Tuesday, March 11, 2014


By: Brandon Sanderson
Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)

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.
Awesome. That's the very best word to describe this book. Superpowers, anti-heroes, and unexpected twists make certain that this is a book that'll keep your interest and stay with you after you finish reading. Once again, I'm so impressed with Brandon Sanderson. How he can go from a mystery alternate history book with a chalk-based magic system to a dark, post-apocalyptic anti-hero book is beyond me. But I'm decently convinced now that he can write anything he wants and it will end up being made of plain awesome.
I don't want to say too much about the characters. I think they'll be more fun to learn about through the book rather than through me, but I will say that David is a great protagonist. He's incredibly flawed, bent toward vengeance, but also really clever. I loved how he sounded realistically like an eighteen year old boy, granted an eighteen year old boy who lives in a post-apocalyptic future, but he still sounded like a teenager.
I'll also say that Cody is hilarious. He made me laugh nearly every time he showed up on the page, but he still had the occasional emotional depth to make that sort of humor feel characteristically genuine.
"Sparks," Cody said. "Remind me to never let you caress me, lad."
"I thought you told him to think of a beautiful woman," Tia said.
"Yeah," Cody replied. "And if that's how he treats one of them, I don't want to know what he'd do to an ugly Scotsman."
Megan, Prof, Tia, and Abraham you'll just have to figure out on your own as giving opinions currently would contain far too many spoilers.
Crazy, awesome, action-packed plot. I mean, what good is a Super-hero story without a plot like that? Not nearly as awesome, I'd suppose. There were so many plot twists and unexpected revelations. I thought it was incredible how you would feel sure about something, you would think, "Okay, even if I don't know what is going to happen with everything else, I know this much." That was always the part that got twisted onto its head.
This plot kept you engaged and on the edge-of-your-seat for all nearly 400 pages.
And the world-building was utterly fantastic. You could feel what life was like in a dark, steel cage basically. The mechanics of the world, even when they couldn't give reason to why things were like this, made sense in the mind of the reader. You knew enough about the world to make guesses for what you thought might happen. Mine were usually wrong, but it's that guessing process that can keep a book so engaging.
This book isn't just anti-hero, it's anti-rebellion and anti- every-superhero-stereotype. Really the idea of basically a rebel group adamantly rebelling against every rebellion stereotype is so intriguing, so insanely interesting. They know they aren't the heroes, they're the people killing Epics. That's it. That's all they are. So their motives as an organization shift from what you would expect them to do.
And the idea that, were humans to receive Super Human powers they would only do evil with them goes against every standard of the Superhero genre while remaining realistic in terms of plot and basic human nature.
"People rarely want to kill, David," Abraham said calmly. "It's not basic to the makeup of the healthy human mind. In most situations they will go to great lengths to avoid killing."
"It's good for you to think of this, son. Ponder. Worry. Stay up nights, frightened for the casualties of your ideology. It will do you some good to realize the price of fighting."
"You can't be so frightened of what might happened that you are unwilling to act."
"Sometimes doing things we used to do reminds us of who we used to be, and not always in good ways."

1 comment:

  1. Of course, I scrolled down and saw you'd recently reviewed this one as well and I had to stop by XD This was my first YA-Sanderson book (I still need to read The Rithmatist!) and I was pretty much blown away too! You pretty much summed it up perfectly: the characters were awesome to discover, the plot was tight and the action was through the roof. Brilliant review ^^