Let me tell you. I'm a 39 year old man. When I heard about this book and its target demo, I had my doubts.BUT I AM SO GLAD I PICKED UP THIS BOOK.Although I'm not a Sanderson fanboy, I have read every book he's written. And, I've largely enjoyed them with a few quibbles here and there with his characterization. And I still have these conflicting emotions with gratitude for him finishing WoT & his utter destruction of Mat Cauthon's character. ANYWAY...This book is probably a top 3 favorite in the Sanderson universe. Easily.First, the world building is amazing. The last vestiges of humankind live on a world called detritus. Forced to live underground because of an enemy who strikes from above, humankind has managed to adapt. Their new society is highly stratified with the military and aristocracy living at the top of the hierarchy. On Detritus, the military are revered because their pilots are the first and last line of defense against the hated Krell.The main protagonist is a wonderful young woman named Spensa, call sign Spin. Spensa has a large chip on her shoulder because her father, a pilot in the defense forces, died a coward. In a major battle that helps shape life on Detritus, her father is seen retreating from the battle before his death bringing shame upon his family. They are rejected from society forced to subsist on the sales of rat meat in their underground city. Because of this stigma--the idea that cowardice is supposedly hereditary--Spensa's dream of becoming a pilot is in doubt. Without giving too much a way, she managed to get into flight school.The flight school portion of the book reminded me of Ender's Game. If I had one mild critique is that Sanderson doesn't really spend a lot of time on the nuts and bolts of this portion of the book. What I mean by that is that flight school lasts a few months. So, basically, random students go from no training to full fledged pilots in a very short period of time. And there are some things that happen within flight school that are not at all realistic in terms of cadet combat. However, I think Brandon's innoculation from the "breezy writing" criticism is that this book is really geared towards young adults so he doesn't really have to spend a lot of time discussing the training and making it a bit more realistic. And so what we get is a very tight narrative that moves us through these plot points relatively quickly.It also allows him to really focus on characterization. One thing I really dislike about sci-fi generally is the tendency to focus on tech, science, and worldbuilding and less on characters from some prominent authors. Brandon clearly wanted to focus on the characters. One thing I liked that fantasy has done WAY TOO much of in recent years is the multiple POVs. In this book, we get Spensa's POV. That's great. She's a fun, smart, and well-written character that you really love. One of the main themes of this book is free will. Do we pay for the sins of our father or can we write our own script, our own story? That's the most salient issue Spensa has to tackle in this book. And so we go through this emotional and intellectual growth of a combative and singularly focused Spensa to someone, who by the end of the book, is much more thoughtful and engaging.So while I loved the single POV, Brandon makes a narrative choice that I hated. Because Spin is the daughter of a traitor, her life in flight school is difficult. And one of the consequences is a distance created by Spin and her flight school colleagues. That's fine. It's a good way to create tension and helps move an important plot point forward. The downside is we get to know very little about her fellow cadets. In future books, I'd love to see a lot more interaction between Rig, Jerkface, Kimmy?, and all the rest. Not necessarily in different POVs but growth together. You get some of that comraderie but no where near enough in my opinion.Ok. I'm rambling. This is a great book. Pick it up. Whether you are a middle aged man or a young adult reading your first sci-fi novel. It's great. You won't be disappointed.One final thing. I'd be remiss not to talk about the final battle. OMG. I mean it's quintessential Sanderson but Sanderson perfected. You sort of know how things will eventually play out very early on but not how the parts will come together. Sanderson certainly didn't disappoint! Great final battle scene. And, he still managed to through a twist or three in the denouement!Good thing Sanderson is a prolific writer because if he weaves this book in between The Stormlight Archive books, man, we are set for a long time! I hear this is going to be a four book series. Can't wait.PS SUZY JACKSON does a remarkable job with the narration on the audiobook! Kudos to whichever editor snagged her for this project.