Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

The basics

Title: Cytonic


Series: Skyward #3

- Skyward (2018)
- Starsight (2019)
- Cytonic (2021)
- Defiant (2023)

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Goodreads Summary:

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa has seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

Here’s our recap of what happened in Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson. Read on for a full plot summary of Cytonic to refresh your memory!

what happened in Cytonic?

  • As Superiority soldiers descend, Spensa takes M-Bot and Doomslug into the nowhere. She communicates with the delver, which tells her to go to a location and walk the Path of Elders.
  • Spensa hyperjumps to the location and lands in a jungle. M-Bot is angry with Spensa and flies off by himself.
  • Spensa finds her father’s pin in her pocket, which definitely wasn’t there before.
  • Spensa asks a cytonic for help and tells it where she is.
  • Spensa is attacked by aliens and is captured. They take the pin off Spensa and start to head to their ship, when their faces start to melt off. They tie Spensa to a tree while they try to stop the melting from happening.
  • M-Bot appears. The aliens flee. A man riding a dinosaur enters the clearing.
  • The man and M-Bot free Spensa from the tree. The man is called Chet Starfinder, and he is the cytonic that Spensa communicated with earlier.
  • The group attacks the alien ship in order to get the pin back then run off into the jungle.
  • Chet doesn’t like M-Bot because he’s an AI.
  • Chet tells Spensa that the Path of Elders is a series of nowhere portals left behind by ancient cytonics. It contains their memories.
  • Chet explains that things from the normal world leak into the nowhere and form fragments. Chet and Spensa almost fall off a fragment but survive.
  • Spensa and M-Bot figure out that Chet is M-Bot’s pilot, as M-Bot crashed landed when Chet entered the nowhere.
  • Spensa tells Chet what they’ve figured out but Chet doesn’t believe them.
  • Spensa sees Jorgen in her dreams, who tells her that the delver is on Detritus. Spensa realises that Jorgen is a cytonic.
  • Chet and Spensa discuss cytonic powers. Chet can visualise the belt in his head. He says there’s a pirate base near where they’re heading, and he wants to steal a ship.
  • Chet and Spensa discuss Paradise Lost. Idk it seems important.
  • They spot weird markings and Spensa thinks they mean something.
  • They find the portal to be locked. Spensa is able to access it through her mind and sees the memories in there. There aren’t any delvers in the memories. She realises how cytonics are made: when the nowhere leaks to somewhere.
  • The fragments start to collide and everything seems a lot more dangerous.
  • Spensa and co observe some pirate pilots, who aren’t great at their job.
  • Chet and Spensa make a raft and make friends with a sea creature.
  • Spensa speaks to Brade in her sleep and tells Brade to stop working with Winzik. Brade refuses and tries to attack Spensa’s mind.
  • Chet tells Spensa she should leave her icon behind, and Spensa doesn’t trusthim so she only pretends to.
  • Spensa goes to steal a pirate ship but finds an alien pilot in the cockpit. It captures her and tries her to a wall. The pirate captain introduces herself as Peg and makes Spensa work for them.
  • Spensa speaks to Chet in her mind and apologises for not trusting him.
  • A human pirate called Maksim tells Spensa about his time enslaved as a pet.
  • Spensa and Peg fight and Spensa wins. Spensa flies off in M-Bot. She finds that her father’s pin is missing.
  • Peg makes a deal with Spensa and gives her a ship. Spensa teaches flying classes in return.
  • Spensa and Chet find another portal and engage with the memories. They see humans using the portal and building structures. This stopped suddenly one day.
  • Spensa is blocked from communicating with Jorgen again by Brade. She sees Winzik sitting on a throne. Spensa and Brade fight through their minds and Jorgen helps.
  • Winzik makes a deal with the delvers.
  • After battling some Jolly Roger pirates, Spensa and the team have to go to their arena. Peg tries to get the other pirates to join them. Spensa helps by telling them the story of a lion prince called Simba and this wins them over.
  • The scanner alarm goes off. A fragment is about to collide with them. They manage to get rid of it.
  • Spensa tells Jorgen what has been happening.
  • Spensa and the other pirate pilots head to Surehold.
  • Spensa senses her pin, which is angry about being buried.
  • There’s a massive fire fight. Hensho attacks Spensa and she sees that he is possessed by a delver. Spensa chases him, shoots at him, and locks his ship up. The delver stops possessing Hensho after asking for a truceand Spensa takes him back to the pirates.
  • Hensho agrees to guard Spensa from now on.
  • The team heads to Surehold and Peg takes control of the base. They decide to set up their own base there.
  • Spensa and Chet discuss the possible truce. Chet doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
  • Spensa communicates with the pin and is able to find it along with another icon. Spensa realises that the pin is Doomslug, who was able to transform into the pin in order to hide.
  • Spensa gives Peg her icon back. Peg tells Spensa that the pirates don’t know that the icons are taynix. Doomslug says only yellow-blue taynix can disguise themselves as objects.
  • Spensa goes to find Chet to complete the Path of Elders. They find the next portal and see a human step through in the memory. A sphere follows, which is home to an AI.
  • Spensa realises that Chet is a delver. Chet is hiding from the other delvers, who want to destroy him. He took on Spears’ personality, which is why he couldn’t remember M-Bot.
  • Spensa realises that the delvers are AI.
  • Spensa learns that the delvers are planning on destroying the station. The pirates have to flee.
  • Spensa and Chet head to the final portal. They enter the memories, which focus on the First Human War. Chet realises he was the AI of a guy called Jason and used to look like Jason’s dead wife. Jason died and Chet was distraught. The AI deleted its own memories and re wrote its own code. It copied itself into thousands of delvers.
  • Spensa has to fight off the present day delvers. Hensho sends out a drone, which the delvers destroy. Chet sacrifices himself to stop the delvers. They chase him and then consume him.
  • Doomslug camoflages the ship as a rock and hides from the delvers.
  • M-Bot flies off to distract the delvers. The delvers destroy his ship.
  • Spensa, Hensho, and Doomslug go into the light burst. Spensa finds Chet amongst the delvers. Their minds merge. The delvers aren’t able to touch Spensa without hurting themselves.
  • Spensa hyperjumps to Detritus and ends up in the caverns. She heads to the meeting room and finds Jorgen in an admirals uniform. Spensa faints.
  • Spensa wakes up next to the conference room. Spensa tells Jorgen what she has learnt. They kiss.
  • Spensa sees Detritus is orbiting a planet.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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