Cover of Cytonic, featuring a woman with brown hair in a grey jumpsuit crouched down in front of a pink galaxy background.

About the Book

Title: Cytonic (Skyward #3)
Published: 2021
Series: Skyward
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Bowater
BFF Charms: Heck Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: ​​Bottle Episode
Bonus Factor: Found Family
Relationship Status: Adventure Partners

Red alert! Cytonic is the third book in the Skyward series. If you have not read the previous book in this duology (Skyward and Starsight) or the rest of the books in this universe, man your battle stations turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you’re caught up, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Bowater

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Charlie Bowater’s art. I enjoy that she’s become a go-to cover artist in the YA world—she’s so good at capturing emotion and illustrating really striking characters. But this cover is … a little boring? It seems unfinished, like there should be something more above her head. The pose is a little strange, too. Is she sitting? Squatting? Doing the Captain Morgan? I’m left wanting.

The Deal: 

Having escaped into the Nowhere to avoid being captured, Spensa’s about to hyperjump home when she reaches out with her cytonic abilities and discovers another option. There’s a place between the Nowhere and the Somewhere where she might be able to find out more about her cytonics and the Delvers themselves. Never one to shy away from adventure, she takes the leap and finds herself in a strange place outside of time and space—and on a quest along the mysteriously named Path of Elders.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

I continue to be in awe of Spensa’s willingness to put everything—her own life included—on the line for others. Her ultimate quest is to make the galaxy a better place, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that a reality, even if it’s literally jumping into the unknown. I actually felt a stronger connection to her in this book than any other because of the struggles she goes through in making decisions (I hate making decisions); she just felt slightly more real while trying to determine where life will take her next.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Jorgen and Spensa once again spend an entire book apart, but they have a few really sweet moments that have a good amount of swoon. Even though they’re literally in alternate dimensions and have to “feel” each other’s feelings through a mental bond.

Talky Talk: Bottle Episode

Spensa has been obsessed with ancient adventure stories since she was little and her grandmother recited them to her at bedtime. Tales of knights and pirates and epic quests. Cytonic reads much like one of those adventure stories—Spensa’s path has her sailing an ocean, discovering ruins, and battling pirates—and it’s a little like Sanderson wrote this book for her, rather than as a true way of progressing the series’ plot. It felt a little Bridge Book-y, but in a fun, “let’s have a capsule episode” kind of way, rather than an annoying one. Sure, she eventually figures out something that can help in the real world, but it took more than 400 pages to get there.

Bonus Factor: Found Family

Characters Jen Jack and Grams from Dawson's Creek standing together

This trope has already shown up in this series, to delightful effect, but it appears yet again in Cytonic, and makes me think that finding people to bond with is just one of Spensa’s defining characteristics. You wouldn’t think that Spensa would make friends with the folks she does in this book—spoiler alert: they’re pirates who initially take her prisoner—but she does and makes lifelong friends in the process.

Relationship Status: Adventure Partners

I’ve spent two books at your side already, Book, and I’m certainly not giving up now. Our adventures have become even more, well, adventurous, and we’re better than ever at complimenting each other’s strengths. I’m already dreading the fact that we only have one more adventure to go, but I know it’ll be epic!

Literary Matchmaking

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

I’m going to keep recommending these dang books until everyone reads them. Please read them?

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1)

Claudia Gray’s Constellation series has a bit more Romeo and Juliet vibes between the series’ main character and the AI, but it’s still an adventure you won’t want to miss.


Ryan Graudin’s Invictus also leans heavily on “old” stories about adventure and heroic individuals.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Cytonic is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.