in the Skyward series, especially given that Calamity, the conclusion to the Reckoners series, is probably the weakest Sanderson book I’ve read. Although compelled by Cytonic’s thematic concerns, its twists and revelations fell flat for me, and I was wholly underwhelmed by Spensa’s journey in the Nowhere. I can only hope Sanderson will lean into the greatest strength of the Skyward series and shift genres once again for the tentatively-titled Defiant.
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I don't know what it is, but Mr. Sanderson's young adult series start out strong for me only for me to lose interest among books two to three. I just couldn't pay attention to this book. It definitely expands more into the alien world that Mr. Sanderson is working to create. He is a fantastic world builder. I just couldn't bring myself to care or pay attention. I am ashamed to admit I skimmed most of what I read.

It's still actiony and cool and I think will appeal to the age of readers that it's aiming at. I think this may be where I throw in the towel in my mission to read all of Mr. Sanderson's books. HIs adult books work much better for me.
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In Skyward the reader explored Detritus, Spensa’s home planet and in Starsight the Superiority’s planet of Starsight. Cytonic takes place entirely in the Nowhere, providing a detailed picture of this space and what it means to those who are cytonic.

I love Brandon Sanderson and the Skyward Series is one I recommend to others when they’re looking for new reading material. And there is much to praise about Cytonic. A new cast of characters fleshes out this alien space, most notably Chet and Peg. M-Bot and Doomslug return as do a few old favorites. The Nowhere is also an incredibly well-imagined space that is full of danger and wonder. It’s not surprising that Spensa felt like she was in one of her Gran-Gran’s stories when she was exploring each fragment. The biggest aspect to praise is that a number of answers are revealed, particularly the origin of the Delvers.

However, since the story follows Spensa, the reader misses out on old characters, like Jorgen, FM, Kimmalyn, and the allies Spensa found at Starsight. In addition, there’s little information about what is happening in the Somewhere and how Brade and Winzik are attempting to consolidate power after the coup. Novellas Sunreach, ReDawn, and Evershore have been written to fill in many of these gaps since they are told from FM’s Alanik’s, and Jorgen’s perspectives, respectively. But I definitely missed them as I read through Cytonic.

Cytonic was also a much more introspective journey while the previous two installments featured a great deal of action. Taking this direction provided an exploration of Spensa’s character and how she has been forged in the circumstances set before her. Though there were parts in this novel that read a bit slower, the final third ramped up into an explosive conclusion.

Overall, I loved what Cytonic offered to the Skyward Series. While this did feel like the penultimate novel, it has certainly set a number of interesting pieces on the board for Sanderson to play with in the final installment!
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The next installment in Brandon Sanderson’s “Skyward” series picks up exactly where the last one left off. Honestly, I had a hard time re-immersing myself into this world at first. Part of the problem with ending a book on a cliffhanger is that when you start the next book, you have to jump into the middle of things, and I don’t know about anyone else but I have a hard time remembering the exact situation that was going on in a series, especially after a cliffhanger, unless I’m going straight from one to the next. I had to read a summary online to get up to speed. But once I’d done that, I was sucked in by the fast pace, the action, the imaginative setting, and the characters. 

I like that each book in this series feels completely different from the last. The first was “outsider girl defies the odds” with a side of military action, at least at first. The second had a lot of intrigue, with Spensa spying and infiltrating the enemy. This one is more of an out-and-out adventure and quest novel. Each successive book also reveals a new setting with its own unique rules and attributes. And because it’s Sanderson, every layer of worldbuilding is impeccably well-crafted. 

As the series progresses, Spensa continues to show remarkable character growth. She was borderline unlikeable in early parts of book one, but she slowly learned and grew and became a more well-rounded person, and her introspection and growth continues in this installment as she recognizes her flaws and works to overcome them. Her capacity for change is what makes her relatable and human, and that changeability becomes the key to everything. 

Representation: People of color as major side characters. (Does it count as non-binary rep if the only NB character is an alien? Not sure. Either way, there’s a very minor mention of a character with they/them pronouns)
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Brandon Sanderson never disappoints, and the latest novel in his Skyward series is everything I expected it to be: exciting, fast-paced, and full of twists and turns that I never saw coming. Spensa and gang are on a new adventure, and I cannot wait to see where this goes next. Go Doom Slug!
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As someone who reads all things Brandon Sanderson, I was more than thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy of Cytonic. At the end of Skyward, Spensa hyperjumps into the nowhere. It is here that Cytonic begins. Spensa is introduced to a new character in the series, Chet Starfinder, a swashbuckling adventurer attuned to her style. Spensa is tipped by the rogue delver from Skyward to begin a journey on something called "The Path of the Elders"--a quest to find answers to the delvers' origins. Chet accompanies Spensa on this mission in this very strange and foreign landscape--a place where space time is ball of confusing, timey wimey stuff. It is certainly different from the first two installments of the series, but I feel like this could be one of Sanderson's most ambitious works to date. He goes to great lengths to incorporate an accurate depiction of space time. It reminds me of the movie Interstellar. I definitely applaud him for his thoroughness in this endeavor, because it is no small feat. While the story maybe deviates from the other two installments, it still has all the classic elements that Brandon Sanderson fans will love--humor, fantastic world-building, and lovable characters (I mean who doesn't just love Doomslug, am I right?). Definitely worth the read and another great installment in Sanderson's works.
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Spensa is trapped in the Nowhere and to get back to home she has to learn to hone her cytonic powers. She's a natural born leader and people are drawn to her so it's no surprise that she starts to amass people in the Nowhere that respect her. I can see where these alliances and her ability to unify people from across the vastness of space and all the places in between will eventually rally the universe against a common enemy. But is the common enemy the Delvers or the Superiority?
This whole series is absolutely fantastic so far and I have HIGH expectations for the novellas and additional books in the series. Sanderson has amazing world and character building skills. These books are faced past, but no so fast that you get lost in the plot.. Can't recommend this book, and the rest of the series, enough!
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Cytonic is the next-up novel in the Skyward Series -- and it is a delightful departure from Skyward and Starsight. In a desperate move to save herself, Doomslug and M-Bot, Spensa crashes into the void and embarks on a journey to learn more about her cytonic powers, the Delvers and find a way to save her people from the Superiority. Cytonic continues to thrill with skirmishes with pirates, new (and mysterious) characters, and of course high-stakes piloting. What is different in this novel is the focus on the cytonic origin story -- Spensa must be brave enough to follow a path few have taken (and face the wrath of the Delvers) while wrestling her own feelings of sacrifice and yearning. Cytonic is a great read in an overall captivating galactic story!
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4.5 for sure, as Sanderson continues the phenominal content in his YA series! 

We meet up with Spensa and crew embarking on a bold new frontier when Spin is forced to face her growing power, her convictions, and her friendships.

Sanderson real strength is his ability to create realistic characters... people that we can see develop and change as we identify with them... and put them in otherworldly situations. I will look forward to the rest of Spensa's journey as I do all of his works!
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This book was a really fun read. I like Skyward less than I like a lot of Brandon Sanderson's other series, but it is still great. This has a very different feel from the other books in this series, and I kind of liked his ability to tell a totally unique story as part of the bigger arc.
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Another one of my most anticipated releases! Very happy to have had the chance to review this e-arc! This picks up right where Starsight left off and does quite start with a bang. I dove into this without any predictions or expectations whatsoever and it ended up being...alright. This review will contain mild to no spoilers for the previous book.

Let’s start first with what I liked about this installment:

Cytonics - well, as the title suggests, we will get to know more about them here. This was a very interesting part of the book and also a factor to what made it fun.
New setting - if you’ve read Starsight then you know where Spensa is. Around 98% of this book is set there and nowhere else. Cytonic is quite like an exploration of it; if you want to see and know more of the cytoverse then this book is not short on that.
New characters - we meet another ragtag bunch! And they are very much unexpectedly endearing! Their dynamics are not so different to that of Skyward Flight.
Action - similar to the previous books. Fast, fun, and yes do expect more Spensa antics.
Twists - awesome! I did not see that coming. I didn’t even have a hunch! That may be a me thing though! I still found it pretty cool nevertheless.
Conclusion - it was fitting and satisfying and I am the more excited for book 4!
What I did not like:

Dialogue - some made me cringe? Although I had my issues with the dialogue since book 1. It has toned down gradually though but still noticeable.
Plot - my biggest setback was probably this one. Compared to the others, this didn’t thrill me as much? It was...okay, just weaker which brings me to my next points.
Stakes - this was addressed in text actually but I still could not deny the fact that I was underwhelmed. Since I found the plot weak, and felt like there wasn’t much to follow, the stakes didn’t feel high in this book. I guess this could also explain why I didn’t experience the same buzz I did in the previous installments. Also, I thought things escalated too quickly. There wasn’t enough build up to feel excitement to certain plot points.
Characters - I did mention the new characters were great, but a lot of them weren’t really fleshed out here in my opinion; some side characters could use more depth. Doesn’t mean they weren’t fun additions.

Overall, Cytonic wasn’t bad! Maybe I just really expected more, considering how Starsight ended. This was still a very fun, engaging, and surprisingly fast read with characters that were a joy to read about and spend time with.

Review to be posted on my blog closer to publication date!
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OVERALL:
A fun read! Follow Spensa, M-Bot, and a new friend Chet as they reveal the mysteries of the Nowhere and discover how the delvers came to be.

SUMMARY:
Following the events of Starsight, Spensa finds herself in the outer edges of the Nowhere with only M-Bot (as a drone) for company. She immediately runs into an adventurer named Chet, who tells her about the Path of Elders--a series of messages left by ancient cytonics. Spensa sets off to travel the Path, delaying her return in the hopes that she can learn to fully control her powers and shift the tide of the battle back home on Detrius.

CHARACTERS:
Spensa continues to be our POV character in this entry. She matures a lot over the course of this novel, learning to view the large picture of the cosmic conflict and her place in it. She is accompanied by M-Bot, who is evolving and developing emotions, and Chet, a cheerful rogue who has no memories left due to his time in the Nowhere. Spensa eventually joins a faction of Nowhere inhabitants as they try to take over a Superiority mining base, and the reader is introduced to more interesting alien races. 

WORLDBUILDING:
Cytonic does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to expanding the world. The outer rim of the Nowhere is a completely different place from the endless void filled with delvers Spensa knew before. It is a fever dream of a place filled with floating chunks of different worlds, where you lose your memories and all sense of time. There, we meet a few new alien species, learn the history of the first cytonics, and discover the origin of the delvers. There is a lot going on, but Sanderson parses the information in digestible well-paced bits.

PLOT/PACING:
Spensa has trouble keeping track of time passing in the Nowhere, making the pacing feel quick. She occasionally checks in telepathically with Jorgen on Detrius, which helps her (and the reader) keep track of how much time has passed and provides a sense of urgency. There is a lot going on in this book, but the goal of traveling the Path of Elders helps keep the story on track. I was anxious for Spensa to return to Detrius and the fighting there, but the story told in Cytonic helped broaden the scope of the conflict and give Spensa new priorities.
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This book took me a while to get into.  I loved the first book in the series and have loved each book since a little less. It was right around the 80% mark where I finally felt that yes this is what I have been waiting for.  Spensa is in the Nowhere and has to find a way to get home.  She learns much about herself along the way.  

Long live Doomslug( my favorite character)
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Slower than the first two books in the series, but a fun adventure in its own way, complete with Sanderson's characteristic humor and world building. Another reviewer likened this installment to The Empire Strikes Back, and I have to agree: this book sees Spensa separated from most of her friends, save her trusty sidekick M-Bot, now in drone form. Under the tutelage of a mysterious, quirky guide, Spensa must follow the Path of Elders to unlock the secrets of cytonics (insert Yoda/Luke comparison here). 

Highly recommend for all Sanderson fans.
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It was harder for me to get into this book for the first 30%. This isn’t my favorite Sanderson series, but it’s Sanderson so of course I’m going to read and enjoy it.

Once I did get more invested in the story, things picked up and I couldn’t wait to finish it. The area where this series really shines for me is the plot twists near the end of each book. Every time I finish the book going, “What?!?” and eagery waiting for the next installment to answer all of my questions.

With each book I grow to appreciate the characters and their uniqueness a little more. I also really like this book for its originality. Sanderson is really good at being creative and original, and that makes this book stand out even if it’s not my favorite.

Another reason I may have had trouble getting into it is because it’s unpredictable and I don’t know where the book is going. At the beginning, I was wondering what the point of the plot was and everything seemed really bizarre. I should have known not to doubt the author. Although at times certain things in this book seem random, everything always wraps up and loose ends are tied together neatly. There is always a reason for everything, even if I don’t understand at the time.

All in all, if you enjoyed previous books in the swries you will love this one! I am looking forward to the next book.

I was provided with an eARC from the publisher through Netgalley, This is an honest review.
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Sanderson tells a good story.  Cytonic and the story of Spensa is no different!  I loved getting to go on adventures with Spensa, in places and ways she didn't even know were possible.
I was having trouble remembering where the previous book left off, but Sanderson did a great job of filling in any holes in my memory.
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I was giving this ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!

Cytonic is the third installment in Skyward series by Brandon Sanderson. After infiltrating the Superiority, defeating a Delver, and being discovered, Spensa jumps into the Nowhere. Without giving away spoilers, we follow Spensa on her journey to discover what Cytonic really is and what that means for her. 

I have been a massive fan of these books since they were released. And this one just fell a little short for me. I still really enjoyed it, but it didn't capture the feeling of the first book or even the second book. I wasn't a huge fan of Chet from the beginning, and M-Bot's character arc wasn't my favorite either. I loved him being the witty little spaceship. Spensa is still a badass and I still really love her character. I can't wait to see how the series concludes in the next book! I'm still a huge fan of this series, but this one was a 3/5 for me.
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