Friday, May 9, 2014

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


Author: Brandon Sanderson
Release: September 24th 2013
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Reckoners trilogy
Sequels: Firefight (#2), Calamity (#3)


There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. 

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. 

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.


Ah, so refreshing, so uniquely different, I just ... I honestly feel like I've just walked through a field of daisies in pure sunshine after having been confined in a wet, murky prison for a year. Such a satisfying read.

This book has been getting crazy good reviews left and right, people practically throwing themselves at you telling you how good it's been, and naturally, it has made me very wary, to say the least. I've approached with caution, although not too much of it — I still had sky high expectations for it, because I know Brandon Sanderson is a very experienced and successful author, so I would expect nothing less than something really good from him. Sadly, this is only my first novel by him, but I do intend to read others as well. 

Anyway, obviously, this book has not disappointed me at all, and even more, I am now one of those people that are going to be tripping over myself in my haste to get you to read this book, if you know what's good for you. Seriously, if you're tired of the same old, same old, then try this. You won't regret it.

But why exactly am I so happy I've found this gem? Well, it's because I was finally proven completely and utterly wrong. You know how sometimes in books, you have a suspicion what the catalyst, plot twist or whatever, is going to be pretty early on, and then when it's revealed, it's exactly as you thought it would be, or still so unsurprising it's really underwhelming? Well, the same started with this book, but. My suspicion didn't turn out to be right, and then Sanderson threw in some more unexpected plot twists that just turned my brain to mush.

Honestly, I am so happy that, for once, a book managed to surprise me so much, since that has become more and more of a rarity, which is quite sad. I love it when there's some punchline that simply knocks you over completely, leaves you with a split lip and a black eye, and then continues to drag you onwards but really, you're not complaining because you're absolutely loving the ride. 

Am I bad at metaphors? Whatever, so is our protagonist, David. All of his personality quirks and gimmicks made him truly stand out in the big sea of heroes, I think he really is one of a kind and not a character that I will forget quite so soon. I loved how relatable he was, while at the same time, he was so abstract and ... untouchable. I couldn't even begin to fathom what went on in his head sometimes, but I still felt, and feel, that I actually know the guy by heart. It's such a nicely played relationship for your reader to have with the protagonist, and I think it's only Sanderson's expertise that enabled him to successfully pull this off. Whatever it was, David was one of the best narrators I have come across lately.
As was the rest of the characters however, they all had that little something that made them stand out in a way, made them memorable so that you can build a connection to them and you get attached to them. Tia's cola addiction, Prof's isolation, Abraham's French accent, Megan's scowling and Cody ... just being Cody. 

Just as fascinating was the world building. Again, I credit this to Sanderson's skill and experience, because he actually achieved almost perfection for this one. There was enough science fiction to explain thing to a certain extent, but not enough backstory or anything that would turn into an info dump, and also not too much to take it to Adult level. I feel like I am informed enough on the how's and why's of the world while still not knowing everything, which just makes me all the more curious about it and makes me want to find out more. 

<spoiler>One thing, though. I have this spleen, this pet peeve, and that is pretend deaths. I just hate when authors kill off a character, only to be like "Ha lol, jk!" and have the character be miraculously alive. Even worse is when the characters have gotten a memory swipe or a personality manipulation afterwards, I don't know, it just seems so ... cheap. I would rather the character just be dead, you know, even if that hurts, even if it's one of my favorites. And this did happen, and it was actually so obvious what Sanderson had planned for them, I wasn't even fazed by their death. I knew that it wasn't final, which made me totally unsympathetic towards the circumstances and it made it kind of awkward. Oh well.</spoiler>

All in all, I honestly have no complaints, except for that one, but other than that, everything was extremely fast-paced (in a good way), and it also wrapped up quite nicely, with enough left undone to make me want to read the next novel, but still leaving me feeling more than satisfied with what I got served in the end. The novel is action-packed to the brim, which makes you fly right through all the pages, it is interesting with a remarkable cast of characters and ultimately, a read that I am definitely recommending. I have been late to the party because of my trepidation, so don't be me and just saunter right into this one without any worries. Like I said, you won't regret it. Also, if you have enjoyed Victoria Schwab's Vicious, you'll love this one without a doubt, since they're very similar.

1 comment:

  1. If you like Brandon Sanderson's books I recomend you Mistborn trilogy