YA Weekend Audio: Evershore by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Series: Book 3 of Skyward Flight Novellas
Publisher: Listen Library (December 28, 2021)
Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
Narrator: Suzy Jackson
Everything I had felt was lacking in Cytonic, like the heart-pounding scenes of ship-to-ship combat or the easy conversations and camaraderie between the pilot characters, etc. managed to all find their way into Evershore, apparently. While in the main series, Spensa is working to free herself from the extradimensional limbo known as the Nowhere, her friends back at Detritus have been having a hell of a time with their own problems in this third and final volume of the Skyward novella spinoff trilogy.
This time, we follow Jorgen as he attempts to pick up the pieces following the disaster and chaos resulting from Superiority treachery. With no time to grieve everyone that he has lost, he is thrust reluctantly into a position to lead his team on another mission to intercept a strange signal from the planet Evershore, where they also hope to rescue two of their own.
Upon their arrival, the squad make contact with the world’s diminutive inhabitants, a race of small foxlike creatures called the Kitsen. Outside of the collective, the Kitsen nonetheless understand the threat of the Superiority and what it would mean for them if the enemy continues its relentless conquest across the galaxy. Still, would that be enough for the Kitsen to agree to an alliance? Within their ranks, there are factions that want to work with Jorgen and his team, while others are not so convinced of the humans’ trustworthiness.
For Jorgen fans, Evershore will be a treat. After the events of the previous novella ReDawn, that we would be getting an in depth look into the life of the DDF pilot known as “Jerkface” seemed like a foregone conclusion. His POV and development is needed now more than ever, as the series reaches its climax and end, requiring a strong lead character to bring it all together. Jorgen has always been a powerful presence in the main series, even if he isn’t the most interesting, but I have to say he impressed the hell out of me in Evershore. It took a long journey to get here, one full of struggle and strife, but I think the character has finally come into his own, and I am grateful that these novellas got to let us see that.
We also had a very action-oriented story. I don’t typically expect much out of novellas that take place outside of a main series, as in my experience a lot of them end up being throwaway side stories that are entirely optional—and unfortunately, most of the time that is also reflected in the effort put in. These novellas, however, are a rare exception. After finishing ReDawn, I decided to change my verdict about these books from a “maybe” to a “must-read” if you’re invested in the Skyward series. You’ll still be fine reading the main novels without them, but there is so much taking place in these novellas, it would be a shame not to learn more about what’s happening in the background or what Spensa’s friends might be up to while she’s off gallivanting in the Nowhere—especially since we’re seeing so much action here. These books also go into a lot more detail about Cytonics and their powers, which is another reason to pick them up if you want the full picture.
I also think Janci Patterson found a good rhythm with Evershore. It’s still apparent to me that she was responsible for much of the writing for these books, with Brandon Sanderson taking on more of a background role, but she’s done a superb job nailing the most important elements, such as the vividness of the world-building and the imaginative prose required to bring some of these new worlds and aliens to life. The character of Jorgen was also well handled, the internal conflict within him explored without getting too contrived or angsty. Patterson seemed to take well to writing about him, and we got the usual fantastic banter between him and his fellow squad mates as they rallied around him to help achieve their goals.
All in all, I have to say this was a great trilogy of novellas, and Evershore was probably the best of the three books, both in the way the story arc culminated and also in the depth of the emotions and conflicts where were at the heart of it.
Audiobook Comments: I do love Suzy Jackson’s narration and she’s excellent as Spensa in the main series, though I probably would have used another narrator here, as each of these novellas follow a different character and someone else for Jorgen might have felt more immersive. On the other hand, I can also understand why they would have wanted to keep the reader consistent, and a voice talent like Suzy Jackson is an asset to all the Skyward books.